14 Nov 2006

IFAW's Eurocentric Conservation

I welcome "Lynn" who comments on my "Wildlife Woes" blog:
'I was surprised to read your misrepresentation of IFAW as an organization of "extremist weirdness." You clearly are unaware of IFAW's unusually moderate approach to issues of wildlife and habitat protection. The truth is that IFAW is NOT against all consumptive use of animals, nor opposed to scientific research. It is IFAW's position on a number of highly complex issues, however, that consumption and science must be sustainable.'
The trouble is, for IFAW consumptive use is always "unsustainable", at least in Africa. For a useful overview of these issues, other scientists have opposing and valid points.

However, "Lynn" has not answered why
IFAW continues to block, by any means fair or foul, all attempts to re-introduce limited sports hunting into Kenya? This would benefit marginal wildlife areas that cannot compete for tourist dollars, yet have, as local people see it, a problem with "useless" wild animals that the Kenya government protects by law, but does nothing to protect them from.

It is obscene for foreign conservationists to insist on hugely expensive,
Eurocentric conservation programmes like "elephant contraception" and "helicopter herding" of animals, whose budgets run into millions of Kenya shillings, when peasants could build entire primary schools and clinics from the licensed proceeds of a few hundred animals shot on a "Campfires"

IFAW does promote many interesting conservation programmes world-wide,but it's insistance on non-consumption (perhaps not yet of chickens and beef), it's absolute stand against controlled sport-hunting (itself recognised by the WWF and IUCN/WCU as a conservation tool if properly used) certainly qualify it for "weirdness".

As a 3rd generation tourist professional who lives in Africa, I see the dwindling wildlife numbers outside and inside National Parks. I know the attitudes of local tribes to the wildlife they do not own, but the government and conservationists mysteriously do. And I also know that it is common knowledge in Kenya conservation and tourism circles that IFAW spends immense efforts and cash in ensuring any attempts to introduce even the most modest type community sports hunting programme. This would as effectively control animal numbers and profit local people.
pilot scheme of sustainable sports hunting are blocked time and again. This is patronizing, racist and arrogant.

For just one example of a
World Wildlife Fund successful community hunting programme of immense benefit to local people, "Lynn" should go here.

IFAW opposes sports-hunting and even government culling in Africa. The results are devastating in some areas, for example
Kruger National Park in South Africa which has a superbly monitored culling programme = now elephant overpopulation is wrecking Kruger. Contraception for elephants, at perhaps $5000 cost per animal, while next door to the park Africans die of AIDS and poverty, is something IFAW would no doubt support. A humane bullet costs about $1 and better yet, sports-hunting would actually pay African villagers about $5000 per elephant.

Why does one of the largest and most respected conservation bodies , the
World Conservation Union (formerly IUCN), deny IFAW membership? I think we know.

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