A Guest Blog
I came across some old photos in a folder, memories of Africa, and it got me reminiscing.
I lived in Botswana for a couple of years. It was a bit of an adventure and a chance to see some of Africa’s most pristine conservation environments. I was lucky enough to drive up through the Okavango Delta, into Namibia to see Etosha National Park, and the Waterberg Plateau Park.
I saw Victoria Falls numerous times, which is known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, and can be found in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. What a sight and experience to see.
I went through to Bulawayo numerous times to go into Haddon and Sly. I travelled through Hwange, and less well known small Game Reserves.
I was lucky to be able to join a horse back safari, and even travelled up to Zanzibar. In addition, I saw the beautiful and awe inspiring Stone Town with the Cathedral built on top of the Old Slave Market. I travelled through the Archipelago having meals with the villagers, and chilled out on a beach. Many happy memories of Africa.
Going back to Botswana, it is an incredible place with some of the most wildlife rich areas, and is one of the countries that will be adversely affected by the UK Government’s ignorant ban on trophy hunting.
During my time there I saw first hand the lack of knowledge and education for the locals, who had no idea of the value of wildlife. As far as they were concerned wildlife was either dangerous, associated with witchcraft, edible or ate their crops out on the lands. Very few saw the value at all of having wildlife around them. All they wanted was cattle, and money on the hoof.
In areas where trophy hunting is carried out as part of a well thought out conservation plan, it provides funding to bring the knowledge by educating the local communities. The locals soon became aware and understood the value of the wildlife as more than just bush meat. As well as the education, the funding also provided employment, generated revenue, and even provided something as basic as food on the table.
I know I am probably preaching to people that are aware of the benefits Trophy hunting brings without any other credible alternative. Though probably like me, and many of you wouldn’t want to pull the trigger. Besides that many people are able to see the value of trophy hunting as part of a wider conservation scheme.
Sadly, like many true conservation issues these days including those in Africa, the scientists who were asking to present the facts backed up by many years of scientific research weren’t listened to by the UK Government, and the bill was passed.
The absolute arrogance of the UK Government and some of the UK population thinking it’s ok to dictate to a country managing it’s own wildlife! They do this as well as they can against many difficult issues (poaching, disease, drought etc), is just astounding.
People sign online petitions, throw insults at people who shoot little fluffy, or big fluffy things because that’s cruel. They should be left to themselves, ‘leave nature to itself’, they say. Many people think it will just sort itself out.
In a very long and round about way, this is the fight we are facing here in the UK as well. There are already calls for deer stalking to stop. How people think we have woodlands, crops and even gardens in the UK with all the deer is beyond me. Stop culling them and we certainly won’t.
At the heart of this ‘battle’ is the misinformation/lies being spewed out by their pseudo-celebrity status to garner support from people who should, but don’t know better. People just don’t like to imagine cute fluffy things dying. They don’t think farmers should protect their lambs/chickens as foxes don’t naturally prey on them. They believe we should just leave wildlife to itself, but we know this doesn’t work. Why not add to the mix by reintroducing species long since gone, wolves, lynx, bears, tyrannosaurus rex etc. Lots of money to be made in this ‘industry’.
These battles are all intrinsically linked, starting with stopping the misinformation. Part of that is demonstrating that many people are not entirely honest in all they preach. This includes people such as Eduardo Goncalves, Dominic Dyer and Chris Packham.
In my opinion Mr Packham isn’t being honest with the UK public. He has used his status at the BBC for far too long. He talks to about ideas that are anti conservation, but appeal to people because they don’t have to do anything apart from sign a petition , rattle a tin or donate to Crowdfunder’s. This is all in the name of being for our wildlife ?
According to the RSPB and the Natural History Museum, the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. The RSPB have started a huge campaign rattling their tins for money, and yet look at the millions they have wasted.
I’m rooting like mad that there will be a court case WIN in May for the three defendants (The Packham 3) over Mr Packham and it will be the start of the turning the tide.
It will show these individuals and organisations that are involved with our so called ‘conservation’ charities in the UK, that they will be held accountable for misleading/lying to the UK public, and particularly where it is used to raise funds.
I urge people to donate to help the Packham 3 win their case.