Africa is not Rising. It’s Dying the Death of a Thousand Interventions.

I’m sorry I have to be so negative about Africa. However, I feel it’s important to keep a reality check on the claim that Africa is undergoing a new wave of economic development, because although there some good stories to tell, on the whole, it’s not happening.  If we pretend that it is, we run the risk … Continue reading Africa is not Rising. It’s Dying the Death of a Thousand Interventions.

In Africa, the Past is Not a Foreign Country

In L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between he writes, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” In dealing with conservation and sustainable development I frequently encounter the opposite – the past echoes through to the present continuously and a consideration of history is essential for understanding the present. The problem with sustainable … Continue reading In Africa, the Past is Not a Foreign Country

You Can’t Count Wildlife.

We all need figures to support our statements. The decrease in African elephants has been in the news recently, and to the reader of these articles the counting of elephants must seem a trivial exercise. Reports of elephant declines always ignore the methods used to count the animals and always assume that it’s just a matter … Continue reading You Can’t Count Wildlife.

Sustainable Livelihoods in rural Africa: More is not better.

When you come from a consumer culture, like (I assume) most of my readers do, it’s difficult to draw the line on when you have enough and what you have enough of. Most of us accumulate possessions constantly. If anything is an indictment of Western society it is the constant, and largely fruitless search for … Continue reading Sustainable Livelihoods in rural Africa: More is not better.

Kill the Poachers: Death, Drones and Dickheads

There are few places, even in the Wild West that is the internet, that you can get away with calling for summary execution of other human beings and not attract some censure.  When you start describing the parts of their body you would like to cut off and the nature of the slow death which you … Continue reading Kill the Poachers: Death, Drones and Dickheads

Body Parts, Apartheid and Sustainable Development

If there are any two words more loaded with meaning in a global context – I can’t think of them. Sustainable and Development are two words that encompass the most abused and the most politically charged words in the English language and in this weeks post I’m going to try and pick out some meaning … Continue reading Body Parts, Apartheid and Sustainable Development

Conservation Organisations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Conservation is an industry, and like any industry, it has its problems. For my post this week I’m doing a review of a number of different types of organisation, with a few examples which are not exhaustive, but representative of some of the best and some of the worst of the different organisations I have … Continue reading Conservation Organisations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Nelson Mandela, The King of Spain and Melissa Bachman…

This weeks blog title sounds like I’m about to tell you a joke, but I’m not. What do Nelson Mandela, the King of Spain and Melissa Bachman have in common? They have all hunted wild animals in Africa at some point. Yes – shot with a rifle and killed antelope (a blesbok in Madela’s case), … Continue reading Nelson Mandela, The King of Spain and Melissa Bachman…

Is the trade in Wildlife Products Sustainable?

I’ve just read a new report by a group of British academics which criticises the economic arguments around trading in wildlife products. The problems with rhino poaching in South Africa form a backdrop to the report. I’m going to dig down into some of the problems with the Leverhulme report, but let me start by … Continue reading Is the trade in Wildlife Products Sustainable?