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A network for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.

War by Conservation

Ivory does not fund Al Shabaab, so why was that message so readily promoted?

Since 2013 several wildlife conservation organisations have promoted the message that ivory is used to fund terrorism, that it is the ‘white gold of jihad’. While allegations about poaching by Janjaweed and Lord’s Resistance Army have circulated for some time, it was the claim that ivory provided up to 40% of Al Shabaab’s funding that caught international attention. This claim is hotly disputed, and even Elephant Action League, who spread the message in the first place, have started to accept it might have been an over estimation (at best). So why was it so readily taken up and repeated in the media, social media, by world leaders, by conservation NGOs and by international organisations? The answer lies in a potent mix of strategic interests and the need to grab international attention to raise funds for conservation.

More… Sep 25, 2015

Conservation and Conflict: People, State Policies, and Protected Areas In Southern Africa

A paper presented by Robert K. Hitchcock at the conference in Seville, Spain on Warfare, Environment, Social Inequality and Peace Studies. May 29th 2015.

This paper by Robert K. Hitchcock, Maria Sapignoli and Wayne A. Babchuk (1) explores questions of the ethics of wildlife conservation, (2) examines human rights, animal rights, and community based conflict management approaches, and (3) assesses who has the power to determine policies and practices related to land and natural resources.

More… Jun 07, 2015

The Old Way and the New Way:

Interactions and Connections among San, Lions, and Elephants in the Kalahari

Professor Hitchcock discusses what we've failed to learn and respect and what we've too often replaced it with - "In March, 2012, Roy Sesana, a G//ana healer and a member of the organization First People of the Kalahari, came across a herd of elephants in his garden near Molapo in the Central Kalahari. Employing the principles of the Old Way, he talked to them and told them to leave, which they did. He did not employ New Way techniques to handle human elephant conflict such as problem animal control, having the elephants captured and relocated to another place. Instead, he simply talked to them."

More… Dec 14, 2014

How many more Edwin Chotas?

A discussion contributed by José Álvarez Alonso, Director General – Biodiversity, Ministry of the Environment, Lima, Peru.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold - reflections on illegal logging, land titling and the management of the Amazon forest in the light of events in Ucayali that led to the deaths of Edwin Chota and his colleagues. Una reflexión sobre la tala ilegal, La Titulación De Comunidades Y La Gestión De Los Bosques Amazónicos a raíz de los hechos acaecidos en Ucayali que se sumaban a la muerte de Edwin Chota y sus colegas.

More… Oct 15, 2014

Responding to the Threat of Organized Crime to Wildlife and People

A response to Rosaleen Duffy by Michael Painter, Director, Conservation and the Quality of Human Life Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

International conservation organizations have responded to the expansion of globally organized wildlife crime by attempting to promote more effective law enforcement at all levels of the international trade chain for illegal wildlife products. Concern that an emphasis on wildlife crime risks militarizing conservation efforts, and creating situations where the need for stronger law enforcement could be invoked as cover for repressive actions against local people, has been thoughtfully articulated in a recent contribution, by Professor Rosaleen Duffy, here on Just Conservation. While some of the specific issues she raises need to be considered in a broader context, the main point of her article is a valid one. Conservation organizations seeking to address the threat of organized crime to wildlife and people have the responsibility to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the rights of people affected by efforts to halt organized poaching.

More… Jul 21, 2014

Forget the war for biodiversity, it’s just war.

A contributed essay from Professor Rosaleen Duffy, Professor of Political Ecology of Development, SOAS, University ofLondon.

Conservationists are facing some difficult and critically important choices over how to conserve elephants and rhinos in the wake of a rapid rise in poaching. But there appears to be a rush towards more militarised responses, which intersect with the strategic aims of the US-led ‘War on Terror’. Elephants and rhinos themselves may be fast becoming the latest weapon in this war. This is not ‘back to the barriers’, which implies a defensive position - it is an ‘offensive’ position extending well beyond protected areas. It could easily lead to an escalation of violence that will undermine decades of work with local communities, and it runs counter to the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights.

More… Jul 14, 2014

Are we hearing a 'call to arms' from wildlife conservationists?

A thought provoking contribution from Prof. Rosleen Duffy after 2 days at the London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking.

On 11-12 February I attended the London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking. It was held at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) under the auspices of United for Wildlife. UFW is an initiative of Prince Charles and Prince William under the banner of the Royal Foundation -http://www.unitedforwildlife.org they have brought together some of the biggest wildlife organisations (ZSL, WCS, CI, FFI, WWF, IUCN and TNC) to facilitate responses to the apparent rise in poaching and trafficking. We need to pause for a moment to consider this new direction.

More… Feb 18, 2014

2013: A Great Year for Forest Fairy Tales

Why REDD+ Safeguards will contribute little to defending communities against Green Land Grabbing

A contributed essay from Simone Lovera - Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of 56 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations from 40 different countries striving for rights-based, socially just and effective forest conservation and restoration policies. She also works as a forest campaigner for Sobrevivencia/Friends of the Earth-Paraguay

More… Jan 01, 2014