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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

Can Indigenous and Wildlife Conservationists Work Together?

Indigenous and wildlife conservationists have common goals and common adversaries, but seem to be struggling to find common ground in the fight for sustainable forests.

The forest lifestyle of the Baka people of Cameroon helps provide improved habitats for wild animals. When the Baka clear a patch for a camp, the clearing later turns into secondary forest that gorillas prefer, Mike Hurran, Survival International Africa campaigner, told IPS.

More… Mar 05, 2015

Indigenous Peoples destroyed for misguided 'conservation'

A pesentation by Gordon Bennett and colleagues at the 'Beyond Enforcement: Communities, governance, incentives and sustainable use in combating wildlife crime' conference, 26-28th February at Glenburn Lodge, Muldersdrift, South Africa.

As we celebrate 'World Wildlife Day' today, there's little for nature's best defenders to be glad of, says human rights lawyer Gordon Bennett. Indigenous Peoples around the world are routinely attacked, starved and cut off from the lands and wildlife they have protected for millennia under a flawed and brutal model of 'conservation'.

More… Mar 03, 2015

Compassionate Conservation: More than "Welfarism Gone Wild"

Conservation is ethically challenged

The evolving field called compassionate conservation, in which the guiding principle "First do no harm" stresses the importance of individual nonhuman animals (animals), is gaining increasing global attention because almost animals need considerably more protection than they are currently receiving and many people, including researchers, can no longer justify or stomach harming and killing animals "in the name of conservation." It builds on an agenda that calls for "doing science while respecting animals" and for protecting animals because they are intrinsically valuable, and do not only have instrumental value because of what they can do for us.

More… Feb 10, 2015

Indigenous people and the crisis over land and resources

Do indigenous groups need saving from poverty? And why do they come into conflict with conservationists seeking to protect their land?

As governments agree to bring indigenous peoples into the global family of rights holders, the death of Edwin Chota and his colleagues in Peru highlights the continuing gap between rhetoric and reality in the struggle between resource miners and conservationists. A struggle that continues to leave the ancient stewards of the land being fought over on the margins of the conflict.

More… Sep 23, 2014

Biocultural community protocols and the future of conservation

To appreciate the momentousness of the Khoe protocol, it would be important to put it in the context of the larger law and policy debates around biodiversity conservation and community rights.

More… Sep 09, 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