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Bone trade: Are Africa’s leopards next?

According to a report, China is issuing permits to trade in leopard bones for use in Chinese medicinal products, despite there not being enough leopards left in that country to supply the trade volumes on the permits. As Africa has the largest wild leopard population, should we be worried more than usual about the fate of these big cats?

Zambia’s hippo cull: Valid concerns and questions from those affected

A showdown is looming between tourism operators in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and trophy hunters, in the wake of the Zambian government’s decision to cull up to 2,000 hippos over a 5-year period in Luangwa Valley, across the river from the tourism lodges – and to award the culling contract to a South African trophy hunting outfit Umlilo Safaris (so much for the empowerment of local people and generation of revenue that stays in Zambia).

Opinion: Will I be attacked by a wild animal while on safari?

Will I be attacked by a wild animal while on safari? A number of recent news headlines in South Africa have probably contributed to an increase in this particular question (or some version of it), and two recent incidents appear to highlight again just how dangerous wild animals can be.

Opinion: Elephants damage only 1% of Hwange’s vegetation

One of the main motivations for killing elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is the argument that they destroy the plants and this is accepted by many as a problem. Let’s discuss whether this argument is not just an excuse for proponents of culling to get more ivory for the ivory trade, or to justify higher quotas for nearby hunting areas.

Opinion: Hunting is sustainable (ab)use

None of the existing role players in conservation understand what is required to save Africa’s vanishing wilderness. The issue is just too broad and deep – and politically charged.

Opinion: The voice missing from the elephant trophy debate? Africans

People are likely to live with wildlife only when they have some realistic incentives to bear the costs of doing so. If wildlife doesn’t in one way or another form part of the livelihoods of people, it will inevitably make way for activities that do. For elephants, these incentives mean tourism and, yes, even trophy hunting.

Land issues: The story of beauty and violence

Land, an emotive subject, a limited resource that builds nations or breaks them. Use it well and you thrive, use it unwisely and you will sink to the bottomless pit of chaos and poverty.

Opinion: Too many lions in Kunene

Whether tourism operators and armchair lion-lovers like it or not, there are now too many lions in some parts of the Kunene region. Trying to save the lions that are killing livestock, or harassing the farmers who kill them, including impounding their firearms, will not serve the interests of conservation in the region.

Rhino horn: Recipes for disaster

In the middle of the sixth mass extinction, when 50% of the living species are at risk of extinction due to the ever growing, destructive human hands, the six rhinoceros species are at the tip of the pyramid, among the most endangered species on Earth.

Kruger: Is this the technological future?

Presently, we are able to instantly globally share everything we see and hear in Kruger and just about every other destination on earth. Animal sightings and locations are given in real time and we are able to send photos and videos across a host of social media platforms.

Opinion: Are Maasai cattle to blame for overgrazing in Tanzania?

Living with the Maasai has taught me that conservation is not only about animals but is just as much about us humans; that to preserve any one place we have to be mindful of the local communities that live within it and try to understand the way they view the world to be able to work alongside them to protect mother nature.

Rhino horn?

Making the difficult decision to dehorn rhinos in Zululand to save them from poaching.

Elephant Charities – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In September 2013 a high-profile announcement was made in New York about a bold Clinton Global Initiative, bringing together NGOs, governments and concerned citizens to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants. Making international headlines, the Initiative pledged $80 million over three years to counteract the elephant crisis with a three-pronged strategy to “stop the slaughter, […]

The Thing About Hunting

The thing about hunting is that the topic is so polarising that it prevents meaningful discourse between people who probably have more in common than they care to admit. And, while the protagonists battle it out, the grim reapers continue to harvest Africa’s wildlife and other natural resources. We humans tend to silo information to […]

Selling Out

©Dex Kotze South Africa is home to roughly 83% of the world’s rhino population and, at time of writing, has lost 3,700 rhinos since the escalation of poaching in 2008. With this year’s death toll already over a thousand, it seems likely that the total number of rhinos slaughtered for their horns in 2014 will […]

Great Elephant Census Update

Mike Chase, leader of the Great Elephant Census, mailed me just before his birthday on Wednesday. Mike is a quiet man: he never calls, he never writes – you can’t blame him since he spends most of his time in a tiny airplane – so I thought something serious must be up. The last time […]