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Park your beliefs and consider this opinion piece on its merits


Michael Schwartz

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

In 2015, I submitted what I’d then considered an infallible op-ed to the East African Wild Life Society’s SWARA magazine. The published title was Conservation: Is It Warped by a Love For Animals? This was before the killing of Cecil, famed lion of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. I argued that sport hunting is sometimes necessary for African wildlife protection and the conservation of their habitats. I made the case that derision and mounting global pressure against hunting would result in swathes of African wilderness being swallowed by human expansion while opening the doors to more illegal poaching. Eden could only be protected in certain places with a well-regulated sacrifice made at the altar of what for many (including myself) is an incomprehensible act.

Now in 2021, I write from a hopefully matured perspective. We would do well to remember hunting’s role in habitat protection (significantly more than that of Africa’s national parks). If effective wildlife conservation boils down to the fraternal order of gun and bow, then the upshot should mean a bolstering of biodiversity. Apart from some success stories, parts of Namibia and Mozambique being two examples, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

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