Search This Blog

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poachers and gamekeepers

The was a very sad story in the newspapers today. The last rhinoceros in a South African game reserve was found dead. She had been drugged by poachers who cut off her horn for sale to Asian (predominantly Vietnamese) buyers and left her to bleed to death. Her cub was found wandering, starving, near her dead body. In the newspaper report, various people said that there was nothing that could be done to stop the poachers.

The plight of a baby rhino whose mother was left to die after poachers drugged it and sawed off its horn has highlighted a resurgent threat in South Africa from criminal poaching gangs.

[From Rhino poaching on the rise in South Africa - Telegraph]

But they haven't heard my idea. I notice that there are tourists who will pay considerable sums of money to be allowed to shoot a lion or an elephant. I think many of them are Russian. How much more would they pay to shoot a poacher? Surely this would be the most eco-friendly form of tourism that there is, even more so than the very eco-friendly hunting of big game.

Big game hunting has an important role in preserving large areas of land from agriculture and settlement in Tanzania and elsewhere. The Government has set aside large areas of land as Game Reserves, over 100,000 km2 in total, which allow for limited tourist hunting. The money generated from this type of hunting through licenses and fees is used as a justification for keeping people out of these areas since the money can be used by the Government to build roads or hospitals etc. My research group at the University of California at Davis has shown that Game Reserves are beneficial for both mammals and vegetation.

[From Hunting Benefits Biodiversity - African Conservation Forums]

There are not many rhinos but plenty of poachers, so this should provide a significant source of long-term revenue for African nations. The tourists could hide in armed redoubts in areas where rhinos live, or they could perhaps denote hidden mines when poachers walk by or similar. The newspaper claims that the poachers use helicopters, so providing the eco-tourists with shoulder-launched heatseeking missiles is an obvious step. I can Vladimir Putin in Hello! magazine, stripped to the waist next to a burned out helicopter with rhinos (safe and sound) grazing peacefully in the background. It's the ideal green holiday for oligarchs from around the world, much more exciting than the typical carbon offset programme. I don't think there would be much local opposition to my plan. Surely if we could persuade the South Africans to replace "Kill a tourist" days -- yes, that's right --

“It was Kill a Tourist Day,” she explains. “And we were in the way.” ... Yet when they called South African police to report the incident, the officer just said “yes, thank you,” and hung up. It was only when a member of the family later met someone who had police connections that the investigation went further, although Smurfit has not found out who was responsible for the attack.

[From Irish actress shot on ‘kill a tourist day’ in South Africa | Irish Entertainment Around the World | IrishCentral]

with "Kill a poacher" days, we could be well on the way to a thoroughly green solution. I will send my idea to Britain's only Green MP (Caroline Lucas, who rather unfortunately mistook noted private school supporter and Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott MP for a man), and expect a favourable response.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

No comments: