A surprising (but not too much) stance in the face of an increasingly popular movement in the United Kingdom.
While the United Kingdom is preparing to discuss new laws for prohibit the import of the hunting trophiesfromAfrica some local community leaders take a decidedly surprising position and criticize the campaign promoted by the environment minister Zac Goldsmith and relaunched by many VIPs. To name but a few, we find Ricky Gervais, Brian May, Ed Sheeran and Joanna Lumley.
The aim of the British Government is to prohibit the importation of hunting trophies within the current legislature, thus favoring the conservation of the most endangered species. In AfricaHowever, scientists, conservationists and local leaders are strongly against it, because the bill would remove financial incentives to protect wild animals without providing a viable alternative.
Maxi Pia Louis, Namibian scientist and politician, was in London as a representative of nine Southern African countries, and met various politicians, including Goldsmith himself. Her words were harsh. “Africans have never been consulted, especially those who live where wild animals are abundant. Without incentives to protect wildlife, we will see land loss. You can imagine what would happen to lions and elephants that need large spaces” – the comment of Maxi Pia Louis – “I’m not a hunter and I don’t like weapons. I have seen people killed with guns during apartheid in Namibia, but that is not a good reason to take away people’s livelihoods“.
Namibia, independent from South Africa since 1990, has managed to regulate i hunting trophiesallocating funds to protect the most vulnerable species to poaching (elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes and cheetahs). “Local communities should decide how to manage the wildlife they live with, especially the most endangered specimens” – explained Maxi Pia Louis – “This is a form of neocolonialism. We are open to discussions, but only with mutual respect. Who is Ricky Gervais? We don’t even know him. VIPs have money, fame, prestige and access to social media, unlike our communities. He should be on the side of the most vulnerable and should come to see our conservation programs“.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) February 18, 2019
The well-known actor Ricky Gervais was brought up because of a campaign launched on social media, in which he called hunting trophies “a lie that allows rich psychopaths to shoot and corrupt officials to make money, and not a method of conservation“. However, the situation is more complex: if trophy hunting were banned without financial alternatives, there would be a risk of mass killings of wildlife, including the most vulnerable species.