At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife

At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife

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by Raymond Bonner
     
 

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Defying conventional wisdom even as it makes an impassioned plea for moral common sense, this book by an award-winning journalist sheds a new light on the history and politics of the African conservation movement. The book will anger and inspire anyone who cares about African wildlife and the people whose future is intertwined with the fate of these animals.  See more details below

Overview

Defying conventional wisdom even as it makes an impassioned plea for moral common sense, this book by an award-winning journalist sheds a new light on the history and politics of the African conservation movement. The book will anger and inspire anyone who cares about African wildlife and the people whose future is intertwined with the fate of these animals.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1989, member nations of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) declared the elephant endangered and banned all trade in ivory, a business which represented some $50 million annually to the Third World. The actions were the culmination of a campaign led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the African Wildlife Federation (AWF)--white, Western organizations. Bonner ( Waltzing with a Dictator ) presents a riveting account of events leading to the ban and its effect on native peoples. While poaching was out of control in Kenya and Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa had well-managed herds that were increasing. Bonner charges that WWF, AWF and animal rights groups pressured governments and scientists and manipulated Africans. Arguing that wildlife projects must consider people first, he discusses ``sustainable utlilizaton''--killing animals for commercial purposes--which is supported by WFF, and the culling programs of the 1960s and 1970s. Examining tourism as a source of income, Bonner finds that it is of little benefit to people who live near the parks since the money goes into the national treasuries; and some parks are so heavily visited that the sheer numbers of tourists is damaging the enviornment. One solution, Bonner suggests, is to promote hunting over tourism; it is more profitable, and it gives local people a stake in conservation. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Bonner, a staff writer for The New Yorker , uses the save-the-elephant crusade and subsequent ban on world-wide ivory sales as a case study in African wildlife management. The ban, he argues, as well as other African conservation efforts, are merely the latest manifestations of the long-held view that Westerners have the right to impose regulations on Africans, without their consent and without providing money to enforce these rules. He persuasively suggests that the ban on ivory has hurt as much as it has helped, even suggesting that it was unnecessary to save the elephant. Bonner reports on several successful African initiatives that have saved wildlife habitat while simultaneously allowing the people of the region to flourish. Written in a compelling journalistic style, Bonner's book belongs on most libraries' shelves. It is certain to challenge and provoke. For another book on a similar topic, see Jonathan Adams and Thomas Shane's The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation Without Illusion , LJ 10/15/92.-- Randy Dykhuis, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Jon Kartman
Saving the wildlife of Africa is and is not a black-and-white matter. Focusing on the battle to ban the trade in ivory, Bonner shows it is a struggle from which no one comes out unscathed. Involved are the many black Africans living on the land in near poverty who watch elephants trample their fields; the international conservation organizations, run by non-African whites, quarreling among themselves over which one gets the most publicity in the holy crusade; the nations of Africa, almost all of them opposed to the ban; and the poachers, who are frequently trying to earn money just to survive but whose actions are bringing elephants, rhinos, and other species to the brink of extinction. Add to these contending factions corrupt government officials who see economic salvation in tourism, and land developers who don't care that the environment can't support four-star hotels with swimming pools and saunas. Bonner's book deserves widespread attention for the clearer understanding it imparts of just how complex the issues involved in saving even one species can become.
Kirkus Reviews
In a book that's bound to be controversial, New Yorker staff writer Bonner (Weakness and Deceit, 1984) charges Western animal- rights activists with practicing "eco-colonialism," which he deems as detrimental to the people of Africa as old-style colonialism. Bonner—who recently spent some time in Africa and is an avowed advocate of environmental stewardship—notes that, in a continent where the population has increased from 100 million to 450 million in under a century, it's unrealistic to expect impoverished Africans to give up more land to wildlife so that the continent can remain the fantasy wild kingdom that Westerners yearn for. Africans and animals, he contends, will have to evolve some tenable modus vivendi if wildlife is not to disappear and Africans not to starve. But Western organizations—including all the big- name environmental groups—focus exclusively on animals, reflecting decisions that more often have to do with fund-raising than with reality. To illustrate how these groups manipulate the public and politicians, Bonner traces the history of the 1989 decision to enact the current international ban on the sale of ivory—by his account, a sordid tale of money-driven environmentalists, Western emotionalism, and political posturing and opportunism. Bonner says that elephants aren't likely to disappear and that, in areas like Zimbabwe and Namibia, thanks to projects like Campfire, they are actually thriving. Moreover, these projects not only involve the local people but also distribute the revenues gained from tourism and from selective culling. But too many environmentalists, Bonner says, ignore the plight of Africans, push a Western-based agenda, andneglect to educate their members on the devastating impact of unbridled wildlife on the ecosystem. "It's too easy to impose bans," he forcefully concludes. Tough, timely talk: an important book on an increasingly hot topic.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307830593
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/20/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

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At the Hand of Man 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book brings together the importance of wildlife preservation and the efforts to offer protection to the endangered species in the world. I encountered this book in my Economic Development class at college, and can vouch for its interest across many fields of study. Read it..it makes you think about what problems exist and what needs to be done to solve them. Overall, an interesting, insightful and not at all difficult read.