Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Animals and tourism before people

Prof Rosaleen Duffy from the University of Manchester, who has researched the issue for 15 years says the development of nature tourism has meant international pressure to save high-profile species is intense. Some conservation groups regard the protection of the gorilla, rhino and other endangered species as more important than human life. Subsistence hunting is banned in many parks and often only tourists with hunting licences on safari are permitted to kill animals. This can mean local people are regarded as threats to the wildlife that have to be halted at almost any cost. Private security firms and mercenaries were being used to train game rangers. Some conservation organisations in Africa are operating a shoot-to-kill policy against poachers. Military-style campaigns were occurring across the continent.

"Because private military operations and also park rangers are given authority to shoot on sight, the suspected poachers, then they can shoot first and ask questions later," she told the BBC."I think what happens then is that local people get justifiably very angry about people being shot because they're suspected of poaching whereas in fact what they might be doing is simply taking a short cut through a national park or they might be collecting grass for thatch."

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