Celebrities warned against undermining conservation efforts

By ZBC Reporter

COMMUNITY representatives from Southern Africa have reminded celebrities from the United Kingdom and the United States of America to stop propagating harmful anti-hunting propaganda against African countries.

The western propaganda that seeks to outlaw any form of hunting and if successful, it will deliver a mortal blow to African wildlife conservation efforts.

African people continue to wallow in poverty by being deprived of benefitting from their rich wildlife resources. The hunting industry can rope in millions of dollars for such countries as Zimbabwe whose elephant numbers exceed the holding capacity of the national parks but for some reasons, Western countries always ensure no African can benefit from God-given resources.

Using their financial muscle, the animal rights activists have deployed all tactics to stop hunting including protests, misinformation and of late recruitment of celebrities to campaign for the banning of hunting activities in Africa and trade in wildlife products.

Community representatives from SADC say the continent should unite to defeat the lies by UK celebrities and to remind the world that wildlife management is based on science and not emotions.

“It is time for African governments to unite against conservation enemies. We have to do that by understanding the value that we are sitting on in terms of our wildlife resources. The responsibility lies with us as Africans to protect the reputation of our own conservation,” Esther Netshivhongweni African Community Conservationist Chief Executive.

United Kingdom-based businessman, Mr John Nash described actions by UK celebrities in proposing a ban on hunting as harmful to conservation and a threat to the livelihood of millions of rural Africans.

“The foreign celebrities who are campaigning against hunting are actually hurting conservation efforts in Africa but even worse they are hurting rural Africans who live in place where there is no ecotourism to provide income. A lot of these celebrities think they are helping animals but they are actually being led by charlatans and crooks who know the truth but are prepared to damage Africa in order to make money,” he said.

Safari Club International Foundation Africa Coordinator Mr George Pangeti says it is unfortunate that the ill-informed celebrities most of whom have never been to Africa continue to use their influence and power to mislead not only the public but the politicians on hunting.

“These celebrities have never been to Africa and they are so ill-informed about the African situation. Some of them have also not properly studied the science about wildlife, they only read about it or see it on social media, as a result, they are misleading their people and the politicians,” he said.

According to conservationists from SADC, restrictions on wildlife trade are tantamount to neo-colonialism and have reminded the television personalities to stop viewing Africa as a vast and wild place which the West have an obligation to save.

Instead of being rewarded for their conservation success stories, African counties continue to be punished for sustainably managing the wildlife resources. Neutrals say the continent should take bold and decisive decisions to unlock value from the wildlife resources or remain the proverbial beggar on a beach of gold.

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