It’s a form of colonialism to tell us Africans what to do with our wildlife – Maxi Pia Louis, Daily Mail June 29 2022
“As a parliamentary committee calls for an end to trophy hunting, leading conservationist MAXI LOUIS argues that far from protecting big game it will guarantee its destruction.”
Wednesday 29 June’s Comment section of the UK tabloid newspaper Daily Mail featured the words of Maxi Pia Louis, the secretary of the Executive Committee of the Community Leaders Network. Speaking for millions of rural Africans who co-exist with wildlife on a daily basis, Maxi Louis addressed the many misconceptions about Africa that persist in the Western mindset and which dictate public opinion and policy decisions, such as the legislation, previously called the Animals Abroad Bill, making passage in the UK parliament. Amongst other animal welfare meansures, the bill is set to “ban the import of hunting trophies (into the UK) from endangered and threatened animals abroad”. An update appeared as an article in The Mail on Friday 1 July.
Says Louis, “This contrast between the romanticised vision of big game so prevalent north of the Mediterranean and the more hard-nosed attitude to be found in the countries where they run wild, has never been more stark than in the current debate over trophy hunting.” She observes: “Western activists also need to understand that it is poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking, not trophy hunting, that is the greatest threat to the survival of Africa’s wildlife … For the truth is that revenue raised from the sale of hunting licences plays a vital role in funding anti-poaching patrols, preserving uncultivated land and introducing protective measures such as the de-horning of rhinos.”
“This may sound counter-intuitive but without the money raised from conservation hunting in Namibia, where I work as a conservationist, our rural communities would simply despatch all the cow-killing lions and crop-trampling elephants and rhinos in their local areas and turn the land over to agriculture.
“For while there appears to be a perception in the West that vast tracts of territory in southern Africa are ownerless wildscape, nothing could be further from the truth. Every piece of land is occupied and the owners need to make a living from it in one way or another.”
Louis decried the pervasive mindset of Africa’s former colonizers saying that it negatively impacts Africa’s rural communities rights over their natural resources, prevents these communities from realizing their human rights and to benefiting from sustainable development. “We Africans may have thrown off the yoke of colonialism but it seems that our former masters remain determined to dictate how we should live our lives.”