I'm cynically amused at the fuss being made in some quarters over a rather permanent solution to the poaching problem being adopted in some African countries. The BBC reports:
Prof Rosaleen Duffy has researched the issue for 15 years for a book to be published this month.
. . .
Ms Duffy 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, she says.
In countries, including Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi, private security firms have been brought in to provide military-style protection for these iconic animals.
. . .
"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."
Ms Duffy concedes that some poachers are heavily armed professionals - often former members of security forces - who are only too willing to open fire themselves.
But escalating this war for wildlife is, in Ms Duffy's view, not the way forward.
She argues that conservationists should work with local people, so that they value the animals that wander near their homes.
There's more at the link.
I have news for Prof. Duffy. This is Africa. Human life has always been cheap in Africa. It's been that way for uncounted centuries, it's still that way today, and it'll probably continue that way for a long time to come. Locals have learned the hard way - and I really mean 'the hard way'! - that if an area's declared closed 'or else', the people issuing that warning aren't joking about the 'or else' bit. They don't go walking around in such areas "taking a short cut" or "collecting grass for thatch"! They have more sense! Ergo, those found in such areas are usually not locals. The odds that they're poachers are relatively good; and given the staggering amounts paid for poached products (a single rhinoceros horn, obtained at the cost of a few bullets in the bush, sells for an average of US $80,000 in the Far East, where it's regarded as an aphrodisiac) they're not about to stop poaching just because it's been declared illegal. There's only one way to stop them, and that's to remove them from circulation. In nations with few prisons and fewer police, that leaves only one option.
Africa is typically laid-back about a permanent solution to such problems. I recall the fuss made in South Africa during the 1990's, when it was discovered that would-be illegal immigrants were crossing the Mozambique border and walking through the Kruger National Park to get to South African cities. Needless to say, the predators in the Park were overjoyed at the influx of easy-to-catch prey (humans are slow compared to almost any animal, and have no horns, hooves or long, sharp teeth with which to defend themselves). All sorts of left-wing liberal idiots got their knickers in a twist at the thought of so many people being devoured; but the average South African shrugged and said, "Well, the animals have to eat, too!"
That's Africa. Live with it. It's not about to change.