Against All Odds

By Zig Mackintosh

African wildlife conservation faces many challenges.

Competing economic priorities, such as poverty reduction and economic development, are high on the list; political leaders prioritize economic growth over wildlife protection. Resources are limited, and conservation efforts require significant financial investment, which can be difficult for countries with limited budgets.

Corruption is a vast and complex issue. Crooked officials often facilitate poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife products, and the proceeds are then used to bribe politicians and other officials.

Human-wildlife conflict is a never-ending issue, and local communities bear the costs posed by these species to their livelihoods and personal safety. There is little interest in conserving wildlife unless there is a tangible economic return. Safari hunting provides such benefits, but the anti-hunting alliance is working hard to remove them.

Law enforcement agencies are regularly confronted in court by sympathetic judges who often view poachers as helpless victims of poverty.

And then there is the meddling of Western governments and animal rights groups who, from behind their keyboards, seem to know what’s best for Africa and its inhabitants.

On the frontline are the safari hunting operators who, against all odds and with little recognition, take on the grinding, daily challenges of wildlife conservation.