"The key to African wildlife conservation is African people."
African Wildlife Conservation
What's the best way to conserve Africa's wildlife? The short answer is by including the African people.
People won't care about wildlife conservation when they're excluded from it. And who can blame them? Why would anyone support a business or nonprofit organization if the efforts don't benefit rural communities living with dangerous wildlife?
The truth is that many who call Africa home have never seen an elephant or a lion. Those who do, meanwhile, are understandably concerned about crop destruction or losing livestock, their own lives, or the lives of their loved ones.
Bottom line: next to mitigating human-wildlife conflict, the African people must be the primary beneficiaries of any conservation initiative if Africa's wildlife is to survive; their needs must be met, and their input is critical.
It is my hope that Africa would become a place where her people can live, work, raise families, and wholly benefit from their natural heritage. Only then will Africa's wildlife endure. Only then will remaining wilderness exist in perpetuity.
Now, more than ever, should conservationists be listening to the voices of the African people--wildlife's only hope for survival.
For more about me, please visit my biography and writing pages.
"Africans do care about wildlife. They live with it everyday. They have been labeled as the problem; they are in fact the solution."
- Jonathan S. Adams & Thomas O. McShane