Book review: The Big Conservation Lie

“Hero worship in conservation is as old as wildlife conservation itself. The subjects of this worship are invariably white men and women who are lionized for taking to a life of selfless service of the wilderness and its residents.”

This comes from John Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada’s book “The Big Conservation Lie“. The book is a must read for anyone interested in conservation. It raises serious questions about the way conservation is currently carried out in Kenya and in the rest of Africa.

Mbaria and Ogada describe a small cabal of exclusively white conservationists and conservation thinkers in Kenya. They don’t hesitate to name these conservation heroes in exposing the role they have played in creating “the mess the country faces today in regard to wildlife conservation”.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Colonialism, conservation, cattle, and conflict in Laikipia, Kenya

Colonialism, conservation, cattle, and conflict in Laikipia, Kenya

Last week, two game rangers were shot dead in Kenya. They were part of a group of 10 rangers and other cattle owners, who tried to recover cattle stolen from ranches in Laikipia County.

A couple of weeks before that, armed men disrupted a meeting in Laikipia County. Ironically, the meeting was held to discuss insecurity in the area. The men shot in the air, causing panic.

These incidents are just the latest in an on-going land conflict in Laikipia. This post is an attempt to unravel some of what’s going on in Laikipia. With general elections due in Kenya in August 2017, the situation has become highly politicised.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Forest Defenders Conference in Oxford, 21 June 2017

Five years ago, Chut Wutty was murdered in Cambodia. He was one of Cambodia’s leading campaigners against illegal logging and land grabs. He was killed in the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong province, while researching illegal logging with two journalists from the Cambodia Daily.

Wutty’s murder was not unusual. Every week at least two people are killed for speaking out against environmental destruction. In 2014, according to research by Global Witness, 116 environmental activists were murdered. 40% of them were indigenous. All of the killings were related to land disputes.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

The Ogiek win huge land rights victory in Kenya

The Ogiek win huge land rights victory in Kenya

The Ogiek are one of the last groups of hunter gatherers in Kenya. Their ancestral land is in the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley of Kenya. For many years, the Kenyan government has threatened them with eviction, in the name of conservation. Last week, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled that the Ogiek have the right to live in the Mau Forest and that the government of Kenya was wrong to evict them.

Lucy Claridge is a human rights lawyer who works with the Minority Rights Group International. She was the lead lawyer for the Ogiek. She told the BBC World Service that,

“This is an extremely positive outcome. It sends a very clear message to the government of Kenya, but also to other governments in Africa, that they must respect the rights of their indigenous communities, and that includes their land rights.”

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Rainforest Parks and People: Monitoring the human impacts of conservation in the Congo Basin

Rainforest Parks and People is a new interactive website focussing on the impact of protected areas in Africa’s Congo Basin on forest communities. Launched this week by Rainforest Foundation UK, the website aims to increase the transparency and accountability of conservation projects in the Congo Basin.

To accompany the website launch, Rainforest Foundation UK has produced a short video, titled “Why conservation needs people”:

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

NGOs Call On UNESCO to Protect Sundarbans From Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant

NGOs Call On UNESCO to Protect Sundarbans From Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant

The Rampal power station is a proposed 1320 MW coal-fired power station in Bangladesh. It is being built on the edge of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar-listed wetland.

The Sundarbans is the largest area of tidal mangrove forest in the world. It is home to Bengal tigers, fishing cats, macaques, wild boars, common grey mongooses, foxes, jungle cats, flying foxes, pangolins, and spotted deer. More than four million people live in the Sundarbans.

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org

Giving land rights to communities stops deforestation. Here’s the evidence

Giving land rights to communities stops deforestation. Here’s the evidence

“Granting formal land rights to indigenous people living in the world’s tropical forests is among the most effective, but underused, ways to stop illegal deforestation that fuels violence, poverty and global warming, according to new research.”

That’s Paula Totaro, land rights editor at Thomson Reuters Foundation, writing about the 18th Land and Poverty Conference, which was held at the World Bank in Washington DC two weeks ago.

Totaro writes that,

“Local communities are best equipped to safeguard valuable forests, and those with strong land rights are the most effective, said a raft of studies presented this week at the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty Conference.”

>> Click here for the full article on conservation-watch.org