5 March 2019

Africa: World Wildlife Day - Emotive and Poorly Informed Campaigns Could Harm Conservation Efforts

analysis

For many, wildlife has great social value and conservation is rightly seen as a priority for our sustainable existence on this planet. However, the manner in which wildlife conservation is best achieved has become an area of heated debate.

Historically, conservation was primarily achieved through the preservation of wildlife in remote areas. Many of these areas are in resource-constrained countries, so that external or foreign donor funding was required to achieve conservation goals.

This inadvertently led to influencers being distant and having limited knowledge about the economics and social challenges of local communities in these areas. Today this distant, and often poorly informed, influence has been amplified by many on social media. Social media, which is often emotive at the expense of reason, can drive public opinion and usually fails to understand the bigger picture or context.

Unfortunately, this influence, although generally done with good intentions, can have a negative impact and could promote practices that may not be suitable on the ground. An example of one of these is the growing campaign against trophy hunting, which has gained huge traction on social media platforms.

Although this emotive campaign has rightly exposed some unethical and destructive practices in the hunting...

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