Two competing ideological narratives have emerged in African wildlife conservation. The one is based on so-called 'compassionate conservation', aligned with the mostly Western animal rights movement, the other based on the human rights of the owners of the wildlife, the local people who live with wild animals. In Namibia, wildlife is thriving under the second narrative, which endorses consumptive use of wildlife.
Conservation of African wildlife and habitat is coming under increasing threat across the continent, but despite the overall gloomy prognosis, there are a few countries that can boast remarkable success.
Foremost among these is Namibia, which along with other southern African countries developed the healthiest wildlife populations and habitat on the continent during the latter half of the 20th century.
Namibia has designated about 17% of its land as state-protected areas (such as national parks), yet more than 90% of its wildlife population, numbering more than three million animals, occurs outside protected areas. Despite an onslaught of poaching by organised crime Africa-wide, Namibia still has increasing elephant and rhino populations, while lions have returned to land outside protected areas for the first time in decades.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people from some of the...