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Showing posts from July, 2014

Against trophy hunting but a meat-eater = hypocrite?

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After a number of interesting conversations I've had recently with people on the topic of trophy hunting, it has made me question whether those that are against this sport but partake in another form of murder (meat eating) are in fact hypocrites.

Now let me get this straight: I appreciate that the opponents to trophy hunting have a valid point if (and only if) the sport is undertaken at such a level that it will cause a decline in the wildlife species that are being hunted.  On the grounds of conservation, I too agree that trophy hunting is not sustainable nor advisable if there are too many animals hunted out of the population that reproduction cannot replace.

However, much scientific research (e.g. here, here, here, here, and here) has focused on the sustainability of trophy hunting and concluded time and again that it can in fact benefit wildlife conservation, rather than hinder it.  This is because huge tracts of land are conserved to create habitat for the highly-valuable hu…

For World Population Day, what's the best thing we can do to celebrate?

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Today, July 11, is World Population Day: a day to think about the human population and how we  can best ensure that our population is sustainable for the health and well-being of both humans and of the planet.

This day was started in 1987 by the United Nations as a way for awareness to be raised on the potential problems with an increasing population, as well as the impact that the current population has on the world.

Since 1987, our population has grown by 2 billion.

Let's put that into perspective:

We have seen unprecedented growth of human populations since the industrial revolution.  The keen-eyed of you may notice that the UN projections show that population growth may tail off in the future.  "Great", you say, "we don't have to worry about population growth from now on!".  I wish this were true.

Right now, we consume more resources than the earth is able to replenish:

This is based upon not just the number of humans on the planet, but our consumption …

Cats' best friend? A new role for guard dogs in South Africa

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Article on my livestock guarding dog research on Mongabay

Dogs protect livestock from predators, predators from humans

The last couple centuries have seen the decline of many large predator species. While there has been a surge of recovery and reintroduction programs to combat this problem, human population growth and limited protected areas have led to increased rates of human-wildlife conflicts in many regions of the world. A study published recently in the Wildlife Society Bulletin tested the ability of trained guarding dogs to protect livestock in South Africa and found it to be highly effective, protecting humans and predators alike.


In South Africa, predators such as large cats often live in close proximity to farmlands and often times will prey on livestock. Predation of livestock can take a toll on farmers’ income, often costing more than $3,000 in annual losses. This, in turn, can lead farmers to hunt and kill cats as a means of protecting their livelihoods.

Leopards (Panthera …

Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction - a win-win scenario?

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The last few decades of conservation policy has focused on the links between biodiversity degradation and poverty.  Whilst commendable in terms of human welfare, I think this direction is misleading: it has the mistaken premise that once people are not "poor" any more (what is "poor"?) they will no longer damage the environment.  This couldn't be further from the truth.
Case in point: emerging markets, such as in China, are expected to have unprecedented demand for meat products as the poorer classes become more wealthy and demand these "luxury" items.  And we all know what an increase in meat production does to the environment.

Next point:  Carbon emissions.  Middle- to higher-income countries have far greater carbon emissions than those in low-income countries.  I don't even need to expand here about what increased carbon emissions will do to the earth.

As a country becomes wealthier, it's population consumes more items that are damaging to …