How American Hunters Abuse U.S. Foreign Aid
Published: June 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm
Hunting, along with dealing in wildlife trophies, has been banned in Kenya since 1977. Trophy hunting was accurately described by the new Kenyan democratic government as ‘a barbaric relic of colonialism.’
Unfortunately, other assaults on wildlife have been at work.
A wave of migration from strife-torn Somalia and Sudan has aggravated the human over-population. The Kenyan birth rate is among the highest in the world. The population has risen from five million in 1946 to thirty million in 2006. This has resulted in massive human encroachment into range land areas which surround the game parks and that in turn causes human – animal conflict,and the snaring of wildlife on an unimaginable scale. Kenya’s wildlife has declined over 40 percent in general terms in the last few years with some species such as buffalo declining over 90 percent in numbers. Roan Antelope are down to 900 (from an estimated 20,000.)
Photographer, Rob Carr Hartley believes that within a few years Tsavo West National Park may be denuded of it’s wildlife. Poaching is completely out of control. Deforestation in all six watershed areas of Kenya is causing the rivers to dry up and even some lakes and rivers such as the Mara, are expected to run dry soon. Kenyan wildlife is in deep trouble. With wildlife woes of such magnitude, adding hunting pressures will simply aggravate the problems, and could properly be described as environmental terrorism.
In 2004 a lavishly financed campaign by Safari Club International involved flying Kenyan conservationists and officials to exclusive, elite hunting farms in South Africa and Zimbabwe in order to persuade the Kenyan government to resume trophy hunting. The President decided to refer the hunting issue to a national public participation process, starting with a Wildlife Symposium, which took place in September 2006. The government appointed a Steering Committee, who asked me to attend, as I have campaigned against canned hunting for years.
The reason for holding the Symposium was to test Kenyan public opinion on the issue. However the hunting industry never sleeps and the conference was sponsored by USAID, an American Foreign Aid agency with close links to Safari Club International, and greatly involved in using U.S taxpayer’s funds to benefit the hunting fraternity through schemes such as the notorious Campfire programme in Zimbabwe. The incontestable fact is that American tax funds were used to finance an expensive international conference in Nairobi whose sole relevance to Americans was to enable the trophy hunters to devastate wild lion prides and other animals in East Africa – for fun.