Feb 21, 2009

The Myth of Wild Africa

Conservation without Illusion
by Jonathan Adams and Thomas McShane

This book criticizes wildlife conservation and management in Africa. The first few chapters are built to show that the western ideal of Africa- a place where animals roam free in a last wilderness untouched by humans- is unrealistic, as African wildlife lived side by side with humans for hundreds of years before Europeans discovered the continent. The Myth of Wild Africa points out that conservation efforts which try to separate native Africans from sharing the land with wildlife often cause more problems than they solve. All the white men who have tried to exploit, use, study or save African wildlife- sport hunters, rich men on safari, behavioral scientists, conservationists, park rangers and tourists alike- have their own different agendas, but if they would work together, methods of conserving wildlife and at the same time allowing African nations room to grow and develop, could be found. But the very fact that this book is about how complicated and sticky the issues surrounding wildlife conservation are made it too tedious for me. The constant parade of facts, names, organizations, statistics, data, reports, etc (and details about how flawed they are) just wore my eyes out. It's not the type of book I can read right now. I do feel it has important information, and I'm curious to know how wildlife conservation has progressed since this book was written, but I'll have to come back to it later. I skipped ahead a bit and read a passage about the work of Mark and Delia Owens, whose book Cry of the Kalahari I've read, but in reality I quit reading this book on page 94.

Abandoned                          266 pages, 1992

Has anyone else read this book? Let me know and I'll add a link to your blog review.

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