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Wildlife And Conservation Efforts In Africa

2329 words - 9 pages

The dynamic natural environment and abundant wildlife are the most prominent features of the African continent. Due to its wide variety of biomes ranging from tropical forests to arid deserts, Africa consists of bountiful wildlife diversity. However, because of environmentally harmful human interactions, the variety of biomes is shrinking to all-time lows, which causes wildlife to die out. These detrimental human interactions, particularly livestock overgrazing and desertification, occur partly because the native people who depend on the land for daily life do not realize the potential benefits of wildlife and the unsustainability of their current ways. Poaching for horns and other valuable animal parts has also contributed to the decreasing amount of species present in the wild. However, the methods for conserving the wildlife environment differ in how they address the issue of the dwindling wildlife populations. The conventional method of conservation created in the mold of the Convention Relative to the Preservation of Fauna and Flora in their Natural State (also known as the London Convention) involves the complete centralization of wildlife resources to the government. The newer, more effective method called the Sustainable Use Approach makes drastic changes to the London Convention principles by decentralizing ownership of wildlife and allowing small communities and villages to manage it themselves.
Livestock grazing or herding is a human activity that has been taking place for thousands of years in Africa. Pastoral lifestyles emerged in Africa about nine thousand years ago with the arrival of domesticated herbivores like goats, sheep, and aurochs from Asia. Pastoralism thrived in its early stages in Africa because these domesticated animals were introduced during an interglacial period, when the size of the savannas and grasslands increased at the expense of the deserts. Herding allowed people to extract previously unobtainable nutrients from their environment. Since humans could not directly digest the grasses that existed in the savannas, the only way for them to take in the nutrients was to use cattle, which are capable of grazing or consuming grass, to convert it into edible forms. By consuming the milk and meat that the cattle produced the people were able to fully exploit the resources available. This pastoralist lifestyle was symbiotic with the agriculturalist lifestyle because the two communities traded goods with each other to maintain healthy diets. Therefore, many civilizations, like Mapungubwe in southern Africa, depended on the mutual relationship between humans and domestic animals to survive. This system was widely accepted due to its effectiveness and eventually became ingrained in African social and economic life. However, because of the rapid increase in population in Africa over the last several centuries has led to severe overgrazing, which occurs when the grass doesn’t have sufficient time to recover before being...

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