Of elephants and men: politics and nature conservation in South Africa

TitleOf elephants and men: politics and nature conservation in South Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsS.D.K. Ellis
Secondary TitleJournal of Southern African studies
Pagination53 - 69
Date Published1994///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, Angola, Country, Namibia, policy, politics, South Africa

South Africa's policy of destabilisation of neighbouring countries was closely associated with the rise of South Africa as a leading middleman in the international ivory trade. South African-based traders, acting in partnership or with protection from officers of the South African Military Intelligence Directorate, imported raw ivory from Angola, Mozambique and points further north and re-exported it to markets in the Far East. This was a source of income both for the South African secret services and for individuals associated with them. The same trade routes were also used for trade in other goods, including rhino horn, drugs, gems, currency and weapons. This was not only as a means of earning money but also a technique of destabilisation in itself. The extent of South Africa's involvement in this trade, although suspected by some conservationists, was difficult to prove and did not form the target of any concerted campaign by the leading conservation groups world-wide. In this respect, the strength of the South Africa lobby in the World-Wide Fund for Nature seems to have played a significant role. Since the ending of South Africa's military presence in Namibia and Angola in 1989, the Military Intelligence officers, Special Forces officers and others who conducted the wars for the defence of white South Africa have been intent on the struggle inside South Africa itself. There is evidence that such counter-insurgency specialists are now using Mozambique in particular as a base for operations inside South Africa. Moreover, they continue to have an interest in the ivory and rhino horn trades. Former officers of specialist counter-insurgency units have also found employment as game wardens in national parks. The bold proposals currently being implemented to create large new game parks along the South African-Mozambican border, using modern management techniques and involving local communities in their management, have important implications for politics and national security

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9076
Citation Key1839