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At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife Paperback – October 4, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1989, member nations of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) declared the elephant endangered and banned all trade in ivory, a business which represented some $50 million annually to the Third World. The actions were the culmination of a campaign led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the African Wildlife Federation (AWF)--white, Western organizations. Bonner ( Waltzing with a Dictator ) presents a riveting account of events leading to the ban and its effect on native peoples. While poaching was out of control in Kenya and Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa had well-managed herds that were increasing. Bonner charges that WWF, AWF and animal rights groups pressured governments and scientists and manipulated Africans. Arguing that wildlife projects must consider people first, he discusses "sustainable utlilizaton"--killing animals for commercial purposes--which is supported by WFF, and the culling programs of the 1960s and 1970s. Examining tourism as a source of income, Bonner finds that it is of little benefit to people who live near the parks since the money goes into the national treasuries; and some parks are so heavily visited that the sheer numbers of tourists is damaging the enviornment. One solution, Bonner suggests, is to promote hunting over tourism; it is more profitable, and it gives local people a stake in conservation.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Bonner, a staff writer for The New Yorker , uses the save-the-elephant crusade and subsequent ban on world-wide ivory sales as a case study in African wildlife management. The ban, he argues, as well as other African conservation efforts, are merely the latest manifestations of the long-held view that Westerners have the right to impose regulations on Africans, without their consent and without providing money to enforce these rules. He persuasively suggests that the ban on ivory has hurt as much as it has helped, even suggesting that it was unnecessary to save the elephant. Bonner reports on several successful African initiatives that have saved wildlife habitat while simultaneously allowing the people of the region to flourish. Written in a compelling journalistic style, Bonner's book belongs on most libraries' shelves. It is certain to challenge and provoke. For another book on a similar topic, see Jonathan Adams and Thomas Shane's The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation Without Illusion , LJ 10/15/92.
- Randy Dykhuis, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 4, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679733426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679733423
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,274,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A lawyer-turned-journalist, Bonner has demonstrated a remarkable inability to settle, having held numerous jobs (in law and journalism, lived on every continent (except Antarctica)and reported on coups, revolutions, wars, terrorist attacks, nature attacks (tsunami) from some hundred countries. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a shared Pulitzer and the Louis M. Lyon award for Conscience and Integrity in journalism from the Nieman Fellows at Harvard. He is the author of four books -- "Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador" (which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award); "Waltzing With a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy" (Sidney Hillman book award); and "At The Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife." His most recent book is "Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong," a riveting story of an innocent man condemned to death and his lawyer's efforts to save him, which probes the American justice system.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Branham on April 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ray Bonner is straight on with this book.Even though it was written in 1992 - the same issues, conflicts and concerns are as current today as they were then. The debate over how to manage wildlife and protect it, is the same arguements that Bonner has brought to light in this book, I still hear today. Having been born and raised in East Africa, lived extensively around wildlife all of my life, Ray Bonner has brought out the complexities of managing wildlife in a land with a large number of hungry, poor people and an expanding population. Often our family were called to help control wildlife such as hippos raiding crops nightly, elephant destroying small farms (often the whole food supply for the year!), maneating lion, stock killing leopard. I witnessed the deaths of local African people by elephant or buffalo, and understand Bonners findings why locals teach their children that "elephants are bad - they kill me". Bonner is great at bringing this "other side" to the table. He is looking at it from the African's point of view. His finding is correct that the International organizations, AWF and WWF, sit in their offices far removed from the daily issues of the African, control the purse strings and impose their visions of how the Africans will manage their resources and wildlife.Most of the decisions makers have never lived in the shoes of Africans, around wildlife. He shows that such organizations, arrive and rather than ask what do you think you need help with, the locals are told, this is what you will do. The points he makes that these organizations think "wildlife first" and people "second" is so valid - though in 2006, there is at least some thinking with newer and younger organizations that, "wildlife
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By Leon Kachelhoffer on June 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mandatory reading for anyone interested in true conservation. This book brings to light the root causes. Highlights the relations and plight of rural communities and THEIR wildlife. If only decision and policy makers would heed to the call of wildlife, their patrons (rural commities), true practicing conservationists and relegate emotion to Hollywood only then can pragmatic and practical steps be made/implemented to make a difference out in wilderness. This Book is GOLDEN!
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 31, 2002
Format: Paperback target scientifically and economically. Raymond Bonner, a well respected investigative journalist lived in Kenya for a few years in the early 1990's and he uncovered something. He says that much of the tourism revenue derived from safaris and visits to the big game parks such as Masaai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, Serengeti, Kruger, and Etosha was not benefiting the locals in the immediate areas. Further he came to see the dichotomy between how most Westerners view wildlife and how Africans do. Our view is colored by the romantic writings of Dinesen and Markham, and the adventurous hunting life enjoyed by Hemingway. Africans on the other hand see wildlife either as food or something to run away from. He's spot on with the reaction of a typical Kenyan toto who has been taught very early in life that "elephants are bad" because "they kill me." One star to Mr Bonner for his accurate assessment of the inadequacies of tourism development plans and programs for the environmental education of children in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The book gets another star for its exposure of the cultural biases and narrow self-interest that oftentimes politicizes organizations such as the WWF - the world's largest conservation agency - the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund). However Mr Bonner runs out of stars and a persuasive argument when he proposes that it is AT THE HAND OF MAN (read Western white man and his do-good conservation ethics) that there is the greatest threat for the future of Africa's wildlife.
Mr Bonner is strongly opposed to the ban on ivory and he supports culling of elephant herds.
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