The conservation folk are at it again. Suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not listing the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act. This seems to be the standard approach by the conservation community – going for palliative restrictions or regulations aimed at the result of a situation they will not or cannot address effectively.

This is very similar to the approach to elephant poaching in Africa. Most of the current efforts directed at the diminishing elephant populations are increased law enforcement and reducing the demand for ivory. The real energy fueling elephant poaching is African rural poverty and the conversion of wildlife habitat to agriculture.

 

The Chinese creation of mega-efficient agricultural operations is a disaster for the small indigenous farmers often operating appropriately in a more sustainable manner.

 

The real problem facing the wolverine is climate change, ironically used as justification for the current swarm of legal action. The direction and methods used in each case are sort of an aspirin approach to symptoms of a far more serious problem. The only real salient value of these tactics is in the appearance of “doing something”, thereby keeping the donations flowing. In more cynical moments one might even suggest that the ineffectiveness of these measures will necessitate greater urgency resulting in increased calls for donations to throw at the problem.

Our politicians have long mastered this form of apparently doing something even if wrong or ineffectual. When questioned, the response will be “at least it is a start”, or “the problem is much greater than we thought”. Unfortunately, the real solution to the wolverine situation is unthinkable for most conservation groups, many of which have a Faustian relationship with corporate America, LEAVING COAL IN THE GROUND.

Similarly, the solution to the problem of the African elephant is, as referred above, slowing and in some places curtailing the conversion of habitat to agriculture. Most specifically this means severely limiting Chinese interests in African countries where elephants are present.

The Chinese creation of mega-efficient agricultural operations is a disaster for the small indigenous farmers often operating appropriately in a more sustainable manner. The impact on pastoral communities whose livestock practices have evolved over millenniums are best left to your bad dreams. The idea of limiting these increasing foreign presences is of course anathema to the ruling kleptocracies encountered so often in African countries.

Compounding this problem is the often strange relationships of global corporations and African governments and the well-meaning but often wrong-headed conservationists.