A contributed essay from Professor Rosaleen Duffy, Professor of Political Ecology of Development, SOAS, University of London.
Conservationists are facing some difficult and critically important choices over how to conserve elephants and rhinos in the wake of a rapid rise in poaching. But there appears to be a rush towards more militarised responses, which intersect with the strategic aims of the US-led ‘War on Terror’. Elephants and rhinos themselves may be fast becoming the latest weapon in this war. This is not ‘back to the barriers’, which implies a defensive position - it is an ‘offensive’ position extending well beyond protected areas. It could easily lead to an escalation of violence that will undermine decades of work with local communities, and it runs counter to the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights.