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Colonial wildlife conservation and the origins of the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (1903–1914)

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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) celebrates its centenary in 2003. It was founded as the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (SPWFE) in London in 1903. This paper analyses the events, people, and debates behind its formation and early development. It discusses why the Society was formed, how it worked, and what its main concerns were. It considers the nature and success of the Society's work from 1903 to 1914 in influencing the British Colonial Office's policy on issues such as game reserves, hunting and wildlife clearance for tsetse control in Africa. The SPWFE drew together an elite group of colonial administrators, hunters and other experts on game in Africa, and was effective in lobbying the Colonial Office about preservation. Many of its concerns, and ideas about how to address them, are similar to those that are current today, a century after its establishment.
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Oryx Vol 37 No 2 April 2003
Colonial wildlife conservation and the origins of the Society for the
Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (1903–1914)
David K. Prendergast and William M. Adams
Abstract Fauna & Flora International (FFI) celebrates The SPWFE drew together an elite group of colonial
administrators, hunters and other experts on game inits centenary in 2003. It was founded as the Society
for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire Africa, and was eCective in lobbying the Colonial OBce
about preservation. Many of its concerns, and ideas(SPWFE) in London in 1903. This paper analyses the
events, people, and debates behind its formation and about how to address them, are similar to those that are
current today, a century after its establishment.early development. It discusses why the Society was
formed, how it worked, and what its main concerns
were. It considers the nature and success of the Society’s Keywords Colonial conservation, colonial policy, con-
servation history, Fauna & Flora International, gamework from 1903 to 1914 in influencing the British
Colonial OBce’s policy on issues such as game reserves, reserves, hunting, preservation.
hunting and wildlife clearance for tsetse control in Africa.
became linked to beliefs about links between climate
Introduction
change and drought, and led to the establishment of
measures for forest protection (Grove, 1992, 1995, 1997,Fauna & Flora International (FFI) celebrates its centenary
in 2003, claiming to be the world’s oldest international 1998). Imperial forestry, including ideas of rational
resource use, was well established in India by the mid-conservation organization. It was founded as the Society
for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire nineteenth century (Barton, 2002), as well as in the South
African Cape.(SPWFE, hereafter the Society) in 1903. The Society
dropped the word ‘‘wild’’ from its title after the First Concern for wildlife preservation was caused by the
fears of colonial hunters of the extinction of species andWorld War and then shortened it further to the Fauna
Preservation Society (FPS) in 1950 (Fitter & Scott, 1978). the depletion of stocks of wildlife or game animals through
over-hunting, particularly in the Cape (MacKenzie, 1987,Since then, the Society has undergone two further
name changes as its aims have broadened, becoming 1988). Hunting was important to elite British society in
the Victorian period, and was central to its replicationthe Fauna & Flora Preservation Society (FFPS) in 1980
and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in 1995. across the Empire (MacKenzie, 1988). The fascination
with sport hunting was also shared by wealthy AmericanResearch on the history of wildlife conservation
outside America and Western Europe, and particularly industrialists (Jacoby, 2001). The near-extinction of the
American bison Bison bison epitomized the eCects ofin Africa, emphasizes its colonial roots, arguing that
the ideas dominant in the early part of the twentieth unbridled hunting. In addition to the importance of
hunting, it is argued that in the colonial era Europeancentury persist to the present day (Anderson & Grove,
1987; MacKenzie, 1988; Neumann, 1998). The history of observers saw the wildlife-rich landscapes of Africa as
some kind of ‘lost Eden’ in need of protection andEuropean colonial environmental concern is deep and
complex. There was growing awareness of the problem preservation (Neumann, 1995). Arguably, ideas about
wildlife conservation in British colonial Africa, particularlyof deforestation from the eighteenth century, notably on
the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. This the classic model of game regulations and reserves, were
borrowed from the world of English aristocratic rural
estates even as the institution died out in England
David K. Prendergast Department of Social Anthropology, University of
(Neumann, 1996, 1997, 1998).
Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF, UK.
E-mail: dkp20@cam.ac.uk The SPWFE was established at a critical moment
in the formalization of colonial wildlife conservation.
William M. Adams (Corresponding Author) Department of Geography,
Neumann sees it as emblematic of the conservationist
University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK.
E-mail: wa12@cam.ac.uk ideas of the twentieth century colonial enterprise as a
whole. This paper analyses the Society’s foundation,
Received 5 February 2003. Revision requested 26 February 2003.
Accepted 10 March 2003. and the conservation issues that were of contemporary
251
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252 David K. Prendergast and William M. Adams
concern in its early work. Chief among these were the The chief problem that Buxton perceived was a failure
of ‘‘true sportsmanship’’ in hunting by Europeans (Buxton,idea of reserves for game, the problem of over-hunting
and tsetse fly. The period covered here ends in 1914, a 1902, p. 115). The disappearance of game (by which he
meant almost all large mammals, especially antelope,natural break, for the Society’s work was much reduced
for the duration of the First World War. but including carnivores, elephant Loxodonta africana,
rhinoceros and hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius)
was the result of ‘‘reckless shooting’’ of excessive
Why the Society was founded
numbers of animals (Buxton, 1902, p. 115). It was in the
interests of the real sportsman, and particularly residentThe central character in the first decades of the Society
was Edward North Buxton. By 1903 he had already oBcers of colonial administrations, that game should
be ‘‘played fair’’. It was ‘‘bloodthirstiness’’, where ‘‘andemonstrated commitment to conservation in the UK.
He was the grandson of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, the otherwise sane man runs amuck’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 116),
and not ‘‘honest sport’’, which was responsible forleader of the anti-slavery movement, and his father
bought house and land in Epping Forest in 1851. Never the depletion of so many game fields. Game should be
viewed as ‘‘a precious inheritance of the empire, some-afraid of confrontation, E.N. Buxton and his brother
risked social opprobrium by siding with local wood- thing to be guarded like a unique picture’’, ‘‘something
which may easily be lost, but which cannot be replaced’’loppers against landowners who wished to enclose
Epping Forest, as had been done at Hainault (Addison, (Buxton, 1902, p. 116). The arrival of the railway and
other forms of communication were a serious threat to1991). Buxton was a leading figure in the Commons
Preservation Society, founded in 1865 to fight enclosure Kenyan game in particular. The decimation of the dense
herds of game on the South African veldt showed whatof areas such as Hampstead Heath and Wimbledon
Common (Sheail, 1976). He was instrumental in bring- might happen, where ‘‘a paradise of varied life, which
is now irretrievably lost through the carelessness anding in the Corporation of the City of London against
enclosure (the Buxtons owned a family brewery in wastefulness of white men’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 117). Even
if game preservation cost money, Buxton urged that ‘‘allSpitalfields). In writing of the campaign in 1923, Buxton
wrote that ‘‘a truer and juster view of the needs and necessary sacrifices will be made to preserve them while
there is yet time’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 117).rights of the public began to prevail’’ (Buxton, 1923, p. 15).
In 1875, the Corporation began to purchase manors The context for Buxton’s arguments was the Inter-
national Conference of the African colonial powerswithin Epping Forest, and the forest was finally vested
in the Corporation, under the Epping Forest Act of 1878, (Germany, France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Italy and
the Belgian Congo) in London, resulting in the 1900to be used for public open space. Buxton and his elder
brother were Verderers for much of the next half century. Convention for the Preservation of Animals, Birds and
Fish in Africa. Concern about the extinction of gameBuxton remained committed to conservation in Britain
throughout his life, among other things purchasing in Africa was well established at the turn of the nine-
teenth century, particularly because of experiences inHatfield Forest in Essex on his deathbed for the National
Trust (SPFE, 1924). South Africa (MacKenzie, 1988). The Cape Act for the
Preservation of Game was passed in 1886, and extendedBuxton was a hunter and, in the words of his obituary,
‘‘an ardent preserver of game’’ who held strongly that to the British South African Territories in 1891 (Grove,
1987; MacKenzie, 1987). In 1892 the Sabie Game Reservehunting ‘‘must not be done in such a way as to endanger
the existence or seriously diminish the stock of game’’ was established in the Transvaal (Stevenson-Hamilton,
1952; Carruthers, 1995). The British Foreign OBce drew(SPFE, 1924, p. 23). At the time of the formation of the
SPWFE, he had made visits to British East Africa and attention to the need for Game Regulations in African
territories in 1891. In 1896 a decree was passed inSomaliland, hunting and taking photographs. He had
published accounts of these expeditions, illustrated with German East Africa under its Governor, Hermann von
Wissmann establishing game reserves and a licensingnumerous photographs of birds and mammals, just
before the SPWFE was created (Buxton, 1898, 1902). He system. Game regulations were promulgated in Uganda
and the East African Protectorate in 1897 (Cd. 3189,had travelled in ‘‘the Kenia-Kilimanjaro plateau’’, and
in the Sudan, ‘‘two of the best game districts remaining 1906; Beachey, 1967; MacKenzie, 1988).
In 1902 Buxton noted that the Foreign OBce wasin Africa’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 115), and he had formed
clear views of the chief challenges to conservation and ‘‘thoroughly alive’’ to the question of preservation, but
provisions were far from perfect (Buxton, 1902, p. 118).what action was needed to confront them. In addition
to its account of travel and natural history, his 1902 Game preservation regulations enacted in British Central
Africa, British East Africa and Uganda, and (by the Indiabook Two African Trips sought a deliberate engagement
with British colonial policy. OBce) in Somaliland typically imposed an expensive
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Colonial conservation origins
licence on travellers wishing to hunt, and a cheaper one that vast areas of the Sudan, Darfur, Kordofan and land
south of the Sobat for example, were declared closed tofor residents and oBcials. In some cases they also limited
the numbers of species such as rhinoceros and elephant hunting by travellers, but open to oBcers and civil
servants. It was not clear ‘‘where the mere British citizen,that could be killed. There had also been some progress
with the establishment of game reserves, for example fond of travelling and hunting, comes in’’ (Buxton, 1902,
p. 130). Such practices led to abuse: ‘‘game may disappearin Kenya.
The Convention sought to strengthen and standardize before the oBcial uniform as well as the unprivileged
traveller’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 128).game laws across colonial Africa. Signatories agreed to
establish a selective list of species in danger of extinction Buxton’s experiences in Africa gave him a clear
agenda, which his 1902 book sought to set out for thethat should be protected from hunting, (as should
immature animals and breeding females), to limit the reading public, and indirectly for the British government.
To his concerns about reserves he added discussionsale of elephant tusks of less than 11 lbs, and to establish
‘‘adequate reserves and protect them from encroach- about trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn (suggesting
that elephants would be more valuable as load-carriersment’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 119). In British territories, reserves
had been set aside in Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, British than simply as providers of ivory), and an assessment
of the problem of native hunting. On that subject, heCentral Africa (a small reserve in what is now Malawi,
at Elephant Marsh, unfortunately already without pointed out that animals were the Africans’ birthright,
and that ‘‘from time immemorial the destruction causedelephants) and Somaliland. Territories had established
schedules of protected species (typically including the by the indigenous inhabitants has not appreciably
diminished the stock’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 139). However,giraCeGiraCa camelopardalis, eland Taurotragus spp. and
buCalo Syncerus caCer as they were thought to have been he urged that every precaution be taken to prevent
Africans acquiring ‘‘civilized weapons’’, and castigatedbrought to near extinction by the rinderpest panzootic,
although special protection for eland and buCalo was the French for importing rifles into Djibouti. He noted
that Pax Britannica was encouraging Kikuyu incursionslater removed once numbers improved), and larger and
slow-breeding species whose breeding females and young to hunt elephant on the Athi Plains, and suggested that
the Maasai might make good game guards (Buxton,should be preserved (e.g. rhinoceros, hippopotamus,
and greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros). In addition, 1902, p. 139–140).
licences set a limit on the numbers of each species that
could be killed, and demanded a list of what had been
How the Society was founded
killed when the licence expired. This regulation clearly
irked some, but Buxton dismissed objections with reveal- Though derived from a desire to implement the
objectives of the 1900 Convention, the foundation ofing ferocity: ‘‘the legitimate sportsman has no reason to
fear it, and the mere butcher should be gibeted (sic)’’ the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the
Empire was also a logical extension of Buxton’s views(Buxton, 1902, p. 121).
Buxton’s book set out a critique of British conservation about game preservation in Africa. In 1903 it was
announced that the authorities in the Sudan alreadypolicy, and an agenda for future action. The key focus
of his attention was the provision of game reserves. wished to de-gazette the recently created White Nile
Reserve situated between the White and Blue Niles andBuxton’s critique was twofold. First, he criticised their
location, pointing out that the areas selected at first the Sobat River and replace it with a less suitable area
further south on the Zeraf River. The White Nile reserve,‘‘were not always chosen with suBcient knowledge or
regard to the surroundings conditions and the need of it was proposed would be divided into two sections,
one for the use of government oBcials and the otherthe game’’ (Buxton, 1902, p. 121). Secondly, he criticised
their management, and particularly the prevalence of for the recreation of non-oBcial visitors to the area
(SPWFE, 1903).hunting by colonial oBcers. The purpose of the reserves
as ‘sanctuaries’ was being undermined by lax controls Buxton held a series of meetings with friends and
associates in his home to discuss how best to preventon the activities of government oBcers themselves.
Buxton’s view was that ‘‘a sanctuary where people are this. A polite but forceful letter was written to Lord
Cromer, then Governor-General of the Sudan askingallowed to shoot is a contradiction in terms’’ (Buxton,
1902, p. 127). Thus in the ‘Kenia Reserve’ (as constituted him to reconsider the matter. The argument was made
that ample land existed alongside the reserve to caterbriefly in 1899), oBcers had interpreted the regulations
to mean they had free access to the whole of the reserve adequately for the recreational needs of both classes of
sportsmen. Removal of the reserve would mean there(Buxton, 1902). Such abuse was more pronounced in the
Sudan, where the game reserve was regarded as an was no sanctuary at all for game in the northern region,
and game close to the capital would quickly be shot‘‘oBcers’ reserve’’. Buxton points out a little peevishly
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254 David K. Prendergast and William M. Adams
out. The alternative site, on the other hand, was of little expected, considering their shared members, precedents
for this approach can be found in the policies of theuse for game preservation. It was a considerable distance
from Khartoum and the level of supervision available already established (Royal) African Society. During the
latter Society’s inaugural meeting in 1901, the keynoteto the reserve would be severely reduced (SPWFE, 1903,
pp. 2–3). Furthermore, because of the sudd vegetation, speech of the famous colonial administrator, explorer
and zoologist Sir Harry Johnston suggested that one ofit was seen as probable that many species of wildlife
would not find it habitable for much of the year. the main roles of the African Society should be to ‘‘hunt
over the records of other Societies and drag to lightThis letter of opposition was given weight by the
signatures of a remarkable range of aristocratic or political what is often overlooked – that part of their work that
throws a light on African aCairs – and so bring it to thefigures, including the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, Sir
Edward Grey, Lord Avebury, the Marquis of Hamilton, notice of those who are mainly interested in Africa’’
(JAS, 1901, p. xiii).the Earl of Rosebery, Sydney Buxton and Sir Henry
Seton-Karr, businessmen such as brewery owner Samuel Henry Seton-Karr described the role of the SPWFE in
1908 as follows: ‘‘where opportunity presents itself, weH. Whitbread, the engineer P.L. Sclater, scientists and
naturalists including Oldfield Thomas, Ray Lankester who know something of what may be going on in
outlying regions wish to lose no chance of advocating,and Richard Lydekker; as well as some of the most
renowned colonial administrators, hunters and writers in season and out of season, and at the risk of becoming
nuisances, all reasonable and eCective game preservation,about Africa during that period such as F.C. Selous,
John G. Millais, Sir John Kirk and Abel Chapman. and on right lines’’ (Seton-Karr, 1908, pp. 27–28). He
believed that game preservation could best be doneThis latter list also included Sir Harry Johnston, High
Commissioner to Uganda and founder of the Sugota ‘‘by Imperial Government action in the case of Crown
Colonies and Protectorates; by a healthy and activeReserve. Johnston himself explained that he had created
the reserve as a means of gaining time after hearing that public opinion working through Colonial Governments
in the case of self-governing Colonies’’ (Seton-Karr, 1908,a very large armed hunting party of Somalis, rumoured
to have caused much destruction in the past, were to p. 28). It was to these authorities that the Society primarily
addressed itself during the first decade of its existence.return to the region (SPWFE, 1905c).
The first formal suggestion that this alliance might be The Society’s strengths were the personal contacts of
its members, an extensive network of overseas corres-made permanent through the formation of a society
focused upon protecting the larger game animals with pondents and oBcials, and its ability to gain the ear
of some of the leading government figures of the day,the Empire was given at a meeting of the letter’s
signatories held in the House of Commons on 30 July including varying degrees of access to the houses of
Parliament, and the Foreign, Colonial and India OBces.1903 (SPWFE, 1903, p. 4). This was followed up in early
December by a circular celebrating the success of the Though small in size, the Society wielded considerable
influence. Its early membership, like the signatories ofpetition and announcing the first meeting of a small
association, newly created to gather and propagate the original letter in 1903, consisted of those who were
either prominent, politically and otherwise, or thoseinformation amongst its members about ‘‘game reserves,
game laws, the amount of game killed, the gradual considered to be knowledgeable about Africa or African
conservation, such as colonial administrators, naturalists,disappearance of species, etc. throughout Africa’’. The
second edition of the new Society’s Journal in 1905 set hunters and authors.
From the first, the SPWFE recruited as many highout its aims: relying on the collective action, interest
and African experience of members, they would attempt profile people of influence into its ranks as possible. It
was declared in the first meeting of the Society that itto promote the formation of game reserves or sanctuaries,
help with the selection of suitable locations, and support intended to invite the senior oBcials and governors of
all the African colonies and protectorates to becomethe enforcement of deserving game laws (SPWFE,
1905a, p. 1). honorary members of the Society. Two years later the
Society elected as Vice Presidents the prominent figures
of Lords Milner, Curzon, Fry and Cromer in order to
How the Society worked
advertise itself, attract membership, and secure aid and
status for the association. In 1905 the Colonial SecretaryThe SPWFE is best understood as a pressure group,
whose work and influence evolved through the period. of State Alfred Lyttelton accepted an invitation to
become an Honorary Member of the Society followingThe Society made an eCort from the start to position
itself as an independent expert organization with the a deputation to the Colonial OBce. In the membership
lists published in 1905, 27 honorary members are listed,specialist knowledge necessary to assess information
and influence colonial policy in Africa. As might be in comparison to only 71 ordinary paying members
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Colonial conservation origins
(SPWFE, 1905b, pp. 2–4). In addition to senior colonial mented by very active members such as Frederick Selous,
Sir Henry Seton-Karr, and the Australian adventureradministrators and political figures from across British
Africa, the list also incorporated leading figures from and Kenyan settler W. Scoresby Routledge. Samuel
H. Whitbread of the brewing family both actively cam-other parts of the world, including President Theodore
Roosevelt of the United States, Prince Henry Liechtenstein paigned for the Society in Parliament and participated
in the running of the Journal. In the very early years,in Vienna, and others from Canada, Finland, and Russia.
This strategy of seeking influential members was common Dr E.E. Austen of the Natural History Museum was
perhaps the most active of the scientific advisers andin London societies of the period, and like many such
relationships it appears to have been mainly passive, representative to the Society, although other notable
scientists of the day such as E.G.B. Meade Waldo,although as described below, Lord Curzon turned out
to be an obvious exception. This pattern of actively Sir Clement Hill, Oldfield Thomas and, slightly later,
Dr Peter Chalmers-Mitchell, secretary of the Zoologicalgarnering influence continued well into the 1930s, as
Neumann (1995) points out in his critique of the role of Society of London, all became deeply involved in its
activities. As already noted, outside Great Britain, thethe Earl of Onslow (President of the Society 1926–1945,
c.f. Onslow, 1944), and his successor the Duke of Society was able to plug into a wide network of corres-
pondents, including Dr William T. Hornaday, DirectorDevonshire.
Distinctive in their aims in the early years of the of the New York Zoological Society. Of these however,
none contributed more to the Society’s sense of directiontwentieth century, the founders of the Society were
clearly no strangers to the use and manipulation of (and its journal ) concerning the management and pre-
servation of wildlife than the proliferate writer andpower and influence in the British Empire. The sup-
port of leading figures of the day was essential for the adviser Colonel H. Stevenson-Hamilton, Warden of the
game reserve that later became the Kruger Nationalsuccess of the Society as a body capable of aCecting
events in the colonies of Africa. Underneath the glitter- Park (Carruthers, 1995).
ing aristocratic public face of the SPWFE however, there
was also a dedicated core of workers, continuously
corresponding, lobbying and sometimes arguing with
What the Society did
administrators, game wardens, and politicians both at
home and abroad. These consisted of men from a wide As soon as it was formed, the Society immediately
began corresponding with the key figures in authorityrange of backgrounds and histories, with varying degrees
of knowledge about Africa and wildlife. This became to press home warnings, complaints and requests. This
included questions in the Houses of Commons andmore visible as the decade wore on and the Society
fought against its image as a club for rich sportsmen. It Lords on issues they deemed particularly important.
During the Society’s first oBcial meeting, membersis revealing that by February 1909 Lord Crewe, the new
Secretary of State for the Colonies, after listening to the resolved to send a letter questioning the British South
Africa Company about its alleged plans to allow itsarguments of a group of SPWFE representatives, took
the trouble to reassure them that he himself understood railway construction workers to kill game for meat
whilst engaged on the project. Pointing out the folly ofthe Society to be ‘‘in eCect a scientific Society. It is not
with you simply a question of preserving game for such a course of action through reference to the lessons
to be learned from the example of the Union Pacificsportsmen, although that is a side of the matter in which
many members no doubt take interest; but you are here, railway and the extermination of the American Bison,
the letter strongly reminded the Company of establishedas I say, as a scientific Society in the main, and it is on
those lines and in those interests that you wish us to game regulations (SPWFE, 1903, pp. 7–8). A meeting
soon after was arranged between the directors of thehelp you’’ (SPWFE, 1909, p. 22).
Most visible as the force behind most of the Society’s Company (including Earl Grey, who at that time was
vice-chairman) and a deputation of SPWFE members.activities of course stood E.N. Buxton and his kin.
Others however, drawn to the cause, lent their talents, During the course of the long conversation that followed
the Company explained that they would not allow theknowledge and resources, consolidating and amplifying
his eCorts. It is clear from both the Journals and the early breaking of game regulations for the feeding of their
workers, and also promised to contact their nativeminutes of the Society that the literary, administrative
and research contributions of Mr. (later Sir) Rhys commissioners asking for the best places for game
sanctuaries (SPWFE, 1903, pp. 8–9).Rhys Williams, the first honorary secretary, provided
an important, although perhaps less glamorous practical The success of this deputation seems to have set the
pattern for the Society’s activities during the 1900s. Theelement to the running of the fledging organization. In
London such contributions were substantially comple- main focus of their attention was the British government.
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256 David K. Prendergast and William M. Adams
Between the years 1905 and 1909 the SPWFE had no fessed his oBce unable to promise money from the
Imperial Exchequer for conservation, but undertook toless than three lengthy and fairly sympathetic meetings
with diCerent Secretaries of State for the Colonies. On ensure that dispatches were sent to the African colonies
about the possibility of forming carefully positionedeach occasion, although not always satisfied with the
result, they managed to make significant gains for most and eCectively sized game reserves throughout the pro-
tectorates. Noting his inability to intervene directly in theof the causes they were pursuing. These took the form
of actual action, promises of further investigation, or cases of self-governing colonies, Lyttelton also promised
to press upon their administrators and others both thethe use of the influence of the colonial oBce in order to
make suggestions or representations to self-governing commercial value in maintaining game numbers and the
aesthetic value of protecting beautiful places, particularlycolonies such as the Union of South Africa.
The issues dealt with were numerous, and the calls as Europe grew increasingly crowded (SPWFE, 1905c,
pp. 17–18).upon their attention rapidly grew as correspondents
throughout the Empire began to recognize the Society’s Over the next year, answers to the resulting dispatches
were passed on to the Society by the Colonial OBcelobbying abilities. Initially its chief concern was the
promotion of game reserves throughout Africa and the with the understanding that the members would provide
suggestions for protective measures in each country. Tosafeguarding and implementation of the 1900 Convention.
As the understanding of what this might require clarified, meet this request the Society prepared an extensive docu-
ment detailing their recommendations (Rhys Williams,so did their comprehension of the problems involved
and the race against time that they were facing. 1907), many of which were later implemented. By the
time of the next deputation in 1906, however, the issueBy 1909, the challenges facing the SPWFE had begun
to multiply as the colonial situation in Africa became had changed somewhat from the question simply of
choosing sensibly situated reserves to the need formore complex. The early emphasis on establishing
reserves quickly broadened to encompass issues such adequate funding for their protection, and where this
money should come from (SPWFE, 1907a). Thus theas how to handle poachers, the relative rights of natives,
settlers and colonial oBcials, the possibilities of tourism, deputation referred to estimates quoted by then Deputy
Commissioner F. J. Jackson that £2,344 was needed tohow to limit the smuggling of illegal animal products,
and the best methods of dealing with the rising threat protect the fauna of British East Africa (Rhys Williams,
1907; SPWFE, 1907b). Equally important was theirto wildlife brought on by growing panic concerning
the tsetse fly (Glossina spp.). The Society’s members had argument that once established, reserves should be
considered ‘‘sacred’’ and not carved up or parceled outalso begun to consider a wider geographical range of
problems, including the Plumage Bill, seals, whaling, to settlers as the process of development proceeded.
As Buxton imperiously declared to Lord Elgin: ‘‘in theand the protection of elephant seals Mirounga leonina and
king penguins Aptenodytes patagonicus in the Falkland opinion of this Society the time when a game reserve is
of the most value is when it comes into contact withIslands. It is impossible in this short paper to outline
eCectively the Society’s handling of all these questions. civilization; when civilization begins to impinge upon
the reserve, then it is of the most value, because it isBelow is a summary of some of the Society’s key
concerns in the first decade of its existence. then that the game is apt to be killed out, and it is then
that the settler of the future will most appreciate the
precaution of maintaining the reserve where it is of
most use’’ (SPWFE, 1907a, p. 31).
Game reserves Some of these issues were followed up later in the
year by the MP Samuel H. Whitbread in questions toThe first deputation from the Society to the colonial
oBce took place in 1905. Noting that many African Winston Churchill, then Undersecretary of State for the
Colonies in the House of Commons (SPWFE, 1907c).territories had come or were coming under the control
of the Colonial OBce, Buxton presented a list of ideas Little progress was reported at that stage, but it was
eventually announced in 1908 that the budget for theabout improvements that the Society wanted to see
implemented. These included requests for adequate well game staCin British East Africa had been raised by the
Colonial OBce from £300 to the £2,300 per year askedguarded reserves and high ranking game oBcers in all
territories, reasonable expenditure of public funds for for by the SPWFE deputation. By this point, the Society
noted in an editorial that it was urgently needed duegame preservation, more thorough reports from over-
seas oBcials, and greater flexibility for oBcers on the to a dramatic increase in the ‘‘white development’’ of
East Africa (as reflected in the increase in the net rail-ground to vary the list of protected ‘‘sacred’’ animals in
their region to account for changing local events and way receipts from £2,639 in 1904–1905 to £76,150 in
1906–1907 (SPWFE, 1908, p. 9). The man appointed assituations. The Colonial Secretary Alfred Lyttelton pro-
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257
Colonial conservation origins
chief of this new game staCwas SPWFE member (and scheme for the protection of elephants and rhinoceros,
in preparation for an upcoming conference in Londonmember of the Society’s deputation to the Colonial
OBce) Lieut-Col. J.H. Patterson, author of the famous on the issue. This conference was indeed held just before
the outbreak of the First World. War. It decided that thebook Man-Eaters of Tsavo and other East African
Adventures (1907). export of tusks of less than 10 kg (approx 22 lbs) in
weight would be prohibited, while at the same timeBy 1909 the Society was again combating the revision
of game reserve boundaries by local administrators. It settlers and natives might be protected against the
ravages of elephants by the respective powers. However,warned against a policy of taking over sections of a
reserve for other uses, and replacing them with other due to the war this protocol was not ratified, and the
Society had to return once more to this issue when itless suitable areas, unless such a decision was first
countenanced by the Colonial OBce itself (SPWFE, resumed its activities following the war (Buxton, 1921).
1909). Though accepting that some reserves tended to
be needlessly large, the Society took care to push the
view that such changes needed to be carefully planned Tsetse fly
and discussed. Dr Chalmers Mitchell perhaps won over
the Colonial Secretary most by pointing out that new Perhaps the longest and most frustrating battle fought
by the Society was against those who believed thatland added on in replacement is not always of the same
high scientific value as the old lost land, because smaller African game was the main food supply for the tsetse
fly, and therefore a key element in the spread of sleepinganimals living in virgin untouched land tend to be
destroyed when the land is cultivated. In response to sickness, a scourge of man and beast alike. This link,
greatly popularized in the middle of the first decadethese arguments Lord Crewe (then Colonial Secretary)
declared that no alterations to the reserves under his of the century by a sudden surge in press interest
(Austen, 1907; Whitbread, 1907), resulted in calls for theauthority would be made without agreement of either
himself or his successors in the Colonial OBce extermination of the wild fauna in the worst aCected
parts of Africa to curtail the problem. From the moment(SPWFE, 1909).
this issue erupted, the Society found itself arguing
through every means at its disposal that scientific proof
should be acquired and rational systematic procedures
The ivory trade established prior to any drastic action. Letters and
articles were written to newspapers and journals, whilstA second major concern of the Society in its first decade
was about trade in wildlife products. They were con- members of the Society lobbied those in power both in
England and in the regions in question. Through itscerned about the export and sale of horns and skins,
but their chief concern was the hunting of elephants and various members, the Society quickly began to argue
that, in its opinion and experience, in many areas therethe trade in ivory. One of the Society’s major objectives
was to get agreement on a uniform rule governing and was no certain correlation between high population
densities of game and tsetse fly. Likewise they suggestedraising what they considered to be the very low mini-
mum weight of five kilograms (11 lbs) allowed for the that game destruction had been by no means proven
to be a solution, and they argued that it might evensale of ivory. This issue was brought up repeatedly with
the Colonial OBce (Cd. 4472, 1909). During the interview exacerbate the problem by narrowing the focus of targets
for tsetse fly to humans and their domestic animals.with Lord Crewe in 1909 Rhys Williams suggested that
he would like to see at the very least a 25 lb minimum Coryndon (1913), who was later Governor of Kenya in
the 1920s and an important advocate of game conser-weight implemented. The Colonial Secretary responded
that such a law would not be of much use without an vation, provides an excellent overview of this debate.
The Society also gave itself the task of guarding gameinternational agreement, otherwise people would just
smuggle the ivory across borders to territories that against those seeking to use the alleged link with sleep-
ing sickness as an excuse to ignore game licence lawsallowed lower minimums. He also noted that diCerent
protectorates had diCerent requirements, with a much or for their own profiteering. Thus in 1909 E.N. Buxton,
Lord Cranworth and Sir H.H. Johnston complainedgreater need for elephant protection in British East
Africa for example than in the vast elephant herds to the colonial secretary about how they, once again,
had worries concerning the devastation to wildlifeof Uganda where there was a problem with keeping
troublesome elephant numbers down and protecting being caused by the actions of the British South Africa
Company. Rather than the possibility of the Companycrops (SPWFE, 1909).
On 24th February 1914 Mr. R.B. Woosnam reported using game to feed its workers, this time the primary
problem identified by the Society was that it had heardto a meeting of the Society on a proposed international
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258 David K. Prendergast and William M. Adams
reports that the Company had thrown open entire was not advisable as the objects of the two societies
were dissimilar’’ (Buxton, 1908). Much the same con-districts to hunters, allegedly on account of tsetse fly
control (SPWFE, 1909). clusion was reached, albeit in a diplomatic and some-
what bureaucratic fashion, once more in 1925 when LordArguably, the ‘‘tsetse fly menace’’ had some positive
implications for the preservation of game, because it Lonsdale of the Shikar Club approached the SPWFE
about a possible alliance (McKenzie, 2000). Certainly byrestricted agricultural settlement by white farmers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the political nature the period of Lord Onslow’s Presidency (1926–1945),
the Society was far more concerned with the creationof the problem, there is little mention of it in the early
minutes, journals, and archives of the Society. This said, of National Parks as inviolable sanctuaries for game
than about what William T. Hornaday referred to asthe Society certainly seemed to be aware of such argu-
ments, as can be seen in a comment made in a colonial the ‘‘cardinal principles of sportsmen’’ (Hornaday, 1909),
although of course these still had their proponentsoBce deputation by the hunter F.C. Selous about the
suitability of the tsetse fly regions in Southern Rhodesia within the Society.
The question of hunting was in fact a source ofto be made into an immense game reserve because no
domestic animals or settlers could live there (SPWFE, diCerence of opinion within the Society, both publicly
and privately, almost from the beginning. Early SPWFE1905c, p. 16). It was not until 1957 however, when new
experiments were making it seem feasible that the threat deputations tothe Colonial OBce were seldom unanimous
in their opinions about how game reserves and wildlifewould soon be eradicated, that an Editorial can be found
in Oryx pointing out the restrictions that tsetse fly had conservation should be organized. E.N. Buxton built
his model of preservation upon a belief that a share ofplaced on the development of key areas in Africa, and
highlighting worries about what might happen to wild- the revenues from hunting licences could help pay
for eCective game protection by well-qualified staC.Helife once this constraint was no longer there (Oryx,
1957, pp. 2–3). argued that reserves could even create a profit and that
hunting also provides an outlet for the energies of young
oBcers, isolated in the field (SPWFE, 1907a). He felt that
Hunting and conservation the ‘‘ancient hunting rights’’ of local native populations
should be maintained, provided that only traditionalFrom the outset, the Society had to contend with
accusations from certain factions that it was merely a weapons and techniques were used (SPWFE, 1905c,
pp. 12–13). Other colleagues in the delegation to seesportsman-hunter’s lobby group. Richard Fitter and
Sir Peter Scott (1978) point out that the Society was Lord Lyttelton, such as Colonel Delme RadcliCe, begged
to diCer, arguing that even natives without guns shouldportrayed as composed of ‘‘penitent butchers’’: sports-
men who, having had their fill of hunting in their be prohibited from hunting because of the improve-
ments made to their hunting techniques as a result ofyounger days, now wished to repent for past deeds by
preserving game at the expense of others. The Society colonialism. Sir Henry Seton-Karr, big-game hunter
and a founder member of the Society wrote a letter tosought, rather uncomfortably, to balance an oBcial
ideology about the compatibility between properly con- the Society’s journal, published in 1908, attempting a
rebuttal criticism of the Society. He expressed the beliefducted sport hunting and the preservation of large game
and a desire to portray itself as a scientific minded that the origin of the problem of diminishing game
primarily lay, with certain exceptions, not with sports-society. Articles extolling the thrill of the hunt were
commonplace in the first issues of the Society’s journal, men but the ‘‘depredations’’ of natives and settlers
(Seton-Karr, 1908, p. 27).but soon began to peter out. A critical editorial in the
Saturday Review on 24 November 1906 squarely placed The idea of limiting the activities of all hunters on
reserves, including Europeans, except for administrativethe decreases in game at the hands of the big-game
hunter and rich and irresponsible young Englishmen purposes was given by other active contributors to
the Society’s knowledge base such Colonel Stevenson-excitedly amassing large game bags (SPWFE, 1907d,
p. 76). Hamilton. This was one of the general suggestions made
by the Society in their list of recommendations to theMany of the key founders of the famous hunters’
organization the Shikar Club were SPWFE members. Colonial OBce in 1906 (Rhys Williams, 1907). Likewise
Lord Hindlip, a member of the SPWFE and a settler inThese included P.B. Van der Byl, Sir Alfred Pease,
F.C. Selous, and Abel Chapman. This club, formed in Kenya, wrote an influential article in the Society’s journal
arguing strongly that making exceptions with licences1908, admitted only those who had hunted on three
continents. Notably however, that same year it was to privileged minorities had the eCect of angering settlers
and alienating them from the cause of game preservationresolved by the SPWFE after a discussion in a Society
meeting that ‘‘an amalgamation with the Shikar Club (Hindlip, 1905).
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259
Colonial conservation origins
expressed by conservationists in industrialized countries
Conclusions
a hundred years later, at the start of the twenty first
century.In its first decade, the Society for the Preservation of the
Wild Fauna of the Empire was a powerful force lobby-
ing for conservation within the corridors of power in
Acknowledgements
Imperial London. Its network spread out into the upper
reaches of British colonial government in Africa, and it Research for this paper has been funded by a grant from
Dr Lisbet Rausing. We would like to thank Carolinedrew upon both administrators and experienced game
managers and hunters. It transcended the specific con- Cowan and three anonymous referees for their
comments on this paper.cerns of its founders and members with sport hunting
to emphasize the importance of ordered administrative
strategies for conservation across Africa, and increasingly
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... In the 19th and 20th centuries, conservation efforts and other set-asides were epitomized by inequality, with "elite" hunters killing "wild nature," while others lacked rights of access and use (Adams, 2004;Neumann, 1996;Prendergast & Adams, 2003). Recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to determine what happens on their own lands has increased collaboration between conservation managers and Indigenous communities more recently, although much remains to be done (e.g., Schmidt & Peterson, 2009). ...
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Strategies to protect biodiversity in the face of a global crisis must be place‐based and sensitive to context. A failure to consider the socioeconomic and political circumstances, as well as wellbeing needs and lived realities of those most directly reliant upon biodiversity will further undermine progress on Aichi targets and subsequent goals for the post‐2020 framework. How communities experience the benefits or costs of conservation action is influenced in large measure by the principles that guide conservation governance, and the subsequent institutional structures and processes that frame conservation action (at local to global scales). In this article, we define and critically reflect on core principles of community‐centered conservation governance needed to yield desirable and long‐term conservation outcomes—both ecological and social (i.e., equitable and just). In doing so, we emphasize a conception of community‐centered conservation that we argue is relevant to guide implementation of a post‐2020 biodiversity framework, and which is based on a foundation of well‐established evidence. Core principles of community‐centered conservation governance include: (a) building multilevel networks and collaborative relationships needed to coproduce conservation solutions; (b) promoting equity and recognizing the central role of women as agents of positive change in conservation efforts across scales; (c) reframing conservation action through the lens of reconciliation and redress (e.g., responding to injustices from land grabs and territorial enclosures); (d) ensuring a rights‐based approach to conservation action in which community agency, access and decision making autonomy are supported; and (e) revitalizing the customary and local institutions that provide legitimate and adaptive strategies for the stewardship of biodiversity.
... The first half of the 20 th century corresponds to a period where, paradoxically, as the external pressures to conserve wildlife proliferated in Amboseli, the intrinsic conservation motivation of the Maasai people started to erode substantially (Fig. 1). The idea of setting aside protected areas began during colonial times, from the early days of the East Africa Protectorate, with concerns about the need to control the hunting of wild animals by both Europeans and Africans (Prendergast & Adams, 2003;Simon, 1962). Colonialists claimed that the bounty of wildlife that they had found in the Amboseli Ecosystem, particularly the animals they liked to hunt, was beginning to thin out (see MacKenzie, 1988). ...
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Local attitudes towards wildlife encompass environmental, political, sociocultural and psychological dimensions that shape human-wildlife interactions and conservation efforts. Although the political and sociocultural dimensions of these interactions have been extensively examined by political ecologists and cultural anthropologists, psychological aspects have remained largely untapped so far. This article presents an in-depth review of a long historical record of changing attitudes towards wildlife among Maasai pastoralists of the Amboseli Ecosystem in southern Kenya, examining their shifts in light of different conservation psychology theories. The historical changes are reviewed in relation to three theories of attitudinal shifts (i.e., cognitive dissonance, reactance, and motivation crowding theory) and discussed in a context of land dispossession, conservation policies and changes in Maasai lifestyles and cultural values. We conclude that conservation psychology adds an important dimension to understanding attitudes towards wildlife and how they bear on conservation policies and practices.
... The society boasted an array of influential members with vast networks in the Empire. 21 Initial issues of their journal, first published in 1903, reviewed game laws in Africa and drew colonial government's attention to the condition of the fauna in the Empire. They published reports on annual kills in shooting blocks, permissions of game licenses, letters by well-wishers and the society's day to day activities. ...
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As the Edwardian era came to an end in Britain and its Empire began to decline, the glorious days of tiger hunting in India were being measured against a genuine fear of the total extinction of tigers. This article maps the precarious position of Indian tigers in the hands of hunters against the rising concern over preservation of the species in the first half of the twentieth century. Ranging from the bureaucratic to the overtly sentimental and personal, these attitudes, taken together, reveal a pre-‘Project Tiger’ conservation milieu in colonial India. They help us to judge the cultural status and symbol of the Bengal tiger before it became an iconic species for wildlife conservation in postcolonial India. The various debates and representations of tigers in hunting memoirs often throw light on intricate socio-cultural problems threatening the survival of the cat. In fact, the debates, as much as they spread awareness, ended up strengthening the bureaucratic and sometimes political hold over Indian forests. The article further tracks imperial discourse on the systematization of tiger hunts, which was effectively linked with the preservation of tigers and collaboration with Indians. During the twilight of the British Empire, tiger hunt and tiger conservation would emerge as sites for possible collaboration between Indians and their rulers. As recent efforts at international collaboration to protect tigers have shown, the tiger retains enough sentimental value to secure bureaucratic and political ties between nations.
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Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution is key to understanding water governance in Mexico. It crystallized the revolutionary ideals of land redistribution and national control over natural resources, as well as using irrigation infrastructure to implement land reform. This chapter reviews the history of water governance in Mexico, discussing past and current institutions, policies, laws, and provisions governing water and the protection and conservation of ecosystems and aquifers. Finding that most of these institutions were not designed to protect wetlands, water, or aquifers but rather to manage the use of water and natural resources. Thus, existing laws and institutions have proven insufficient to protect Cuatro Ciénegas.
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“Empire forestry”—the broadly shared forest management practice that emerged in the West in the nineteenth century—may have originated in Europe, but it would eventually reshape the landscapes of colonies around the world. Melding the approaches of environmental history and political ecology, Colonial Seeds in African Soil unravels the complex ways this dynamic played out in twentieth-century colonial Sierra Leone. While giving careful attention to topics such as forest reservation and exploitation, the volume moves beyond conservation practices and discourses, attending to the overlapping social, economic, and political contexts that have shaped approaches to forest management over time.
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In this paper I examine the role of members of the British aristocracy in the movement to create national parks in colonial Africa. Aristocratic hunter preservationists established the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire (SPFE) and used their access to the Colonial Office to help direct colonial conservation policies. Focusing on the Earl of Onslow, SPFE president from 1926–1945, I suggest that the aristocratic experience with the landscape of rural England influenced conservationists' ideas for preserving an idealized wild Africa. I explore the ways in which social and cultural constructions of African nature embodied by the SPFE's proposals reflected and helped to legitimate British imperialist ideology. Ultimately, the history of aristocratic involvement in conservation is critical to understanding the development of an institutional global nature-preservation movement.
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List of Illustrations List of Tables Preface Introduction: The Hidden History of American Conservation PART ONE: Forest: The Adirondacks 1. The Re-creation of Nature 2. Public Property and Private Parks 3. Working-Class Wilderness PART TWO: Mountain: Yellowstone 4. Nature and Nation 5. Fort Yellowstone 6. Modes of Poaching and Production PART THREE Desert: The Grand Canyon 7. The Havasupai Problem 8. Farewell Song Epilogue: Landscapes of Memory and Myth Chronology of American Conservation Notes Bibliography Index
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The East African ivory trade is an ancient one: East African ivory is soft ivory and is ideal for carving, and was always in great demand. It figures prominently in the earliest reference to trading activities on the East African Coast. But the great development came in the nineteenth century when an increased demand for ivory in America and Europe coincided with the opening up of East Africa by Arab traders and European explorers. The onslaught on the ivory resources of the interior took the form of a two-way thrust—from the north by the Egyptians who penetrated into the Sudan and Equatoria, and by the Arabs from the east coast of Africa. The establishment of European protectorates and a settled administration in the 1890s ended this exploitation. During the nineteenth century ivory over-topped all rivals in trade value— even slaves. The uses of ivory were wide and novel—it played the same part in the nineteenth century as do plastics in the mid-twentieth—but it was always a much more expensive article.
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This article critically evaluates participatory, integrated conservation and development programmes in Africa, focusing on protected area buffer zones. I argue that, despite the emphasis on participation and benefit-sharing, many of the new projects replicate more coercive forms of conservation practice and often constitute an expansion of state authority into remote rural areas. I suggest that the reasons for this state of affairs can be traced in part to the persistence in conservation interventions of Western ideas and images of the Other. These stereotypes result in misguided assumptions in conservation programmes which have important implications for the politics of land in buffer zone communities.
Further Correspondence relating to the Preservation of Wild Animals in Africa (in continuation to cd. 3189) Accounts and Papers, Colonies and British Possessions: Colonies
  • Cd
Cd. 4472 (1909) Further Correspondence relating to the Preservation of Wild Animals in Africa (in continuation to cd. 3189). Accounts and Papers, Colonies and British Possessions: Colonies (Miscellaneous Reports), Colonies (General), Africa, Cyprus, LIX, 635–746
Two African Trips: with Notes and Suggestions on Big Game Preservation
  • E N Buxton
Buxton, E.N. (1902) Two African Trips: with Notes and Suggestions on Big Game Preservation. E. Stanford, London, UK
SPWFE (1903) Introduction. Journal of the Society for the Cambridge, UK. Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire, I
  • R H Grove
R.H. Grove), pp. 21–39. Cambridge University Press, SPWFE (1903) Introduction. Journal of the Society for the Cambridge, UK. Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire, I, 23–4.