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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Conflicts over Development and Environmental Values: the International Ivory Trade in Zimbabwe's Historical Context

Kevin A. Hill

Environment and History 1(1995): 335-349

The international debate over sustainable utilisation of animal species often reaches a fever pitch, especially when Northern and Southern governments and NGOs clash. This paper examines one such clash in its proper historical framework: the recent debate over the international ivory trade. The article outlines Zimbabwe's pro-ivory trade position, with special attention paid to Zimbabwe's attempts to transform a local culture which has been hostile to wildlife conservation. Specifically, the paper argues that the current majority government is trying to transform the formally racist Rhodesian preservationist policies into utilisationist policies so that local people can realise some material benefit from the conservation of the African elephant, even in face of fierce opposition from the Western world.

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