The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


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Born free or life behind bars: The subtleties of African large carnivore conservation

Tarik Bodasing

The Ecological Citizen Vol 4 No 2 2021: 143–8

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First published: 6 May 2021  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


Large carnivore numbers are dwindling across Africa and several of the continent's iconic species face imminent extirpation outside protected areas. The main drivers of this collapse are human-associated habitat loss and direct persecution, largely outside fenced wildlife reserves. Ongoing exploitation of carnivores and rapid human population growth and development in large parts of Africa calls into question the efficacy and longevity of many 'community-led' models being touted as solutions to conserving Africa's carnivore taxa. Decisive intervention is required to reverse the current decline, by way of evidence-based conservation management, enforcement of legislation and environmental education that teaches ethics over economics. The successful protection and connection of free-roaming and fenced large carnivore populations has the potential to create a range of collaborations across communities and borders and represents an opportunity for humanity to show that we are capable of truly valuing nature.



Conservation, Human-wildlife coexistence, Protected areas, Rewilding