GEOG 430
Human Use of the Environment

"Milking the Rhino" (2009)


The massive changes in wildlife populations and forests during the past century have spawned countless efforts at conservation and restoration, and "Milking the Rhino" explores the challenges faced by such efforts in two different regions in Africa.

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Registered students can click on the image above or the link below to watch the film.

One of the significant transitions in wildlife conservation in recent decades has been a shift from "fortress conservation," which excludes local communities, to methods called "community-based conservation" or "integrated conservation and development projects," which try to include local residents in the design and implementation of wildlife protection.

As the film reveals, while these new integrated projects try to avoid the social and economic problems caused by earlier conservation efforts, they don't always find success.

This film provides a huge range of food-for-thought, and a few questions you might consider include:

  • After listening to James Ole Kinyaga's advocacy for preserving wildlife for tourism because they survive better than cattle, one of the village men asks, "What if we get a drought in tourism?" Does ecotourism make the Maasai culture more or less resilient? Why?
  • Would you feel ethical visiting an African eco-tourist lodge?
  • How are the expectations that European and American tourists carry with them to Africa problematic? How would a change in expectations improve relationships between local people and tourists?
  • What do you think should be done to rectify the history of displacing communities from today's national parks in Africa, if anything?
  • What example of "command and control" or "fortress" conservation do we have in the United States? Is our national park system significantly different from the African parks described in the film?
  • Is it contradictory to encourage hunting in order to conserve wildlife in Africa?
  • What are the benefits of Namibia's community conservancies, and which problems with human-wildlife conflict do they not solve?