In the supposed prosperity of wildlife, people are disregarded and driven from their lands in the colonial tradition to make way for the tourism business
Every two years, the Stiftung der Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) awards the Bernhard Grzimek Prize worth 50,000 euros for outstanding commitment to biodiversity. So this year too. The famous zoologist, filmmaker and longtime director of the Frankfurt Zoo is often presented as the father of modern nature conservation. For example, KfW, which is one of the main funding bodies for international species protection projects.
Grzimek was a supporter of the old, outdated school of nature conservation, which has its roots in racist ideas – explains Julia Poppe in an interview with mirror. In his film “Serengeti Will Not Die”, but also in his other works, Grzimek drew a picture of pure wilderness as nature without people – explains the political scientist.
The true history of the Serengeti, its settlement and use by indigenous peoples is completely ignored. Many classic wilderness areas, such as the Amazon rainforest, have been inhabited and changed by humans for centuries. They also owe their biodiversity to the indigenous peoples.
Grzimek came to Tanzania in the 1950s as an educated white European who, he says, knew a lot more about how everything worked than the people who had lived there for several generations. As a consequence, hundreds of thousands of people were driven out of their traditional habitat.
The impact of his thinking can be seen, for example, when nature conservation organizations refer to “untouched lands”. In fact, such areas hardly exist anymore. If people can live there, then I ask only in the “traditional framework”. A native killing an animal with a bow and arrow is just romantic, but not when he carries a smartphone.
According to the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), indigenous peoples use the forest as their supermarket. The fact is, however, that most “natives” take pride in using the forest as their basis of life.
During the negotiations of the UN agreement on biodiversity, discussions are underway to convert 30 percent of the Earth’s surface into nature reserves. It is always emphasized that indigenous peoples can, of course, retain their land rights. In fact, however, use by indigenous and local people should be banned in certain areas, criticizes a Survival International employee.
Police brutally crack down on indigenous protests
Even today, the natives of Tanzania are under brutal attack. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Maasai are at risk of displacement in the Loliondo and Ngorongoro protected areas. The company Otterlo Business, based in the United Arab Emirates, regularly organizes hunting for the “royal family”.
On June 8, 2022, dozens of police vehicles with 700 policemen drove through Loliondo in northern Tanzania, near the world-famous Serengeti National Park, to designate the 1,500 square meter Maasai area as a wildlife reserve. Two days later, they shot the Maasai who were demonstrating against the planned evictions for the purpose of trophy hunting and protection.
At least 18 men and 13 women were shot and 13 were injured with machetes. One person was killed. Thousands of Maasai fled their homes from brutal attacks. At least 300 people, including children, are said to have fled from one village.
A dozen or so people were arrested. Police scoured Maasai villages, mistreated and arrested people, especially those they suspected of posting pictures of violence or participating in protests. Nevertheless, there were attacks in films and Photos on Twitter documented.