WHEN I CAUGHT UP (VIRTUALLY) WITH Ivan Carter, he had been [forced] quarantining for several weeks in a friend’s vacation home near a South African Beach. It was apparent that Ivan did not want to be there any longer. “Ready to be out of jail!” was how he expressed it. His major concern was that conservation efforts across Africa were being damaged by the lockdown orders.

Most of my ‘well-thought-out questions’ for Ivan reflected a serious lack of understanding of the African context. Maybe the 1st-world reader is like me. My thought was that rural locals in the 3rd-world would be motivated to conserve their environment if improvements such as medical clinics, good roads and schools for their children were provided by NGOs, hunters, or their own governments. Ivan was gentle, but straightforward, in his mentoring of me over the WhatsApp connection. “Mike, do you know what the word from the Bantu language [the root for most African dialects] is for ‘animal’? It’s the same word as ‘meat’”. Ivan continued, “Hungry stomachs have no ears.” He then asked if I had ever experienced an extended period of hunger. I answered in the negative. “Well”, he pointed out, “none of the rural Africans in unmanaged habitats have ever known extended periods without hunger…”

Please use this LINK to access a free pdf of the entire article, ‘Ivan Carter – Conservation is not Theoretical’.

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