Mark and Delia Owens: Part of an Anti-Poaching Trend?

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Over at a blog called Foole's No Man's Land, Louisa Lombard has some interesting commentary on my piece on Mark and Delia Owens, the controversial American conservationists. She doesn't know too much about the practice of journalism, but she knows a lot about militarized anti-poaching operations like the one Mark Owens supervised in Zambia. She reports that in the Central African Republic,

militarized anti-poaching is done by a parastatal "project" funded by the European Union. (The project will end in July, at which point it will be replaced; its successor aims to critically examine the management of space in CAR, which hopefully will diminish the death toll of poachers, anti-poaching guards, cattle, elephants, and other animals.) In the past twenty years, this work has been done by French soldiers ("securing the borders"); an American conservationist (his efforts never really got off the ground, though, because the South African mercenary in his employ got into diamonds and attempted murder and other scandals); Russian former French Foreign Legionnaires funded by safari hunters...I could continue.

And she writes:

It is important not to oversell the successes of militarized anti-poaching. National Geographic published a graphic photo-studded story three years ago about Zakouma National Park in Chad (just across the border from CAR), which has been hard-hit by poachers. The author, Mike Fay, struck a cautiously congratulatory tone in his description of the anti-poaching guards' (also EU-funded) work. Nevertheless, in the past four years Zakouma's elephant population has dwindled from 4,000 to 400. Unless something is done about demand, no conservation efforts will succeed.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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