Report: WWF hires paramilitary torturers and murderers in developing world

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/04/wwf-hires-torturers-and-murder.html

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Wow that’s horrible. Hopefully there is some middle ground between that and letting poachers kill off every dang rhino left in the wild like they seem to be on path to do.

(Also Am I the only one who thought the wrestling organization when reading the headline.)

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WTF WWF? This is the sort of shit that gives NGOs a bad name.

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As befits a paramilitary conservation group and a wrestling entertainment group, there was a massive dust-up over it.

The conservation group started in 1961 and certainly until the late 80s was far more well known outside the US than the wrestling group.

When US wrestling started getting really popular in Europe there was a bit of a spat and they came to an agreement which allowed the wrestling group to use the initials for fairly limited commercial purposes.

Surprise, surprise, they didn’t stick to it. Boo! Hiss!, nasty heel!

There was a bunch of litigation with the last being in 2007. After that things petered out and I presume (given that decisions were mostly going the conservation group’s way) that they hashed out a settlement involving a fairly hefty sum of money going to the conservation group.

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World Wildlife Fascists. But can a “Buzzfeed investigation” be trusted?

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Probably not. But it is also true that the fight against poaching has in some areas gotten to the level of basically military action against heavily armed groups that are operating on the behalf of terrorist organizations. Does that raise the possibility that some of the actors on the ground have gotten out of control? It does.

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It would be nice if someone could successfully target the rich monsters who make the real money, but I don’t suppose that’s “realistic”.

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Watch this Buzzfeed article somehow get three times as many views more than the WWF article today

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“concrete steps to prevent poaching cannot and should not be considered at any moment as a gross violations of human rights.”

How did we end up living through so many competing dystopian novels at the same time.
Also, when did buzzfeed news become a publication willing to fund deep dive investigative journalism?

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Poaching tends to be a big problem in places where humans are driven to desperation by war and extreme poverty. It’s harder to muster the energy to worry about the plight of the rhino when your children are starving. Any comprehensive plan to protect biodiversity has to include some incentive for the locals to join in the effort.

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If it was the other WWF, the violence would be less worrying as it would be scripted.

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Yes, and if you just came from a war and the thing that is supposed to stop you from killing that rhino is some glorified cops giving you the proverbial slap on the wrist, well that may just not be enough. And that’s not even considering the obvious escalation of violence that would follow all this, poachers knowing about rifle carrying protectors will no doubt bring more people, with more rifles, to protect themselves.

I obviously don’t agree with the things that happened but I also don’t envy the people working on location for the WWF, no doubt they felt they had no choice but to take harsh measures in order to save those last rhinos.

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There was a scene in Dave Eggers’ What is the What (which relates the story of real-life Sudanese refugee Achak Deng) in which the main character and the starving band of mostly young boys he’s traveling with come across an elephant. An older escort promptly kills said elephant with an assault rifle, which brings cheers from the rest of the group because none of them has had a proper meal for weeks or more.

The boys are so hungry that they begin tearing at the edges of the bullet wounds with their hands and stuffing raw flesh into their mouths before anyone even has time to get a fire going. Meanwhile the main character’s best remaining friend is so overcome with hunger and exhaustion that he dies by the time Achak can bring him back a portion of the food.

I very much respect nature and want to save the elephants but in a moment like that trying to get the people involved to spare the elephant’s life would have seemed like insanity. If you want to stop people from killing endangered animals you have to do everything possible to keep them out of desperate situations where poaching seems like a reasonable survival tactic.

And of course crack down as hard as possible on the people creating markets for things like rhino horns, because fuck them all to hell.

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Zoo animals and pets get eaten during sieges and other hard times. Example:

Paris: December 5, 1870 - “Almost all the animals in the Jardin d’Acclimatation have been eaten. They average about seven francs per pound. Kangaroo, however, has been sold for twelve francs per pound.”

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About the same time as when Teen Vogue did, and people like Corey Feldman and Courtney Love started being the temporary ‘voice of reason.’

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Driven to poaching by desperation?
Hardly. I don’t believe that for a second.
They have dollar signs in their eyes. They are driven by pure greed.

We faced this with shark fin poaching in the Galapagos and found that the only thing that worked was a complete asset forfeiture. If you were found to be dealing in shark fins then the navy actually took all your shit including home and kicked you off the island. They even sold your assets to pay for your flight out. This tactic finally curved the trade. The Navy also started confiscating the Japanese ships that Seashepperd spotted.

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Poachers are literally driving some species to extinction.
While SOME poachers may be “driven to it” by dire circumstances, I for one don’t believe for a second that those poachers account for more than a tiny fraction of all poachers.
Meanwhile, Kenya has instituted the death penalty for poachers. I support that.
The MARKET for poached goods also has to be seriously and severely nipped off.
Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.

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Huh, who’d a thought South Africa was where you didn’t want to be a White. Rhino.

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It’s my understanding that the whole lawsuit and losing the WWF (the sports entertainment company) name to WWF (the NGO) was all completely avoidable if it wasn’t due to some dumb decisions made by Vince McMahon in the early 1990s (when they were also embroiled in the steroid controversies and were about to start getting their asses handed to them by WCW for the next few years).

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