WWF Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People
March 4, 2019 12:16 PM   Subscribe

posted by lazaruslong at 12:38 PM on March 4, 2019

posted by supermedusa at 12:40 PM on March 4, 2019 [8 favorites]

This is horrible, but I can't say I'm surprised. The ends justify the means, etc.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:42 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I know Vince McMahon is a jerk, but this is a whole new level...

Oh wait...
posted by The Power Nap at 12:46 PM on March 4, 2019 [14 favorites]

I know Vince McMahon is a jerk

This article is the most unexpected WWF heel-turn of all time.
posted by GuyZero at 12:48 PM on March 4, 2019 [44 favorites]

BuzzFeed is kicking ass these days. Great reporting; nightmarish reality. Thanks for posting, OP!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:49 PM on March 4, 2019 [10 favorites]

Aw geez. You've got heavily armed poachers with no problem killing endangered species or the park rangers that protect them. You've got the rangers looking to fight fire with fire, well funded by NPOs like WWF, and buoyed by the confidence that they're the 'good guys.' And then you've got the poor local people, who are just looking to get by and improve their lot, caught in the middle and bearing the brunt of the suffering.

What a clusterfuck.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:00 PM on March 4, 2019 [23 favorites]

Count me among those who STILL cannot get their mind around WWF/WWE.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:08 PM on March 4, 2019 [13 favorites]

As someone with a truly personal, vested interest in wildlife conservation and also in people living their lives in places with wildlife in peace, with training in both ecology and social science, I can tell you with absolute conviction and relative authority that things like these WWF actions are the worst possible thing that we can be doing to preserve wildlife over the longterm. Nothing like violently alienating people from their land and connections to the environment to convince them that crazy westerners care more about a tiger or a monkey or an elephant than about Nepalese children or Cameroonian families, and to further undercut the actual importance of functional ecosystems and a biodiverse world.

I know two rangers who were killed by poachers.

I have a friend who is still traumatized after she and the rangers she was working with were attacked by poachers while they were out conducting work on chimpanzees in Uganda.

I don't know what the right way to protect wildlife is, but I know that turning places with wildlife into impenetrable fortresses that are guarded and besieged by heavily armed paramilitary ... is not the way.

Nominally protected areas around where I work in Cote d'Ivoire have had their primate communities largely extirpated as a result of expanding cocoa farming in these areas and really lax enforcement of protected status for these forests.

So international conservation organizations and local researchers increased pressure on Eaux et Forets to actively protect these forests.

Which resulted in human rights abuses as people were forcibly and violently removed from the forests.

But it's all irrelevant now because Cote d'Ivoire is ceding ownership and management of degraded Forets Classes to international cocoa conglomerates.

The market's not going to do it for us, either. I really think the only way forward is to focus the money and attention on investigating and stopping the international trade in wildlife parts by focusing on the actual ringleaders and people with power and money. And then humbly and respectfully and collaboratively give local populations self-determination and well-funded scientific research and believe what people know about their environments and get the global north to cut their carbon emissions and make education accessible and free and stop treating every conflict like a war zone.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:09 PM on March 4, 2019 [130 favorites]

ChuraChura, flagged as fantastic. As much as we always want the answers to be easy, there are never easy answers when it comes to human behavior.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2019 [8 favorites]

I've heard murmurs about this for years, having worked in conservation, but I honestly always thought the murmurs were exaggerated. Turns out it was actually worse than the rumors.

I'm glad that the Buzzfeed piece placed this within a long and unfortunate history of conservation efforts expelling indigenous people from their lands, going back to Yosemite. To me, this seems like the crux of the problem: approaching conservation from an imperialist mindset, where these lands and animals are just another resource to be protected/managed, and the well-being of indigenous communities is an afterthought at best.
posted by lunasol at 3:48 PM on March 4, 2019 [14 favorites]

In case you thought there was anything that wasn't terrible.
posted by bongo_x at 3:54 PM on March 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

This is shocking and unexpected, but also it immediately makes sense that an international NGO which has to work in so many volatile areas would fall into this trap, or rather these many traps. It's very upsetting that it's so consistent, rather than just a mistake or two.

also, I have to admit that I assumed this was actually about the WWE (because I grew up in the 80s and 90s and still immediately read WWF = wrestling) and also because of slightly similar issues of strange bedfellows.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:40 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm kinda confused here because the text of the story says WWF stands for "World Wide Fund for Nature," but I've always known the organization as "World Wildlife Fund," which is the name currently stated on their website. (The story does use that name in a photo caption, but nowhere else.)

I can't imagine Buzzfeed would goof that badly; is this a thing where the group operates under different names in different countries, or maybe has a different corporate name? I've skimmed and searched the story a couple of times and don't see this addressed.

A friend of mine used to work for them, on climate change policy. I may run this past them.
posted by martin q blank at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm kinda confused here because the text of the story says WWF stands for "World Wide Fund for Nature," but I've always known the organization as "World Wildlife Fund," which is the name currently stated on their website. (The story does use that name in a photo caption, but nowhere else.)

I wondered about that too. This is what wikipedia says:
It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States.
posted by lunasol at 7:08 PM on March 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Huh, I guess this explains the heavily promoted links to stories about the heroic and heavily armed defenders of the last white rhinos that have been dominating my FB feed lately

no, really, I was a little wierded out by it
posted by mwhybark at 7:41 PM on March 4, 2019

Echoing that this has ever been rumored among professional conservation circles, ethically frought eough that some orgs started to tack away from the "armed guards" model and toward "hire local people to be biologists and run ecotourism" model in the name of refusing to participate in a flavor of colonialism.

Last time I checked, the debate was out on which is more 'effective' when it comes to endangered species.
posted by eustatic at 8:07 PM on March 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by fistynuts at 12:10 AM on March 5, 2019

Unbelievable - can’t wait to see how they try and cover this mess up. I’m sitting here watching Wild Kratts with my youngest, and half expecting for Chris and Martin Kratt to turn the Tortuga into a gunship.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:51 PM on March 6, 2019

Oh man, that is so damning.
posted by smoke at 2:22 AM on March 7, 2019

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