An Arid Eden: One Man's Mission in the Kaokoveld

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-24
  • Publisher: Intl Pub Marketing
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Garth Owen-Smith has spent almost his entire working life fighting ' not against a conventional enemy but against official ignorance, harsh climatic conditions, poachers and other enemies of Africa's fast-diminishing wildlife. In the process he has lived and worked in a number of countries but his chosen battlefield has always been the most challenging place of all: the harsh, beautiful and almost unknown Kaokoveld in north-western Namibia, his 'Arid Eden'. He chose sides early on, when he spent two youthful years in the Kaokoveld and not only developed a deep affinity with the indigenous Himba, Herero and Damara pastoralists but realized that they had developed the ideal form of nature conservation, a situation in which humans and their livestock could live in equilibrium with wild game, so that there was room for all. In 1970 he was thrown out of the Kaokoveld as an alleged security risk, then spent a year looking into conservation and the treatment of indigenous peoples in Australia, farmed for two years in Rhodesia, and did pioneering work in conservation education for black youths in South Africa. He finally managed to get back to South West Africa in 1978, and from there embarked on his life's work, to save the remnants of the Kaokoveld's rich wildlife, devastated by a variety of illegal hunters. And he succeeded, although it took him and his partner, Dr Margaret Jacobsohn, 27 years. They have won some of the world's major conservation awards, north-western Namibia is a popular tourism destination and the Kaokoveld's wildlife has come back from the brink of virtual extinction, and thousands of people have benefited from the links they have forged between community development and natural resource management.

Author Biography

Garth Owen-Smith first visited the Kaokoveld in 1967. It was a life-changing experience. His unconventional ideas challenged both the conservation establishment and the former South African regime. Despite this, community-based conservation was pioneered in the Kaokoveld and today Namibia is a world leader in this field. But the early years - when the foundation for this ground-breaking approach to conservation was laid - are largely forgotten and untold. An Arid Eden: A Personal Account of Conservation in the Kaokoveld brings those years alive through the eyes of Owen-Smith, spanning four-and-a-half decades of extraordinary dedication, passion and achievement. The author and his partner Dr Margaret Jacobsohn have won some of the world's most prestigious conservation awards for their work in Namibia, which has always challenged conventional wisdom. The NGO they founded continues to break conservation, agricultural and rural development paradigms.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Abbreviations and Acronymsp. xii
Basalt Mountainsp. 1
Dust and Stonesp. 6
An Arid Edenp. 13
The White ManÆs Gamep. 25
Working for BADp. 45
The Clash of Culturesp. 67
A Wild Lifep. 92
A New Decadep. 121
The Kaokoveld Controversyp. 145
Looking for Answersp. 164
A Stitch in Timep. 191
When it is Late Afternoonp. 210
A Rhodesian Ranchp. 238
Zimbabwe Risingp. 264
South-west of South Westp. 288
Etosha: The Burning Questionp. 313
The End of the Worldp. 339
'Desert Elephants'p. 367
Rhinos on the Brinkp. 389
Involving the Local Peoplep. 407
Conservation and Politicsp. 427
A Degraded Ecosystemp. 455
The Purros Project and More Poachingp. 483
Independencep. 511
Communal Conservanciesp. 540
Looking Back and Forwardp. 569
Bibliographyp. 599
Indexp. 602
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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