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Hunting, Agriculture, and the Quest for International Wildlife Conservation



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Page 1 Hunting Agriculture and the Quest for International Wildlife Conservation during the Early Twentieth Century Mark Cioc History Department University of California Santa Cruz This paper is part of a book in progress tentatively entitled The Game of Conservation International Agreements to Protect the World s Migratory Animals My basic argument is that the major wildlife protection treaties of the early twentieth century are best understood as international hunting treaties rather than as conservation treaties By and large prominent hunters and ex hunters penitent butchers in the words of their critics were the guiding force behind the treaties and they were often far more concerned with the protection of specific hunting grounds and prized prey than with the safeguarding of habitats ecosystems or bioregions Over time wildlife managers and conservationists tried to tweak these treaties into full fledged nature protection agreements They discovered however that textual limitations embedded in the treaties thwarted their efforts and after 1950 they began to push for new approaches based on the precepts of biodiversity bioregionalism and interconnectivity The strengths and weaknesses of these early treaties and the impact they had on subsequent conservation agreements form the main subject matter of the book 1 I will not try to summarize the book here Instead I will focus on just two key diplomatic initiatives that led to four treaties the Convention for the Preservation of Wild Animals Birds and Fish in Africa 1900 and the Convention Relative to the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in their Natural State 1933 the two treaties that gave rise to Africa s national parks and nature reserves and the Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1931 and the International Page 2 Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946 the two treaties that attempted unsuccessfully to create a sustainable regime for commercial whaling I chose these treaties because they typify the



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