African Superstition Kills African Wildlife

Dan Roodt, American Renaissance, January 11, 2017

The “muthi” trade threatens many species.

Although Africa is a vast continent with many resources, it has only one real tourist attraction: elegant gazelles, predators such as the spotted leopard or the majestic lion, as well as the world’s largest land mammal, the African elephant. There are the pyramids of Egypt and the Voortrekker Monument overlooking Pretoria, but compared to Europe and even North America, Africa has very little to offer in the way of man-made structures for visitors keen on history and culture.

South Africa, especially, is now very dependent on tourism for foreign exchange because its gold production has steadily declined after a century of mining its once-rich deposits. Tourism now constitutes a bigger portion of our GDP than gold mining. So the news that various vulture species that play a major role in the delicate African ecosystem are being poisoned is devastating news.

Vultures find dead animals quickly, and lead other scavengers to them. Without this role, carcasses would rot, giving rise to deadly diseases, including anthrax and African strains of foot-and-mouth disease. This would threaten animal populations—both wild and domestic—and humans.

Unfortunately, vultures also provide “muthi” (medicine) for witchdoctors—though the mainstream media rarely report on this, because it sounds like a “racist” caricature. Vultures are sharp-eyed, able to spot a carcass at 10,000 feet. According to the primitive logic of African “medicine men” (and women)—usually referred to by the Zulu term “sangomas”—vulture parts in charms help Africans spy out the numbers of the South African state lottery. Vultures are “strong medicine,” so the demand for dead ones is high.

Because they are scavengers, vultures are not as revered as eagles or hawks, but they are equally beautiful—and rare. South Africa has only a few thousand of some species, such as the Cape Griffon vulture (Gyps coprotheres), which is the largest raptor in South Africa. It has been classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Because of frequent poisonings, there is even a society devoted to their protection—the Griffon Poison Information Centre—headed by an Afrikaner, Gerhard Verdoorn. In 2013, Mr. Verdoorn was already warning about “a dramatic increase in the number of vultures killed for ‘muthi’.”

Cape Griffon vulture

Cape Griffon vulture

Recently, in the remote Swartberg (literally “Black Mountain” in Afrikaans—a mountain range in the Western Cape province), 48 Cape Griffon vultures and an African white-backed vulture were found poisoned. This came as a great shock to the Cape Griffon’s many fans, who are thrilled just to spot one.

The Lowveld area near the world-famous Kruger National Park depends economically on wildlife tourism. Some white gamekeepers are risking their jobs by speaking out against the frequent poisoning, not only of vultures, but also of the other animals used to bait them.

The African lion is also sought after for magic charms, especially the skin, teeth and head. Last May, two rare white lions were killed on a farm in South Africa’s Limpopo province, with the feet and heads hacked off for “muthi.” Ironically, there is also a left-wing campaign to stop the captive breeding of lions because they are often destined for trophy hunting. However, the abolition of captive breeding would hasten the demise of the lions in the wild. In some African countries they are already below the survival threshold, and captive lions from South Africa can be used to replenish their gene pools.

A captive white lion with Kevin Richardson, a South African known as the "Lion Whisperer."

A captive white lion with Kevin Richardson, a South African known as the “Lion Whisperer.”

Zimbabwe still has about 100,000 elephants in its national parks, but there are reports of widespread poisoning. The Guardian wrote:

In 2013, as many as 300 elephants died in Hwange park after poachers laced salt pans with cyanide. Many vultures died after feeding on the poisoned elephant carcasses and it is feared that will happen again. Cyanide is widely used in Zimbabwe’s mining industry and is relatively easy to obtain.

The wildlife crisis can be seen as another consequence of black rule. Lax controls, superstition, corruption, and arbitrary rules have imposed a huge burden on whites, but now other species are suffering as well. The demand for “muthi” is soaring because affirmative action and government employment have led to a dramatic rise in black purchasing power. As in Haiti—where voodoo is widely practiced—belief in magic and sorcery is so pervasive in sub-Saharan Africa that it may properly be considered part of the black psyche.

elephants

As for our own species, under the ANC government, the human murder rate has gone through the roof, with the figure for 2015 reported as 33 murders per 100 000, putting the country in the top 10 most murderous nations. By comparison, the US rate is 5 per 100,000 and the rate for Chicago is 18.6.

It is difficult to see how anything can be done to stop the gradual extermination of Africa’s fauna. There is little hope for changing the black attitudes towards “muthi.” No amount of liberal preaching will teach Africans to admire the beauty of the Cape Griffon rather than see it as a short-cut to a winning lottery number.

What could have an effect would be to change the current liberal system that feeds demand by lining African pockets. Dictators and corrupt administrators are subsidized with Western aid and treated like royalty in Western capitals. President-Elect Trump’s promise to cut USAID to Africa would be a welcome first start in curbing the illegal trade in animal parts.

Liberals care nothing about South Africa’s farm murders, in which whites are targeted for torture and murder. Perhaps they still have some sympathy left for African wildlife.

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Dan Roodt
Dr. Roodt studied at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Paris. He founded the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group (PRAAG) in 2000. He blogs regularly at www.praag.org.
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