6 - Conclusion: Exploring the Political Economy of African Wildlife Policy  pp. 153-164

Conclusion: Exploring the Political Economy of African Wildlife Policy

By Clark C. Gibson

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When I shot game to feed myself and my Zande servants, who had at last arrived, they [the Nuer] took the animals and ate them in the bush, answering my remonstrances with the rejoinder that since the beasts had been killed on their land they had a right to them.

E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer, 1940

Evans-Pritchard's experiences with wildlife in the Sudan encapsulate many of this book's central issues: wildlife's value, the different actors who seek its benefits, their contestation over access to wildlife, and the particular strategies they choose to advantage themselves. Evans-Pritchard lost control over the wildlife he killed - he had few institutions to back his claims while in the field and, as an anthropologist, chose not to use force of arms. In contrast, the history of wildlife policy in Zambia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe includes both institutions and force. This study has explored how and why individuals and groups competed to shape the content, continuity, and change of wildlife policy in Zambia from 1964 to 1991. It has compared the detailed analysis of Zambia with more preliminary investigations of events in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Throughout, the investigation of policy is grounded in the study of political institutions.


Four empirical questions have framed this examination of wildlife policy.