Capital and Control: Neocolonialism Through the Militarization of African Wildlife Conservation
Biodiversity loss is occurring at catastrophic rates worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, wildlife conservation efforts have centred around creating and managing protected areas. However, contemporary African states and their environmental policies are inseparable from the legacies of their former colonial powers, who sponsored the creation and continued management of protected areas to best serve their interests. By reviewing existing literature and a case study on the colonial history of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this paper examines how African wildlife has been accumulated as capital belonging to the nation-state, legitimizing the use of military force against perceived threats. Through this framing, former colonial powers have funded and sponsored militarized conservation in Africa, effectively retaining control over the narratives and management of the continent’s natural resources in the postcolonial period.
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