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How community-led conservation can save wildlife

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    I'm a lion conservationist.
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    Sounds cool, doesn't it?
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    Some people may have no idea
    what that means.
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    But I'm sure you've all heard
    about Cecil the lion.
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    [Cecil the Lion (2002-2015)]
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    (Lion roaring)
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    He roars no more.
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    On the second of July, 2015,
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    his life was cut short
    when he was killed by a trophy hunter.
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    They say that you can become attached
    to the animals you study.
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    That was the case for me
    with Cecil the lion,
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    having known him and studied him
    for three years
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    in Hwange National Park.
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    I was heartbroken at his death.
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    But the good thing
    to come out of this tragedy
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    is the attention that the story brought
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    towards the plight
    of threatened wild animals.
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    After Cecil's death,
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    I began to ask myself these questions:
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    What if the community
    that lived next to Cecil the lion
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    was involved in protecting him?
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    What if I had met Cecil
    when I was 10 years old, instead of 29?
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    Could I or my classmates
    have changed his fate?
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    Many people are working
    to stop lions from disappearing,
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    but very few of these people
    are native to these countries
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    or from the communities most affected.
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    But the communities
    that live with the lions
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    are the ones best positioned
    to help lions the most.
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    Local people should be at the forefront
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    of the solutions to the challenges
    facing their wildlife.
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    Sometimes, change can only come
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    when the people most affected
    and impacted take charge.
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    Local communities play an important role
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    in fighting poaching
    and illegal wildlife trade,
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    which are major threats
    affecting lions and other wildlife.
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    Being a black African woman
    in the sciences,
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    the people I meet
    are always curious to know
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    if I've always wanted
    to be a conservationist,
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    because they don't meet
    a lot of conservationists
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    who look like me.
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    When I was growing up,
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    I didn't even know that wildlife
    conservation was a career.
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    The first time I saw a wild animal
    in my home country
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    was when I was 25 years old,
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    even though lions and African wild dogs
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    lived just a few miles away from my home.
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    This is quite common in Zimbabwe,
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    as many people
    are not exposed to wildlife,
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    even though it's part of our heritage.
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    When I was growing up,
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    I didn't even know
    that lions lived in my backyard.
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    When I stepped into
    Savé Valley Conservancy
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    on a cold winter morning 10 years ago
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    to study African wild dogs
    for my master's research project,
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    I was mesmerized by the beauty
    and the tranquility that surrounded me.
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    I felt like I had found my passion
    and my purpose in life.
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    I made a commitment that day
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    that I was going to dedicate my life
    to protecting animals.
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    I think of my childhood
    school days in Zimbabwe
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    and the other kids I was in school with.
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    Perhaps if we had a chance
    to interact with wildlife,
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    more of my classmates
    would be working alongside me now.
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    Unless the local communities
    want to protect and coexist with wildlife,
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    all conservation efforts might be in vain.
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    These are the communities
    that live with the wild animals
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    in the same ecosystem
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    and bear the cost of doing so.
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    If they don't have a direct connection
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    or benefit from the animals,
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    they have no reason
    to want to protect them.
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    And if local communities
    don't protect their wildlife,
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    no amount of outside
    intervention will work.
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    So what needs to be done?
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    Conservationists must prioritize
    environmental education
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    and help expand the community's skills
    to conserve their wildlife.
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    Schoolchildren and communities
    must be taken to national parks,
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    so they get a chance
    to connect with the wildlife.
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    At every effort and every level,
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    conservation must include
    the economies of the people
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    who share the land with the wild animals.
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    It is also critical
    that local conservationists
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    be part of every conservation effort,
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    if we are to build trust and really embed
    conservation into communities.
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    As local conservationists,
    we face many hurdles,
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    from outright discrimination
    to barriers because of cultural norms.
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    But I will not give up my efforts
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    to bring indigenous
    communities to this fight
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    for the survival of our planet.
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    I'm asking you to come
    and stand together with me.
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    We must actively dismantle
    the hurdles we have created,
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    which are leaving indigenous populations
    out of conservation efforts.
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    I've dedicated my life
    to protecting lions.
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    And I know my neighbor would, too,
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    if only they knew the animals
    that lived next door to them.
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    Thank you.
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    (Applause)
Títol:
How community-led conservation can save wildlife
Speaker:
Moreangels Mbizah
Descripció:

Conservationist and TED Fellow Moreangels Mbizah studied the famous Cecil the lion until he was shot by a trophy hunter in 2015. She wonders how things could've gone differently, asking: "What if the community that lived next to Cecil was involved in protecting him?" In a quick talk, Mbizah shares the state of conservation in her home of Zimbabwe -- and why she thinks that communities living with wildlife are the ones best positioned to help them.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Projecte:
TEDTalks
Duration:
05:16
  • Hi,

    I think there might be a problem with the following lines of the original transcript:

    0:20 - 0:22
    He rose no more
    0:22 - 0:25
    on the second of July, 2015.
    0:25 - 0:28
    His life was cut short
    when he was killed by a trophy hunter.

    At 0:20, I believe she said, "He roars no more."
    And "on the second of July, 2015" sounds like the introductory adverb phrase to the next line. So the subtitles should probably read:

    0:20 - 0:22
    He roars no more.
    0:22 - 0:25
    On the second of July, 2015,
    0:25 - 0:28
    his life was cut short
    when he was killed by a trophy hunter.

    Cheers,
    Amanda

  • Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for your observation. You are quite right! This error has been corrected, but we forgot to mention it in the comments, which I'll do right now.

    Best,
    Camille

  • Hi,

    The English transcript was updated on 10/4/19. Please note the following updated subtitles:

    0:20 He roars no more.

    0:22 On the second of July, 2015,

    0:25 his life was cut short
    when he was killed by a trophy hunter.

    Thank you!

English subtitles

Revisions Compare revisions