Elephants, Poachers, and Ecotourism (2013-10)

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Feb 10, 2014
Caroline Appleton

This case study is focused on the decision hundreds of Kenyans have made in recent years to take up and use weapons in order to protect wildlife and develop an ecotourism economy. Ian Craig helped found the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) non-profit organization in 2004, and, through NRT, he has helped arm hundreds of wildlife rangers who have the legal right to shoot poachers on site. This right is exercised with the intention of transforming the communities’ economies into the profitable, equitable, and sustainable (environmentally and socially) form ecotourism is promised to bring—if done right. Students analyze the conservation militia’s decisions using normative ethics, environmental ethics, population data for the endangered African elephant, and ecotourism impact resources. This case study can be used in undergraduate environmental studies, conservation biology, environmental ethics, sustainable development, and other related courses. The intention is to introduce normative and environmental ethics, practice argument thinking and writing, and allow students to self direct part of their research. Recommended readings and in class resources are provided. Significant effort was taken to make all resources come from free sources.

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