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The Game of Conservation

International Treaties to Protect the World's Migratory Animals

Mark Cioc

Publication Year: 2009

The Game of Conservation is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable examination of nature protection around the world.

Twentieth-century nature conservation treaties often originated as attempts to regulate the pace of killing rather than as attempts to protect animal habitat. Some were prompted by major breakthroughs in firearm techniques, such as the invention of the elephant gun and grenade harpoons, but agricultural development was at least as important as hunting regulations in determining the fate of migratory species. The treaties had many defects, yet they also served the goal of conservation to good effect, often saving key species from complete extermination and sometimes keeping the population numbers at viable levels. It is because of these treaties that Africa is dotted with large national parks, that North America has an extensive network of bird refuges, and that there are any whales left in the oceans. All of these treaties are still in effect today, and all continue to influence nature-protection efforts around the globe.

Drawing on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, Mark Cioc shows that a handful of treaties—all designed to protect the world’s most commercially important migratory species—have largely shaped the contours of global nature conservation over the past century. The scope of the book ranges from the African savannahs and the skies of North America to the frigid waters of the Antarctic.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I thank the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, and the National Archives at Kew Gardens, for assisting me in my research. The archival materials that I utilized for this book were often difficult to identify and locate, and I greatly appreciate the extra effort that their staffs made to assist me. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

This is a short book with a straightforward premise. I argue that the major animal-protection treaties of the early twentieth century are best understood as international hunting treaties rather than as conservation treaties. By and large, prominent hunters and ex-hunters (“penitent butchers,” in the words of their critics) were the guiding force behind the treaties, ...

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Chapter 1. Africa’s Apartheid Parks

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pp. 14-57

Hermann von Wissmann was one of Germany’s most renowned african explorers. A travel writer and big-game hunter, Wissmann was best known for having traversed the southern Congo basin on behalf of Leopold II, king of the Belgians, in the early 1880s. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck later asked him to govern German east Africa (which he did intermittently ...

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Chapter 2. The North American Bird War

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pp. 58-103

William T. Hornaday’s widely acclaimed book, Our Vanishing Wild Life: Its Extermination and Preservation (1913), reads like a war chronicle. as he wrote, Europe was poised for conflict over the Balkans, the United States was flexing its muscles in the Caribbean and Asia, and Mexico was in the throes of revolution. Hornaday, however, was neither a general nor a ...

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Chapter 3. The Antarctic Whale Massacre

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pp. 104-147

Norway—the “Land of the Midnight Sun”—is a magnet for people in search of “unspoiled” nature. It possesses a long and jagged coastline with spectacular fjords and a narrow interior with high and rugged peaks. hundreds of bird species soar through its skies, and salmon, cod, and capelin teem along its shores. Sparsely populated for its size (4.5 million people in ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 148-153

“Conservation,” Aldo Leopold once quipped, “is a bird that flies faster than the shot we aim at it.”1 Mobility was once one of the main advantages that animals had over the humans who hunted them for food and profit, and few animals were faster and more elusive than those that undertook long migrations each year. snares, traps, arrows, harpoons, stampedes, muskets, ...

Appendix A. Texts of African Treaties

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pp. 154-176

Appendix B. Texts of Bird Treaties

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pp. 177-184

Appendix C. Texts of Whaling Treaties

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pp. 185-214

Notes

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pp. 215-242

Bibliography

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pp. 243-260

Index

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pp. 261-267


E-ISBN-13: 9780821443606
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821418673

Publication Year: 2009

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Subject Headings

  • Treaties.
  • Animal welfare -- Law and legislation.
  • Migratory animals -- Conservation -- International cooperation.
  • Wildlife conservation (International law).
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