From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1992:

The Myth of Wild Africa:
Conservation Without Illusion,
by Jonathan Adams and Thomas
McShane. W.W. Norton & Co., 1992.
266 pages; hardback; $21.95.
Adams and McShane, both offi-
cials of the World Wildlife Fund, advance
the WWF view that only hunting and
“culling” marketable species can provide
impoverished African nations with suffi-
cient economic incentive to insure that the
animals will otherwise be protected. The
case of the African elephant demonstrates,
however, that the presence of a legal market
for wildlife parts in one nation only stimu-
lates poaching in others where there is no

“marketable surplus.” Further, only a small
percentage of endangered animals are in
any kind of market demand. Those who
don’t happen to share habitat with the mar-
ketable species would be doomed if conser-
vation were permitted to become strictly a
matter of utilitarian principle. Yes, give
Africans and others the economic incentive
to protect wildlife–but do it by providing
funding and equipment for well-trained,
well-paid, thoroughly professional native
ranger corps, who understand that their job
goes a long way beyond just playing cow-
boy to endangered livestock.
Bat Bomb: World War II’s
Other Secret Weapon, by Jack
Couffer. University of Texas Press, 1992.
288 pages; hardback; $24.95.
Among the more bizarre human
efforts to enlist animal aid in wartime was
Project X-Ray, the U.S. attempt from
January 1942 until two years later to devel-
op bat-carried incendiary bombs that could
devastate Japan without extensive use of
aircraft. (A single plane could drop 10,000
to 20,000 bats, enough to level a major
city.) Although test bombings in New
Mexico were spectacularly successful, the
plan was scrapped on the eve of the B-29
raids that incincerated most of Japan’s pop-
ulation centers, killing millions of civilians
(mostly women and children) well before
the atomic bombs were dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
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