December 27, 2010

TED talks: Namibia's conservancies

I was thrilled to find that a representative of World Wildlife Fund and the IRDNC (rural development) in Namibia was a featured speaker at this year's TED talks. These 18-minute presentations are a collection of cutting-edge thinkers on a broad range of topics.

I did not meet the speaker, John, while we were in Namibia last year. But, I conducted research on two of the conservancies that he speaks about. Our initial results suggest that when people become involved in ecotourism---benefiting economically from wildlife---the value of wildlife increases to individual people. I can't wait for our research to be published, to further support the claims made in this talk. Of course, the results speak for themselves...some great evidence toward the end of the talk, regarding the staggering increase in wildlife numbers where poachers once decimated populations.

I also enjoyed his suggestion that rural communities in the Great Plains can learn from Namibia. Exactly what I argued in my proposal for my Fulbright fellowship. It's good to see things coming full circle, and I hope our research group in Nebraska can be involved.

Take a look at the talk. It's entertaining and quite eye-opening.

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