HC Deb 02 June 1960 vol 624 cc1625-7
34. Dr. A. Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent community development methods and techniques are used to popularise nature conservation projects in territories under United Kingdom administration.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod)

The Governments of the territories concerned are giving closer attention to the education of Africans in the need to preserve wild life, by organised visits to National Parks, publicity at local shows and through the Press and radio, and by the establishment of local committees to advise on conservation and game management. If there are any other particular methods which the hon. Member has in mind and he will send me details of them, I shall be glad to consider the matter further.

37. Mr. David James

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, having regard to the outstanding economic and cultural value of wild life to the East and Central African territories, what steps he is taking to secure the continual and improved conservation and development of these resources.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am glad of this opportunity to reaffirm Her Majesty's Government's concern for wild life in Africa. Wild life conservation measures are continuously under review in the East and Central African territories and in spite of financial difficulties much has been done in the last ten years to establish and consolidate National Parks and Reserves.

But more use can be made of technical knowledge in developing the wild life reserves, which contribute considerably to local food supplies as well as being of economic value to the tourist industry.

I recognise that the voluntary co-operation of the African populations is essential if conservation is to be lasting and effective, and have been glad to learn that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, in consultation with other international agencies, is exploring the possibility of a conference on conservation being convened in Africa next year.

Mr. James

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him if he is aware that this question is not prompted solely by sentimental considerations, but that any change in the wild life structure is inevitably followed by change in vegetation, and that large areas of Africa at present capable of supporting human life could easily be rendered incapable of so doing?

Mr. Macleod

This is not by any means only an economic question. There are many aspects of it, and all of them point to the importance of this matter. That is why I was glad to have the opportunity of making a statement on it today. and I am glad to know that this meeting, to which I have referred, which is to be held in a week or two, has the idea of a conference in view.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that there will be a general welcome for his announcement on this subject? Can he say what participation the Government are taking in this meeting?

Mr. Macleod

Amongst the people who will be there are Dr. Worthington, who often advises me on these matters, and who has just returned from a visit to Africa. He has prepared a detailed report on his visit, and I will be able to study that and the need for further help in a few weeks' time.

Sir Godfrey Nicholson

While also thanking my right hon. Friend, may I ask him if he is satisfied that it is generally recognised as a modern scientific truth that controlled game slaughter over a large part of Africa provides more protein to the square mile than any form of agriculture? Will he realise that this is not just sentimental and colourful, but has remarkable economic significance?

Mr. Macleod

I agree with that. I was most impressed when a deputation which I met recently on this subject proved the extraordinary contribution from the point of view of protein that this sort of scheme can make.

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