Jean-Jacques Cornish

Expert says war talk is hurting the fight against poaching

Animal rights activists gathered at the world’s largest wildlife conservation conference now underway in Sandton have been warned by a Kruger National Park expert to temper their language.

Large mammal ecologist at the park Sam Ferreira says using war talk is counter-productive in the fight to stop poachers threatening the existence of elephants and other species.

It’s quite wrong to talk about declaring a war on poaching, Kruger National Park’s large mammal ecologist Sam Ferreira tells a side event at the conference of the parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.

Only the president can declare war.

Bellicose language, he says,  is hurting efforts to engage local communities in the fight to save the elephant and other species.

“Be careful what you say. War talk is making things difficult for us, no matter how strongly you feel,” he says.

Ferreira says war talk drives the debate into a them and us situation with struggling local communities pitted against financially more comfortable conservationists.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.