Survival International has learned that an elephant-hunting safari operation jointly owned by a French billionaire has been implicated in human rights abuses against local Baka “Pygmies” and their neighbors, including illegal evictions and torture.The operation is based in two “protected areas” in Cameroon, leased by Benjamin de Rothschild. It offers tourists the chance to pay €55,000 to shoot a forest elephant. Baka were evicted from their ancestral land to create the trophy hunting operation, contrary to international law. It is patrolled by soldiers, police and armed guards, and Baka have now been told they will be shot on sight if they cross it to hunt to feed their families, gather plants, or visit religious sites.The Baka report that three of their forest camps have been burnt by wildlife guards and safari camp employees in the last year alone. Baka men hunting for food in this forest have been beaten by local police, soldiers and wildlife guards.
It's perplexing to find examples of civilized people demonstrating less understanding of moral law than primitive people living in the jungle the same way our ancestors did millennia ago. It's as if moral progress has not kept pace with material progress and has in some regards remained stagnant or even declined. We live in societies ruled by absolute sociopaths and material progress has only broadened the distance between the ruling class and the ruled. The law of the jungle is more prevalent in our own civilized world than it is among primitive societies such as the Pygmy tribes in West Africa. At least within these primitive societies the Chief or whatever they call their leader, bears the same burdens they do, and has very little power to exploit other tribesmen.