Book ID 662
Monbiot, George Planet of the Fakes, 2002
Extract Author: George Monbiot
Extract Date: 1950's
Published in the Guardian 17th December 2002
But these reserves were tiny by comparison to the wildernesses the British colonists made in East Africa. At first the land they seized was set aside for hunting, but as the game ran out, they began to preserve it for the camera rather than the gun. After the Second World War, Bernhard Grzimek, "the father of conservation" in East Africa, announced that he would turn the Serengeti in northern Tanzania into a vast national park. This land, which is possibly the longest-inhabited place on earth, was, he declared, a "primordial wilderness". Though there was no evidence that local people threatened the wildlife, Grzimek decided that "no men, not even native ones, should live inside its borders." His approach was gleefully embraced by the British. Thousands of square miles of savannah in Kenya and Tanzania were annexed, and its inhabitants expelled. Only the whites could afford the entrance fees to the reserves, so only they were permitted to enter the new, primordial wilderness.
This project was, from the beginning, assisted by wildlife films. Grzimek's documentary, Serengeti Shall Not Die, generated massive enthiusiasm for his ethnic cleansing programme.