White farmers in Zimbabwe faced with the possible loss of their farms aren’t the only ones who’ll be sorry if President Mugabe’s land redistribution plan goes ahead, reports the ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE. Wildlife found on some of that privately held land, including the black rhino, African wild dog, and cheetah, may also suffer; that’s because the first moves by settlers taking over those lands are likely to be turning wilderness into croplands, cutting down trees, and hunting.
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A South African conservationist who’s drawing attention to the problem is quick to point out that the deeply impoverished blacks likely to move onto the land can hardly be blamed for taking steps to improve their lives — but their gain may be the wild animals’ loss.