The Impact of Hunting on Rebellion in the Forest

When the colonial government proposed to reserve two thirds of the forest in 1905 and stop changing the cultivation, hunting and harvesting of forest products, it sparked a rebellion. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congolese military was hunting rebels deep in forests and mountains along the border with Rwanda and Uganda. These were the last hiding places for the M23 rebels after they were driven out of cities they maintained during a 20-month rebellion. Talks resumed in Kampala between the government and the M23 rebels, but the UN was unable to reach a political agreement.

The M23 officials said they withdrew from cities under diplomatic pressure. Bertrand Bissimwa, political leader of M23, told French radio RFI that military losses would not alter their demands in the talks. Clashes were reported in the hills above Bunagana, the last rebel-controlled city to fall this week, and around Runyoni, a hill that was the birthplace of the rebellion last year. At its peak last November, the M23 occupied the region's capital, Goma, after the army fled and the rebels marched in front of them.

This defeat led to the UN strengthening its strength and mandate, a review of the command of the Congolese army and pressure on rebel support. The deep roots of this conflict range from the presence of Rwandan Hutu rebels, ethnic tensions and latent conflicts over land and minerals. Experts and human rights groups have repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting M23, which has been linked to Rwanda's political and military elite. Rwanda denies these accusations.

Residents took to the streets of Bunagana to welcome the Congolese army when it advanced. Diplomats say political agreement along with military achievements is needed to ensure that rebels do not reverse progress. Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Ugandan army and mediation team, said progress was being made in talks between both sides. Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, warned on Wednesday that he could expand investigations into crimes in Congo and called for all those responsible to be prosecuted.

Peacekeepers have confirmed that they are investigating reports of mass graves in areas vacated by rebels. Hunting has been a major factor in this conflict as it led to a hunter revolt when colonial government proposed to reserve two thirds of forest and stop changing cultivation, hunting and harvesting of forest products. Scott Walker campaigned with commitment to fix deer management and appointed a deer trustee to evaluate his state's DNR. White-tailed deer have a direct effect on habitat integrity in eastern United States as there are too many hunters who kill everything that breathes.

Organizing hunting seasons helped reduce deer populations but it will be difficult to convince hunters that fewer game animals are desired as they appeal to their respective legislatures to overturn regulations they consider harsh. As long as hunters and wildlife watchers continue to demand more deer every time they go out into forest, it will be difficult to achieve balance.

Dorothy Magni
Dorothy Magni

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