Africa and Asia A nocturnal museum visit

They fight poaching: 17 activists from Africa and Asia roam the natural history museum after hours. A slideshow of their impressions.

  • Gorilla in focus – a popular photographic motif in the group © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    Gorilla in focus – a popular photographic motif in the group
    “Today, such museums are the last bastion for our natural resources. As long as they remain true to their mandate to carry out research and educate, they are important and right.“
    Mathias Zielch, Researcher at the Natural History Museum, Berlin
  • Paula Gathoni Kahumbu in front of the “Biodiversitätswand“ © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    “Without museums, we would not even know today of many species that used to exist. But it is still sad to see so many dead animals. It is like a mausoleum.”
    Paula Gathoni Kahumbu, Managing Director Wildlife Direct, Nairobi
  • Researcher Zielch in front of the “Biodiversitätswand“ © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    “Some natural history collections were almost responsible for the extinction of animal species because researchers were bent on having this one example in their collection. Today, people are much more sensitive: poaching for science no longer exists in this form.”
    Mathias Zielch, Researcher at the Natural History Museum, Berlin
  • In front of the brachiosaurus © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    Preventing animals from becoming extinct, like the brachiosaurus: “It is not a matter of us Africans pointing our finger at the Asians because that is where the largest wildlife trading market is. It often has a thousand-year-old tradition that we have to respect. It has to be a matter of finding joint solutions, such as legal trade, in order to ultimately protect the diversity of species.”
    Michael Harrison Knight, General Manager Conservation Services Division of SANParks, South Africa
  • Knight and Meng in front of a rhino © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    “There are still about 25,000 rhinos in Africa – unfortunately, their numbers are falling rapidly on account of the illegal trade in rhino horn. Yet one could “harvest” the horn, which is sought after in Chinese medicine: it grows four centimetres each year. Do I think it’s a good thing to raise some animals in a controlled way to sell their horn? Yes, I think so, if it means the other animals live.”
    Michael Harrison Knight, General Manager Conservation Services Division of SANParks, South Africa with his Chinese colleague Dr Xianlin Meng, Head of CITES Management Authorities of China
  • Pereira in front of a Elenantilope  © Goethe-Institut e.V.
    “Of course there are differences of opinion between the African countries, which are affected by poaching, and the Asian trading countries. This joint tour for Asian and African partners offered a unique chance to exchange views constructively on the most effective means of protection – on neutral territory. Germany is one of the few countries to address the poaching problem systematically from a number of perspectives.”
    Carlos M.C. Lopes Pereira, ANAC Head of Law Enforcement & Antipoaching, Mozambique