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Did Conservationists in Africa Go Too Far?

Print this one out and take it home: Jeffrey Goldberg’s article about two American conservationists and their brutal, possibly murderous anti-poaching operation in Africa is loooong but it’s entirely worth the read. Mark and Delia Owens first went to Africa in 1974. By the time they moved to North Luangwa National Park in Zambia in 1986, they were distraught over the poaching that was decimating Africa’s wildlife. Mark began implementing a confrontational and dangerous anti-poaching regimen that included carrying automatic weapons and buzzing poachers’ camps with helicopters and airplanes. Things came to a head in 1995, when ABC News filmed a documentary about the Owens—and caught, on camera, footage of a poacher being shot and killed. Owens left Zambia shortly after the film aired and has never returned to cooperate with the criminal investigation. According to several people from the ABC News crew, Goldberg discovers that the man who shot the poacher—he was kept off camera when the ABC footage aired—was none other than the Owens’ son, Christopher. The story is a remarkable account of Mark’s obsession, which led him to cast away basic human values in his pursuit to save elephants.