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Hunters hold African wildlife to ransom

Written by: Adam Cruise for Conservation Action Trust

The world’s wealthiest hunting organisation, Safari Club International (SCI) and professional hunting groups, met behind closed doors with the South African Department of Environment (DEA) and representatives of other African nations last week to discuss policies for managing wildlife.

©Michael Lorentz

©Michael Lorentz

According to a media statement from the DEA, the 14th African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF), that was held in Limpopo from 9 to 12 November, is an annual SCI-sponsored initiative that “provides an important platform for African countries to enhance existing co-operation between governments, including hunting industries of participating countries.”

The statement continues: “The AWCF is further a platform for sharing experiences in wildlife management and hunting in particular and will include preparations for the upcoming CITES CoP 17 meeting in South Africa next year.”

In other words, the meeting is about the SCI persuading African governments, individually and through CITES to adopt policies incorporating the conservation ‘benefits’ of trophy hunting.

SCI already heavily influences government policies to a number of African nations. In 2013 Zambia issued a ban on hunting lions and leopards because of declining populations due to over-harvesting by trophy hunters. Zambian Tourism and Arts Minister, Jean Kapata, cited at the time that, “big cat numbers were too low to have a sustainable hunting industry.”

However, after intense pressure from the SCI, Zambia reversed the ban. Zambia’s Green Party president, Peter Sinkamba, told The Times of Zambia: “Much as we are aware that the PF [Patriotic Front] government is facing serious budget deficit challenges, it is extremely outrageous to resort to unleashing safari hunters on to limited populations of big cat species, regardless of the fact that safari hunting is allegedly most profitable.”

A similar scenario occurred in Namibia. In 2010 the country issued a hunting moratorium on big cats and placed the hunting industry under review. It was reported that in some areas whole populations of leopard and cheetah were being wiped out. Hunting operators were running leopard and cheetah hunts with dogs, as well as canned hunts – in some cases canned hunts with dogs. But the moratorium only remained in place for one hunting season.

In 2011 Namibia, in partnership with SCI, launched a census “to manage the sustainability of the leopard population.” A questionnaire was distributed to 1,500 farmers to assess the distribution and relative abundance of leopards throughout Namibia. There were only 400 replies. These, however, were extrapolated, which produced a flawed national estimate of leopards of over 14,000.

Namibia has a CITES trophy hunted export quota of 250 leopards per year, a questionable figure, according to experts of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), because it is based on “insufficient ecological information and lack of scientific data.”

Unsurprisingly the pro-hunting census-takers recommended the quota “remain at the current level.”

The USA will not allow imports of trophies of cheetahs as it has deemed that cheetah hunting is not conducive to the conservation of the species. Namibia together with SCI has repeatedly petitioned the USA to lift the ban but the country has declined each request.

It is little wonder then that journalists and conservationists, who were not invited to the forum in Polokwane, are concerned that South Africa will succumb to the cash-waving advocates of trophy hunting despite the DEA insisting that, “claims of excessive interference by American hunters in South African government policy are not true.”

Ban Animal Trading South Africa  – a registered NPO fighting for the rights of animals – demanded that the minutes be made public, something the DEA has since done, but the link is simply a summary of the proceedings and it lacks any meaningful detail.

Ian Michler, who produced the film Blood Lions, has stated: “Given the non-transparent nature of the conference, it’s hard not to infer a conspiracy between hunters and governments in proposals that will be presented to CITES in the public’s name.”

©Ian Michler

©Ian Michler

It is expected that CITES will deliberate on issues such as ivory and rhino horn trade and the revision of trophy hunted export quotas at the next Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg in 2016.

Karen Trendler of the NGO Working Wild says that, “it is of grave concern that issues of this nature and importance are discussed at closed meetings with what appears to be predominantly pro-hunting representation.”

The common-held mantra that trophy hunting benefits conservation has come under fire recently, especially following the death of Cecil the lion.

Many leading wildlife experts like National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Dereck Joubert, and Kenya’s conservation doyen, Richard Leakey, agree that trophy hunting is not good for conservation because it fuels corruption at the highest government levels, causes the loss of healthy animals that are still key for reproduction and social cohesion but, most importantly, contributes to the decline of Africa’s wildlife populations already in a free-fall from rampant poaching.

It’s time politicians and legislators realise it too.

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  • Objective Research

    Conservation is not a morality play, but don’t try telling that to Kendall Jones. A 19-year-old student and cheerleader at Texas Tech, Jones has been hunting big game in Africa with her father since she was nine. This past July, she posted photos on Facebook of herself with her kills — leopard, lion, hippo, zebra, elephant, rhino. The response was overwhelming: 325,000 people signed a petition asking Facebook to remove the images, which it did, saying the act violated its rule about “graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence.” The “Kill Kendall Jones” page remained for three days before Facebook removed it, too.

    Jones was hardly the only hunter to find herself on the wrong side of public anger over their trophies. Axelle Despiegelaere, a Belgian World Cup fan, had her brief modeling career cut short when she posted a picture of herself with an oryx she had shot. Corey Knowlton, a Texas hunter who paid $350,000 at a Dallas Safari Club auction for a permit to kill a black rhino in Namibia, received death threats against his children.

    Kendall Jones and many others, including conservationists and scientists with long experience in Africa, argue that trophy hunting helps fund conservation efforts and does no ecological harm. There are good reasons to be wary about such claims. The pictures of smiling hunters with their trophies, and the very idea of rich Texans paying handsomely to kill rare animals for sport are proof enough for many people that safari hunting is at best an anachronism and at worst an abhorrence that must be stopped. Conservation is about saving animals. Hunting is about killing them.

    Hunting raises legitimate moral questions, but its potential role in conservation cannot be assessed solely in moral terms. For one thing, the people in Africa who stand to benefit (or not) from safari hunting have utterly different and often irreconcilable attitudes toward hunting than their Western opponents. The challenge for conservationists is to formulate a baseline for judging if and when hunting can contribute to conservation. Who controls the land and resources that support game animals? Who benefits from those resources, and can they be distributed in ways that that help conservation efforts?

    Science plays an crucial role in answering these questions, but the debate goes far beyond science to issues of human rights, political ecology, criminology, public health, and economics. The most successful efforts to bring safari hunting and conservation together are not based on either moral or scientific judgements alone, but rather on the principal of self-determination, communities choosing how to use land to which they claim some degree of ownership.

    Neither trophy hunting nor community-based natural resource management can be tied directly to many dramatic conservation successes. Neither remotely resemble panaceas for Africa’s myriad ills. Yet both remain part of the debate because, when done right, they stem from the same powerful dynamic: the shift of power from the center to the periphery, from national governments still burdened by corruption or postcolonial bureaucracies, or both, to the rural communities at the frontline of conservation. If people who share their land with Africa’s wild animals can benefit directly from conserving them, the results can be impressive, and trophy hunting has been at the center of some of CBNRM’s most notable successes.

    The experience in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, while far from uniform, demonstrates both how trophy hunting can contribute to conservation but also the many conditions that must be met and how fragile the balance among conflicting goals and ideals can be. While a movement from the center to the periphery is critical, for example, central government still plays an important role and the reality is that for CBNRM approaches to work it must fulfill criteria at a variety of scales, from rural communities all the way to central government and at times internationally.

    II.

    Wealthy hunters will pay huge sums to hunt Africa’s most famous game species, the so-called big five — elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions, and leopards. Many populations of these animals live in areas of desperate human poverty. But the juxtaposition of poor people and a potentially valuable wild resource does not mean that the exploitation of one will necessarily lead to the betterment of the other. With appropriate scientific guidance, shooting a small number of animals will not do lasting ecological damage. But that is not enough. What are the institutional arrangements that would make trophy hunting viable as a conservation strategy?

    Namibia offers one illustration. In 1996, Namibia enacted landmark legislation that gave tribal communities — who previously had limited rights to resources on communal lands — the ability manage and directly benefit from their wildlife. The rationale was straightforward: poverty and the lack of human development in the country meant that a conservation approach based on protected areas, law enforcement, and non-utilization principles would not work, or would be too expensive to sustain in the long-term.

    Conservancies in Namibia quickly began striking deals with tourism companies. Many conservancies allow trophy hunting because it is far easier to get a hunting concession running than to build the lodges and other infrastructure needed for photo safaris. The fees paid by the operators go directly to the communities. The early returns prompted other communities to create conservancies, and there are now 79 conservancies that cover nearly 58,000 square miles, about the size of Georgia. Total land under some form of conservation management has increased to more than 42 percent of the country’s land area, three times that of the United States and one of the highest percentages in the world. Thirty-two of the communal conservancies are adjacent to or in key corridors between national parks, thus strengthening Namibia’s protected area network.

    In 2012, the conservancies generated over $4 million in cash income and an additional $1 million in in-kind benefits (such as the distribution of harvested game meat). This amounts to more than $300 per person, a substantial amount in a country where over 60 percent of the population, most in the rural areas where conservancies operate, live on less than $1 per day.

    One element in the success of conservancies in Namibia is that fact that in much of the country the opportunity costs of conservation are low, as the arid lands do not support much beyond subsistence agriculture. Wildlife is far better adapted to the conditions and may represent the highest economic return. But even in the northeastern part of the country, which is much like the rest of east and southern Africa with its treed savannas and decent rain, conservancies have taken hold. The approach has even spread beyond communal areas, as some private landowners in so-called commercial conservancies are taking down fences to make larger landscapes and switching from cattle to wildlife.

    Even though trophy hunting is a key revenue source for many conservancies, wildlife population trends have proven to be stable or increasing across regions where conservancies are operating. Until quite recently the trend even held for black rhino, which increased in Namibia while in decline almost everywhere else on the continent. The recent spike in demand for rhino horn, however, has driven the price so high that not even the financial incentives provided by the conservancies are enough to protect them, and poaching has been on the increase, especially in the northeast.

    Despite the worrisome uptick in poaching, it is clear that people in rural Namibia see the value in sharing their land with wildlife, even the occasional crop-raiding elephant, because they make the decisions. They can sell a hunting permit for that elephant for $10,000, set the quotas and choose who to sell them to, and eat the meat. The conservancies thus address a key threat to wildlife: a political ecology in which benefits from wildlife accrue to people who bear none of the costs. While CBNRM is far from a universal success, where it has made a difference for both people and wildlife is has done so by redressing this imbalance.

    There are still other conditions that must be met before trophy hunting can reliably contribute to conservation: good governance with transparency in laws, regulations, and enforcement; citizens with respect for those laws; an army of biological scientists and enforcement officers; and a public demand for conservation. Where trophy hunting fails to contribute to conservation the proprietary rights of landholders are weak and benefits are captured by other stakeholders through bureaucracy, excessive fees, and corruption.

    While the idea of devolving authority over wildlife — including the right to allow trophy hunting — to landowners, including communal landowners, has spread in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia, a very different approach is firmly in place elsewhere in Africa, most notably in Kenya. Kenya banned all consumptive use of wild species in 1977: no sport hunting, cropping, ranching, live capture and sale, taxidermy, trophies, or souvenirs. The country used the hunting ban to build its brand as the destination for wildlife tourism in Africa, and it developed a thriving industry that brings in millions of dollars each year.

    Such a tourist industry requires a vast and expensive infrastructure, including airports, roads, and hotels. It also requires political stability, a pleasant climate, and large numbers of readily findable animals. Few places on Earth, let alone Africa, have that combination. Kenya’s high savannas are perfect; Tanzania’s miombo woodland, Zimbabwe’s thornscrub, and Namibia’s desert are not. Hunters will put up with the tougher conditions of those habitats so long as the game are present, but it is nearly impossible to create a luxury photo tourism industry there.

    Since hunting was banned in Kenya wildlife populations have dropped by 80 percent. There are far too many confounding factors to attribute direct cause and effect of either banning or promoting trophy hunting to the fate of wildlife populations in Kenya and any country in southern Africa, but the dynamic is at least sufficient to give one pause when making the claim that hunting is per se bad for Africa’s wildlife. Yet that is precisely the claim that is often made.

    Blame for the drop in wildlife in Kenya and across Africa cannot at this point by lain at the doorstep of trophy hunters. The leading causes are habitat loss caused by expanding human settlement, agriculture, and other kinds of land use incompatible with wildlife, followed by uncontrolled hunting, usually for bushmeat. In short, uncompetitive returns from wildlife compared with those from livestock or agriculture create incentives for landowners to convert any rangeland with agricultural potential to cultivation.

    As habitat disappears, the risk of conflict between people and large and dangerous animals increases. Such conflicts are rarely resolved in favor of wildlife, unless people have exceptionally strong incentives to do so. The challenge of creating such incentives are so significant that some conservationists believe it may be time to abandon the ideal of coexistence and instead admit that the only solution is to separate people and wildlife altogether, with fences.

    Fences are as hot-button an issue as hunting. They symbolize the loss of wilderness, not its salvation. Private, fenced ranches in South Africa have done well in restoring some game populations and converting farmland back to something more closely resembling its wild state, though the extent to which that is the case is subject to debate. The idea of putting up fences on the East Africa savannas will generate intense opposition, but Craig Packer, a leading researcher on lions and long-time resident of Tanzania, makes just such an argument. Fenced reserves are cheaper and more effective at conserving lions; nearly half the unfenced lion populations may decline to near extinction in the next 20 to 40 years, Packer argues.

    Packer is neither a reflexive supporter nor opponent of hunting. For one thing, he points out that the $10,000 fee to hunt a lion in Tanzania is far too low and, in any event, little of that money gets back to the local community. After analyzing data on harvest trends across Tanzania’s hunting blocks Packer and colleagues found that the intensity of trophy hunting was the factor most responsible for lion declines. Yet even so Packer does not rule out the possibility that hunting may be beneficial in some circumstance and his recommendation was not to ban hunting but to lower the quotas.

    The fact is that any species can be hunted sustainably, outside of the extreme case of removing the last reproductively viable male or female, if the science and enforcement are good enough. But there is ecological sustainability and there is economic sustainability, and they don’t necessarily overlap. With rare species, the level of ecologically sustainable hunting would be too low by themselves to keep an outfitter in business and contributing to local economies, The exception may be those few species that command extraordinary fees. So the $350,000 paid for the rhino in Namibia, while it stoked massive outrage, could be appropriate if most of that money made it back to the communities in whose hands the future rhinos and their habitat ultimately lies.

    Few places other than a handful of locations in Africa have animals that are as desirable for hunters. It may be the case that trophy hunting is only viable where there are healthy populations of elephants and rhinos, or perhaps with particularly rare and valuable sheep like markhor, a species of mountain goat native to the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Permits for markhor can go for $150,000 each and there are efforts to set up conservancies akin to those in Namibia to direct most of that money to local communities.

    III.

    The debate we should be having is not whether trophy hunting is moral or immoral, but whether it can be justified on scientific and conservation grounds, who ultimately benefits from it, and what kind of conservation it can support. But that is not how the debate plays out in the Western media, and, in some cases, within African governments themselves. Organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and others have sophisticated lobbying and fundraising efforts and they now wield enormous influence. Unfortunately, that influence often rests on painting Africa, Africans, and hunters with such a broad brush that it obscures rather than clarifies the fundamental questions.

    In 2006, the Kenyan government announced a major review of conservation policy. The Humane Society, IFAW, and others feared this was the first step toward reintroducing trophy hunting and mobilized to stop it. Animal welfare groups paid activists to disrupt public meeting on the new policy, orchestrated an anti-sport hunting media campaign on television, radio and in the press, with anti-hunting posters in the streets and at Nairobi’s international airport, prevented mainstream conservation organizations from presenting their views, and funded the creation of local, anti-hunting NGOs. A proposal to allow more use of wildlife, even though it delayed reconsideration of the hunting ban itself, was withdrawn.

    Botswana for many years allowed trophy hunting and had had among the healthiest game populations on the continent. In 2014, however, Botswana banned all hunting on public land. Among the most prominent voices advocating for the ban were filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who have close ties to both the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, and animal welfare organizations, including IFAW.

    Hunters are losing or have already lost their social license to operate in many places. If hunting is to make a meaningful contribution to conservation they need to get it back. This is not a question of mustering scientific evidence about sustainability; it is as much, or more, about perception and emotion, and hunters have been strangely slow to understand the terms of fight they are now in. The way in which hunters respond to the deeply felt belief among a growing number of people that killing wild creatures for sport is always and in every circumstance wrong may determine whether is has a future, regardless of scientific evidence regarding sustainability. Hunters need to accept this as a legitimate concern; the failure to do so is what leads to the in-your-face trophy shots. Hunters need to demonstrate high ethical standards, clear connections to broader conservation, and local empowerment. Even then, hunters and conservationist need to recognize that what works in one place will not necessarily work in another.

    Given the long history of hunting on Africa, and the place it holds in the Western imagination, it is easy to forget that the current model of commercial recreational hunting in southern Africa is just 30 years old. It continues to evolve to fit changing circumstances. It would be foolish in the extreme to decide now that it has no place in future conservation, just as it would be foolish to assume that hunting by itself will be integral to both conservation and development.

    • Graeme Pollock

      An excellent article balanced and informative – and 100% correct – hunters need to sit up and take action against practices that harm sustainable hunting , we have been complacent for to long – but this is changing , the landmark vote against canned lion by PHASA is a step in the right direction – Zimbabwe have already put forward strategies to stop hunting collared animals , iconic animals of natural heritage significance and other great initiatives . In Botswana the closure of hunting has resulted in unprecidented human wildlife conflict as animals no longer get water in the closed concessions – they push through to the farms and community areas and the conflict is resulting in damages and loss of life. The total 2014 revenues for CBNRM in Botswana from photographic based tourism was P13 million , in Zimbabwe – just one district CBNRM hunting project earned P10 million and fed over 1 million children and benefited over 750 000 people under the CAMPFIRE umbrella.

    • Willem Frost

      An excellent post. Fully agree with you.

  • Sean

    it is quite a challenge that all stakeholders should face, especially so many non-stakeholders are so eager to be involved in

  • Martin Johanson

    You got something seriously wrong while thinking. Without the valuation through legal hunting and tourism African wildlife is doomed.
    Maybe its time to unlike and unfollow this page..

  • Sean Outram

    If you fly over parts of Tsavo today—and I challenge anyone to do so, if you have the eyes for it – you can see lines of snares set out in funnel traps that extend four or five miles. Tens of thousands of animals are being killed annually for the meat business. Carnivores are being decimated in the same snares and discarded. I am not a propagandist on this issue, but when my friends say we are very concerned that hunting will be reintroduced in Kenya, let me put it to you: hunting has never been stopped in Kenya, and there is more hunting in Kenya today than at any time since independence. (Thousands) of animals are being killed annually with no control. Snaring, poisoning, and shooting are common things. So when you have a fear of debate about hunting, please don’t think there is no hunting. Think of a policy to regulate it, so that we can make it sustainable. That is surely the issue, because an illegal crop, an illegal market is unsustainable in the long term, whatever it is. And the market in wildlife meat is unsustainable as currently practiced, and something needs to be done.

    -Richard Leakey, in an address to the Strathmore Business School, Nairobi

    • Willem Frost

      Sean,
      No, hunting and poaching is most definitely not the same thing. Hunting is legal, controlled and conducted within a code of ethics. It is also selective and only specific animals are taken. Poaching is illegal, uncontrolled and indiscriminate. The poacher will also use any means to kill: snares, poison, etc. It is highly irresponsible to suggest that hunting and poaching is the same thing. Richard Leaky should know better.

  • peter

    Africageographic continues to disclose low-quality articles in this issue. No objectivity, only allegations fuelling hatred.

  • Graeme Pollock

    Firstly African Geographic misled its readers to believe that the AWCF was a meeting between USA hunters and the SA government behind closed doors – which was a gross misleading of the public , something AG has become a specialist in. The AWCF was a meeting between african country representatives from government and guides and PH associations from all over africa. Now they go on to mislead the public with a blog from someone who has not taken the time to even get the proceedings from the meeting and review the presentations – instead he go’s on to mislead people that his un-researched opinion is factual and credible while in fact it is a total load of rubbish without any truth or science . It should be noted that the number one message all the governments that attended the meeting had was a unanimous slogan – HUNTING IS NOT A TOOL OF NATURE CONSERVATION – IT IS CONSERVATION . Most representatives hold a doctorate or higher in wildlife science. For the blogger to insult them with allegations that there is bribery etc is simply western arrogance and smacks of racialism. But lets look at the points stated :
    1. Zambian big Cats – the blogger misleads the reader to believe that Zambia closed hunting due to a concern for the population status of the cats – utter rubbish = ongoing research has published papers by Dr. P. White that the lion and Leopard populations are sustainable under proper hunting management. The said politician is aledegedly being sued by the government for the loss’s and aledged other issues of misgovernance .
    2. Namibia did not place a moritorium on cat hunting because of a decline in cat populations – it was a CITIES administration and quota setting problem – due to the high numbers of leopard in Namibia the success rate exceeded the CITIES quota – they had to close hunting to resolve the permit issue process.
    3 The blogger misleads that according to experts ( no paper is cited or article to back this statement up ) that the CITIES export quota is questionable – this is a deliberate playing around with the CITIES issue by the blogger – a full out attempt to mislead with lies. Quota’s are set by the conservation authority based on their scientific services recommendations . Again Mr Cruise is belitteling the Namibian wildlife department personnel implying they are not providing credible quota setting systems.
    4. BAT – crashed the meeting shouting that they are aware SA was meeting with American hunters and they were demonstrating against this – shame how misguided and ill informed – as revealed it was not a meeting between american hunters and SA , but they were given time to state their misinformed opinion.
    5. Ian Michler states that the meeting was not transparent – yet he has not contacted a single delegate and asked for copies of the presentations – which would be freely and gladly given to him – all he has to do is ask – transparency needs effort.
    6. Karen Trendler – ahh this is a good one – as she was closely involved with the development of certain components of the host resort – Legends – she has direct access to the owners and could easily have secured a seat as a NGO or participant – but she never applied nor asked for copies of the presentations , however as a editorial contributor to Wildlife Ranching – a magazine that promotes and supports canned lion killing and colour variants – she had more than enough influence to ensure she could participate if she was so inclined.

    The point is the meeting provides across border wildlife information and biodiversity strategies , including anti poaching co-operation and information , all of which is grossly being distorted by uninformed biased people who dont actualy care about wildlife and conservation only their opinion and own agenda ( which mostly are to secure donations by misleading the public and pulling at their emmotional reaction strings ) .

    The fact that in the 1960’s South Africa had approx 550 000 head of wildlife and today there is over 18 000 000 head of wildlife mainly on private game ranches , and that the total area under conservation in National Parks is 14 million hectares , and the area under wildlife on game ranches is 20 million hectares – all on the back of hunters dollars seems to evade the misinformed. Clearly hunting is funding the biggest conservation effort in South Africa more than any other single entity, this fact is evading the anti hunters.

    The number one income generating wildlife activity in SA is captive bred lion – the hunters and PH’s across Africa stood opposed to this practice and this week in the PHASA AGM , a clear statement was made that the hunting industry does not support this practice – this should make it clear that hunters do not chase the mighty $ , but support conservation , animal welfare and ethical hunting.

    • Willem Frost

      Well said, Graeme. Could not have put it any better. But prepare yourself for death threats from some nutcases on this blog. Death threats, and rape threats against women, seems to be a common scare tactic amongst a large section of the antis.

  • Keryn Adcock

    This statement (quote below) show the root of some erroneous thinking in this article: It is the PRIMARILY the pre-existing bad governance and rampant corruption in many countries leading to the rampant poaching, which is leading to decimation of animal populations, not the legal trophy hunting per-say: “Many leading wildlife experts like National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Dereck Joubert, and Kenya’s conservation doyen, Richard Leakey, agree that trophy hunting is not good for conservation because it fuels corruption at the highest government levels, causes the loss of healthy animals that are still key for reproduction and social cohesion but, most importantly, contributes to the decline of Africa’s wildlife populations already in a free-fall from rampant poaching”.

    Legal trophy hunting can play an valuable role in the economic viability of protecting wildlife and habitats and can be entirely sustainable and non-damaging to animal socials structure too if done correctly. However legal hunters must take pains to subscribe to the highest ethical practices and “fair hunts” only while hunting,& keep strictly to quotas. Too often one hears of hunters who are are their own worst enemies, and their bad behaviours & poor practices, esp. taking advantage of poor governance situations, weak policing of their own kind etc etc, lead to the rest of us non hunters to think they’re maybe its just not worth having them around.

    • Graeme Pollock

      Firstly I agree 100% that the hunting industry leaders have been complacent and have fallen behind in both informing the public of the positive aspects of hunting as a tool of conservation and cleaning out practices that harm hunting such as canned lion shooting ( note I say shooting and not hunting as no true hunter will ever refer to this as hunting its killing full stop ) , hunting specimens of natural heritage significance ( big tusker elephant , Cecil etc ) , genetic manipulation , non traditional driven hunts etc. But to say ” to often one hears of hunters …..” , do you know every hunting assoc has a strict code of ethics and best practices , so if any person reports an illegal or unethical act to the Hunting Assoc of that country , they will immediatly act on this information as will SCI and DSC or CIC . I personaly have publicly asked / invited / pleaded with any person , in particularly Ian Michler and Dereck Joubert who are the most responsible for making public statements against hunters = to come forward and lay a charge ( in Botswana ) or even a sworn affidavit , todate neither have come forward. Given the fact that the perpetrator could loose their license and membership from all hunting bodies you would think Mitchler or Joubert would jump at exposing these so called horrendous acts/crimes by hunters = I always say witnessing a crime and not reporting it is as bad or even worse than committing the crime ,just like witnessing a rape and doing nothing , if they saw it or have evidence why not hand it over so action can be taken . Yet they dont = but you need to ask yourself why ??? , its because what better way to discredit , harm and damage hunting than to make unfounded allegations that will stir up public resentment to hunting . We dont ask you to like hunting or hunt yourself , but to blindly listen to anti hunting rhetoric from people who make a living from discrediting hunting by raising donations to fund lavish lifestyles and well heeled cocktail parties just does not help wildlife . Please take the time to research CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe , CBNRM in Namibia just as a start then ask when hunting stops feeding millions of protein starved children and benefitting thousands of families what will they turn to to survive = Poaching .

      • Graeme Pollock

        Secondly , I fail to understand how any well read person can refer to Dr Leakey as conservationist , his influence in banning hunting in Kenya has led to vast areas of wilderness once under the protection of hunting companies to be abandoned with the subsequent invasion by poachers , this has led to a scientifically proven decline in wildlife of nearly 85% , so how can this be a good conservation move ? .
        Then to say the influence of money from hunting has/will corrupt to the highest level implies that these governments can be bribed = but put this in perspective = if the same people ( Leakey , Joubert , Michler ) who say the large amounts of money involved in hunting can lead to corruption , but they ( Leakey Joubert Michler ) are also saying at the same time photo based tourism makes more money and more jobs etc = means a greater ability to corrupt than hunting not right as there is more money flowing . People can you not see how blindly they are leading you based on emmotional arguments and not science or logic. ??

  • Willem Frost

    Another very poor article by Africa Geographic. Full of half-truths, twisted truths and untruths. The debate on the pros and cons of hunting will not progress if the anti-hunters stubbornly refuse to consider facts that do not support their animal rights agenda. Perhaps this is the crux of the problem: most antis are not conservationists, the “rights” of the individual animal is all that matters to them. In that case we probably have nothing to say to one another.

  • Terrence

    AG, I politely ask that you stop posting articles like these. They are not objective in any way. What’s worse is that they polarize rather than unite people who desperately want to save wildlife. In the spirit of objectivity please do not give platforms to those who only have an agenda. That goes for those who are completely pro-hunting without objectivity, too. These issues are much more complex than Adam Cruise, Ian Michler, etc., are willing to accept. This article isn’t journalism at all. It’s sensationalism.

  • Alex Brown

    If trophy hunting helps ‘conservation’, why the secrecy? Unless…All the hunters commenting here are regurgitating the same old disproven talking points (conservation, feed villagers, yada yada yada). Conservation my foot! Legal poaching is what it is. I can also quote umpteen articles saying trophy hunting doesn’t help one bit.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/travel-leisure/no-big-game-hunting-does_b_7913530.html

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