News / Africa

Does Trophy Hunting Save S. African Wildlife?

FILE - Big-game trophies abound at an international hunting fair in Dortmund, Germany.
FILE - Big-game trophies abound at an international hunting fair in Dortmund, Germany.

Trophy hunting for big game is a controversial blood sport. Parts of an animal – such as the skin, horns or head – are kept as a trophy, with the carcass often used for food.  

In some African countries, it is a legal and lucrative business. A 10-day "elephant package" could cost $36,000 and hunting a rhino could set you back a hefty $100,000. South Africa’s luxury tourism industry allows the hunting of elephants, rhino and other wildlife.

It is an emotionally charged issue. A 19-year-old college cheerleader from Texas provoked an uproar in July after posting pictures in which she posed with dead African wildlife she had legally hunted on a trip here.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, an advocacy group based in Massachusetts, says in a Facebook post that the “needless killing of endangered species for trophies is inherently unsustainable, economically short-sighted, ecologically unsound and morally wrong.”

Generating funds

While many frown on the sport, some conservationists argue that trophy hunting generates crucial revenues needed for the conservation of Africa’s wildlife, including big game.

Tourism and donations do not come close to covering the billions of dollars needed, says zoologist John Hanks, former head of the World Wildlife Fund’s South Africa chapter.

“I think trophy hunting in South Africa is absolutely essential if we are going to look for long-term future for rhinos in the whole of Africa,” Hanks said. “… There’s hardly a single country anywhere that can afford to run its national parks as they should be run. … Here we are in South Africa, one of the richest countries in the continent, Kruger Park has a million visitors a year and [it] still cannot afford to defend the rhinos.”

Around 9,000 trophy hunters travel to South Africa annually – 90 percent of them from the United States. In 2012, foreign hunters spent $115 million in South Africa, where the hunting industry as a whole brings in more than $744 million annually and employs 70,000 people. It is the single most lucrative form of commercial land use.

Making an economic case

Herman Meyeridricks, president of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, contends legal hunting is crucial to protecting wildlife.

“The only way there will be incentive for those landowners to protect and keep on investing in rhino is if they have an economic value,” said Meyeridricks. “They can only have an economic value if there is an end-user that is willing to pay for that and that is the trophy hunter.”

Permits would not be awarded to hunters if the animals were genuinely threatened, Meyeridricks said, adding the number of those killed is “insignificant” to what is available.

The London-based advocacy group Save the Rhino counts just over 5,000 black rhinos and more than 20,400 white rhinos in Africa. More than 80 percent of the continent’s rhinos are in South Africa, National Geographic reports. The nations of Namibia and South Africa can sell five permits a year to hunters of adult black male rhinos, according to Conservation magazine.   

FILE - In this photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black rhino male and calf graze in Mkuze, South Africa.FILE - In this photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black rhino male and calf graze in Mkuze, South Africa.
x
FILE - In this photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black rhino male and calf graze in Mkuze, South Africa.
FILE - In this photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a black rhino male and calf graze in Mkuze, South Africa.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, controls the number of animals allowed to be killed legally. Critics say the oversight body is flawed, because it leaves monitoring quotas to individual governments.

Hunting as conservation tool

Susie Offord, Save the Rhino’s deputy director, maintains trophy hunting is a useful conservation tool if managed properly.

“In an ideal world, rhinos wouldn't be under the extreme pressure they are facing today and there wouldn't be any need for trophy hunting,” Offord said. “But the reality is that wildlife conservation is incredibly expensive.”

Not every country in Africa has followed suit. Kenya has had a long-standing policy against trophy hunting. When banning it in 1977 the Kenyan government described it as “a barbaric relic of colonialism.”

Criminal networks, coined as pseudo-hunters, also have exploited trophy hunting to launder horns. They command high prices on the black market in countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

South African officials say there have been an estimated 300 instances of rhino horn exports by pseudo-hunters since 2009. Since then, the country has stopped issuing hunting permits to nationals from the Czech Republic and Vietnam.

Conservationists such as Offord say governments need to do more to fight criminality and reinforce hunting regulations.

Poaching and illegal trade “does need to be taken more seriously by governments; it needs a lot more action,” she said, calling for “a lot more cross-border collaboration.”

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Neon from: Blade
August 08, 2014 11:06 AM
"Professional Hunters Association of South Africa" have absolutely no credibility. They are simply a mouthpiece for the American-owned "Safari Club International" who are trying to get a monopoly on hunting in SA. Their only interest is making money.


by: Ed Loosli from: California USA
August 07, 2014 9:07 PM
I find it pathetic that the head of groups called "Save the Rhino" and the World Wildlife Fund sanction trophy hunting for rhinos and elephants... As it is well known that this legal hunting is just providing a cover for illegal poaching trophies going to China and Vietnam and other receiving countries, including the USA.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid