Scientists at Griffith University have revealed the devastating effects of a trophy hunting ban on wildlife conservation and livelihoods in Africa. Although controversial, the practice of trophy hunting preserves land that would otherwise not be protected.
Dr. Duan Biggs, head of the Resilient Conservation Research Group at the Environmental Futures Research Institute worked with a group of international collaborators to investigate the effect of a trophy hunt the ban would have on South African landowners, who hold the majority of the hunting market in Africa.
In an article published this week in The Conversation, researchers highlight the timeliness and importance of their results in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has devastated the African tourism economy.
“Trophy hunting faces increasing pressure due to the perception of being grotesque and morally reprehensible, with many groups calling for a total ban,” said Dr. Biggs.
Hunters from the United States, Russia, Spain and other parts of the world travel across the continent to hunt animals the size of a small antelope to 200 kg of male lions.
Research by Dr. Biggs and his colleagues suggests that, despite its negative perception, trophy hunting retains large tracts of land that would not be otherwise protected. These areas contribute about $ 200 million a year to African economies, supporting millions of livelihoods.
“Our study explored how private landowners would respond to a legislative ban on hunting under pressure from several NGOs and international governments, “said Dr. Hayley Clements, a member of the Center for Complex Systems in Transition at the University of Stellenbosch.
“Private preservation the land, where trophy hunting takes place, represents about 14 to 17% of South Africa, that is to say more protected land than in national parks, “said Dr Alta De Vos of the University of Rhodes, which co-directed the study.
“These hunting grounds are of crucial importance as they provide links between private and public conservation areas and fund new conservation efforts. It turns out that around two thirds of the landowners in South Africa would abandon a wildlife-based land use if trophy hunting was banned, “said Dr. Biggs.
Dr. Biggs and his colleagues then asked if ecotourism could be a viable alternative to trophy hunting.
Their study of private South African conservation landowners found that a shift to photographic tourism was not possible for the majority, due to financial constraints related to entry and competition in an already tourism market. saturated.
“Premium photo safaris are often touted as an alternative to trophy hunting, but only one-third of our 22 respondents said they would go on photo safaris or intensify the wildlife viewing they have already, “said Kim Parker, co-responsible researcher at the University of Rhodes.
“The evidence shows that hunters will travel to politically unstable and risky destinations to hunt, and the removal of limited funding in an already tense system would be catastrophic for both wildlife conservation and livelihoods in many parts of Africa, “said Dr Biggs.
“Defense groups and policy makers they are pushing to end all trophy hunting they need to take into account these potential ramifications of hunting bans, particularly in the current climate of COVID-19. Alternative sources of income and transition plans need to be developed with landowners and communities where hunting is a key source of income to maintain both conservation land use and livelihoods prior to implementation. work of any prohibition.
Kim Parker et al. Impacts of a trophy hunting ban on the conservation of private land in biodiversity hotspots in South Africa, Conservation science and practice (2020). DOI: 10.1111 / csp2.214
Quote: Banning trophy hunting in the middle of COVID-19 threatens African wildlife and livelihoods (2020, June 29) retrieved June 29, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-06-trophy-covid -threatens-african-wildlife.html
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