Most commonly used reasons to justify trophy hunting are wildlife conservation, legal nature of hunting, tradition, its importance for local and national economy as well as it is said to prevent poaching. Any of these reasons seldom are valid. Therefore, educating yourself on trophy hunting is the thing to start acting on.
Trophy hunting is the most common and profitable form of hunting in South Africa and it is mainly practised by foreign hunting tourists. Hunters don’t necessarily know that it is organised in an enclosed area and that the animals have been bred in captivity. Areas can be very large which gives hunting groups a feeling of fair chase.
If the farm is called Game Reserve, it is not a guarantee that there is no canned hunting activity although the name deliver an idea of conservation. In South Africa hunting is prohibited only in National Parks even though poaching may happen there too. Of all the land 6,8 % is owned by the public and thereby protected by conservation legislation.
Farms which trade animals or keep them for breeding are not genuine sanctuaries even if they may call themselves as such.
In every genuine conservation programme and project interaction between humans and animals are avoided. For a wild animal human hands on interaction is very unpleasant.
Note also that lions in South Africa do not need conservation efforts other than preserving their habitat.
Furthermore, poachers supply animals for the wildlife trade in trophy hunting industry because animals taken from the wild add genetic variety to breeding bloodlines. Animals within the industry suffer from health issues due to inbreeding and narrow genetic material. Also, canned hunting has become a bit unpopular because of publicity during the last few years which has increased illegal hunting. Tourists prefer hunting ”real animals” in the ”wild”.
Trophy hunting and animals bred for hunting tourism don’t have any conservation value whatsoever. It is cruel business and it is difficult to foresee what kind of consequences breeding may cause to the wildlife.
Being legal does not justify trophy hunting
Trophy hunting is legal in South Africa. In Africa it is only banned in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Botswana. Being legal, however, does not justify hunting ethically. Killing for fun or excitement is not morally justifiable.
Trophy hunting is difficult to end from within South Africa because most of the visitors are form abroad. Banning trophy imports is a great measure in fighting the problem because the trophy is the main reason to kill.
Traditional hunting and poaching
Traditional hunting is based on feeding the family and animals are only hunted when needed. As a scale, it is not unusual that a family in a rural area of South Africa consume only one goat or cow per year.
Legal trophy hunting has not diminished poaching, quite the contrary in fact. Poaching has increased both in biltong and trophy hunting. Poaching cannot be relieved by bringing foreign hunting tourists to South Africa because poaching and international bone trade are connected with trophy hunting industry as described above.
Significance for the local poor
In 2012 nine thousand foreign hunters visited South Africa leaving 126 million US dollars behind. In other words, it is a professionally conducted and profitable trade. Nevertheless, it is not highly beneficial to the GNP, local communities or the wildlife.
In 2013 the African Lion Coalition made a research on the economical significance of the industry. The result was that it represents 1 % of the GNP and its value is less than 2 % of the total revenue of tourism in South Africa.
Less than 3 % of all the profits, however, benefit local communities. Thus, trophy hunting mainly benefits the owners of the breeding and hunting farms, not the communities as a whole.
The practice of trophy hunting of captive bred animals is also spreading to neighboring countries. There is canned hunting already in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia.
What else you can do?
- Join or support the Trophy Free EU Group.
- Inform and discuss about the issue with decision makers of your country and in European Union or other global unions and coalitions close to you.
- Be open and state your stance regarding trophy hunting openly.
- Talk about canned hunting to people and tell them why we need to ban the import of hunting trophies.
- Inform those planning to volunteer about petting tourism and tell them how it is possible to make sure not to support this cruel business.
- Discuss with hunters. Canned hunting is against acknowledged hunting ethics.
- Discuss the topic openly when dealing with travel agencies. Be spesific and do not accept the answer if you are told they have someone local to check the project or service.
- If you know any organization or travel agency arranging trophy hunting or providing opportunities for petting and lion walking, share your information with us!