Hunting, in all of its forms, is increasingly facing criticism across the globe. Attacks on hunting persevere despite proof that it plays an essential role in wildlife management, conservation, food security, and the generation of livelihoods. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) representing 30 million hunters worldwide calls to stop the misperceptions and myths about sustainable hunting, and has expressed its sincere concern about ideologically driven, repeated petitions related to the ban of hunting trophy imports, based on false information, and circulating in Europe. Trophy import bans recently implemented by The Netherlands, and France are apparently breaching EU legislation.
The public opinion mistakenly puts poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the same basket as sustainable and legal hunting. The CIC is concerned that the ill-informed petition planned to be put forward to the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany today to stop the import of hunting trophies, would (if the demands are implemented) have a detrimental effect on the many countries where trophy hunting provides the necessary income for conservation efforts and the livelihoods of local people; and especially in Africa, where the revenue from hunting tourism improves the livelihood of those living in close proximity to the wildlife. Sustainable hunting is the best form of land use in arid and poor soil regions by providing sorely needed employment and a supply of protein. The consequence of banning trophy hunting, which would largely be the result of purely emotional reasons, would cause a massive and devastating loss of wildlife habitat. As strange as it may sound: the hunting of a few selected animals serves the survival of wildlife populations and species as such.
In Europe, in addition to the direct economic contribution, hunters’ voluntary work to protect and manage species and habitats also contributes to the development of Europe’s rural areas with an additional estimated € 16 Billion by providing alternative employment, increasing the social fabric of rural communities, and transmitting cultural identity and traditions. The contribution of hunters, however, also extends to society and to the conservation of nature with countless actions to manage 65% of the EU’s territory in activities related to habitat enhancement, reducing wildlife conflict and damage and monitoring, all of which support for rural development.
Germany together with all EU member states should strive to improve the enforcement of existing rules and the dialogue between trophy exporting and importing countries, and should not be pushing for measures that could virtually strangle all wildlife conservation efforts, including the effective fight against poaching, with far reaching environmental, economic, and social consequences in many countries. This would be contradictory to wildlife conservation and the ongoing efforts to combat poaching.