New research suggests that a “trophy hunting” ban may force landowners into livestock farming or leave them with no options, which would be detrimental for wildlife and livelihoods.
The ongoing pandemic has sparked many conversations, both old and new, on the various approaches to wildlife conservation around the world.
One discussion that has resurfaced in the wake of COVID is the topic of “trophy hunting,” which many argue should be banned on ethical grounds.
This recent article, “COVID-19, Africa’s conservation and trophy hunting dilemma,” publishes research that outlines some of the pitfalls associated with a blanket ban on hunting in Africa.
Research has shown that 91% of landowners with hunting operations in South Africa believe that activities on private land would no longer be viable, either economically or for biodiversity, should a hunting ban be put in place.
In the event of a ban, landowners would be forced to pursue alternative land uses such as eco-tourism or livestock farming. Despite this, only a third of South African landowners believed that eco-tourism would be a viable alternative to hunting.
Those who stated that eco-tourism was not feasible suggested that they would either engage in livestock farming, or be left with no viable alternatives.
While this would be troubling for communities that are reliant on the sustainable of wildlife resources, it would be equally problematic for wildlife and biodiversity.
A land usage shift into livestock farming would be devastating for countless flora and fauna species, and would lead to significant losses in biodiversity.
As the world is already combating biodiversity loss on a massive scale, pushing private landowners to engage in activities detrimental to conservation is something that should be avoided at all costs. This is especially true when considering that private lands used for conservation covers more land area than state protected lands.
Within the context of COVID-19, it is suggested that the hunting industry may also be more resilient that eco-tourism, as hunters may be more willing to travel during such difficult circumstances. It is essential that less developed countries have access to varied sources of revenue, particularly when the pandemic has revealed how easily many business can be affected overnight.
Instead of a blanket ban on hunting, the article proposes an approach that integrates the various benefits of sustainable use and different attitudes towards hunting.
The CIC fully agrees with this suggestion, as it is an approach that would ultimately generate the most benefits for wildlife conservation efforts and livelihoods.