Media Statement

August 28, 2013 in Conservation, Hunting Info, Just Hunting by Hunting Legends

Media statement issued by HUNTING LEGENDS INTERNATIONAL

Date: 2012-03-19

HUNTING & CONSERVATION – THE TRUMPS VISIT & HUNT IN ZIMBABWE

Management and staff representing HUNTING LEGENDS INTERNATIONAL, an Africa and USA based international safari hunting company and service provider, has noted the extreme response and perhaps, one-sided reaction from private individuals and “concerned” animal rights activists to a hunting safari organized for the Trumps in Zimbabwe, August 2010.

The company, as part of its commitment to conservation through ethical & sustainable hunting, would like to express its view and state several facts in a bid to address these concerns and eliminate confusion caused by reckless and unsubstantiated allegations.

With reference to the hunt which took place in August of 2010: -

The hunt took place in Zimbabwe in the Matetsi East General Hunting Area – Victoria Falls.

The entire hunt was done strictly according to the laws of the Department of Nature Conservation in Zimbabwe and, as is custom in these Government controlled areas, a staff member of the department escorted the hunt at all times.

The hunt was conducted by a registered Zimbabwean Hunting company as is required by Zimbabwean Law, however Hunting Legends facilitated and booked the Trump hunt.

The hunt was legal and ethically conducted as prescribed by the industry norms and regulations.

None of the animals hunted were on the endangered specie list and all the required hunting permits were issued to the Trump’s by the relevant Department of Conservation authorities in Zimbabwe.

All the required permits were issued well in advance by the relevant Nature Conservation body itself and per quota allocated annually. All the applicable license fees were paid for, as well as the trophy fees & day fees charged by the Zimbabwean Company.

The edible meat went to the Zimbabwe concession holder, their staff and to local adjoining villagers, as is the custom in the area. (NOTE: This hunt took place in the Matetsi `East area, bordering private land of the concession holder and a well known camfire area.)

Furthermore…

The statement or notion that this hunt was sanctioned by the Zimbabwe Government is incorrect and a complete fabrication. The implication of a link between the Government and the Trumps is false and misleading.

This event was a private hunting safari booked and conducted by Hunting Legends International and a registered Zimbabwean Outfitting Company & Concession owner. All processes followed was done legally and through the relevant conservation authorities.

No media group had any permission from the Trumps or us to use any of the photographs that were published on our website.

In conclusion,

HUNTING LEGENDS INTERNATIONAL management and staff state categorically that its business is conducted in a professional manner, strictly in accordance with the laws and principles that regulate the Professional Hunting industry.

In addition to the many conservation projects that the company is involved, funds are regularly set aside for initiatives to support the protection of wildlife, HUNTING LEGENDS INTERNATIONAL is firmly committed to the education of the public about Professional Hunting and its acknowledged role in conservation.

Man’s infringement on the movement of animals continues to impact on wildlife management and the sanctuary of animals. Institutions like National Parks cannot accommodate an ever increasing population of animals and thus overpopulation often burdens the system so they cannot alone, sustain these operations to ensure protection of Africa’s wildlife species.

Many of the game reserves we hunt on today is land which had many years ago been used by settlers as land for farming cattle and crops.

An investment in the future – for man and animals

These farms, many of which have all seen better days, as technology has changed and many of these generations of pioneering farmers have disappeared from the scene, are bought by Game Ranchers like us.

Game Ranchers often rebuild these farms from scratch and change them back into private game sanctuaries. The take down the cattle fences, demolish all the shacks, old sheds and cattle pens and replace cattle, pigs, sheep and goats with all the wildlife, which used to roam there before.

Through proper management they rid these old agricultural farms of alien plants and re-establish the land to its natural condition. For illustration, on one property of 25 000 acres we now once again have more than 4 000 wild animals roaming about freely in unspoilt nature.

These Game Ranchers (like us) sustain themselves financially by allowing trophy hunters to come to our private wildlife sanctuaries (which were bought, paid for, developed and saved from disaster by ranchers like us) and, as stated before, hunt old & mature male animals, which are beyond their prime productive time. They manage animal population extremely scientifically as it is the backbone to all of our businesses.

We all only shoot a specific number of animals every year. We create jobs for local hungry and otherwise unemployed people, we supply meat and accessories to the local communities and we look after our own wildlife sanctuaries as if our lives depend on it – because it does!

END

Conservation against Hunting?

August 28, 2013 in Conservation, Hunting Info by Hunting Legends

IF YOU CARE THEN READ THIS!!

  • Why do so called pure conservationists blame ethical hunting so much?
  • Is it due to facts or mostly ignorance?
  • Are hunters indeed the scum of the earth as conservationist so easily criticize?
  • How many hunters are found criticizing conservationists publicly?

This is the topic of this FORUM and we invite you to participate in a sensible and responsible manner please. Use your common sense please and refrain from being vulgar or abusive as this wont be tolerated on our website.

This is an important topic and perhaps humanity and mankind will be best served if we can understand each others view points and enter into logic and sensible debate, which can contribute towards a better understanding of each persons opinion.

  • Why do many so called pure conservationists blame ethical hunting so much?The reason is quite simple in our opinion:You have killers and you have ethical hunters!We agree on one thing already – there are many animal killers who don’t deserve the right to even call themselves hunters. They are nothing else than mere butchers and there only interest is to kill and gloat alongside their trophies. Unfortunately the world is still full of these people. They will go to all extremes and pay any amount of money just to have their quarry, irrespective of the consequences.

    These are animal killers (like the worst rhino poachers) who don’t have any ethics and could care less if they shoot the last living member of a specie. They are willing to shoot canned and drugged animals. They could care less about conservation and only care for killing what’s in front of them. They don’t even practice the art of fair chase and getting to experience and cherish nature, all they care for is pulling the trigger and boasting their accomplished shot.

    WHEN CONSERVATION IS NOT THE LONG TERM GOAL – THEN IT IS MERELY KILLING

    There are undoubtedly many such cases in history and unfortunately many co-called legends in the hunting industry boast their accomplishments in history of how many animals (elephants as an example) they have shot merely for their ivory.

    Do we or any other ethical hunter condone or approve of the mass killing of animals?

    Of course not?

    Fortunately, the industry is not just made up of butchering killers and these people in fact, are only a small portion of the industry at large. If this was not the case, we ourselves would vote to stop the hunting of all animals and support conservation at large to rid the world from all hunters.

    However, there is a different story to this whole controversial scenario. Please allow us to explain.

    From the moment mankind put up the first fence in this world, we as humanity have taken the responsibility on us to manage and govern wildlife from that day going forward.

    Animals used to have the freedom to roam about this earth and fend for themselves. They had the freedom to move when necessary and find water and food wherever they could. The moment the first fence was erected that obligation to feed and sustain was left to mankind. We suddenly found ourselves as self appointed custodians of nature.

    We all developed cities, industry, agricultural farms and towns alike. Not the hunters, all of mankind was responsible for this. Why, in order to sustain ourselves!

    Wildlife as it was known, was changed for ever and man infringed on land which wildlife at large used to roam on freely.

    Quite technically we are all to blame and our own growth in numbers has caused the world to change and we encroached on land which was free for all, man and animals alike.

    Fortunately some of our ancestors had the foresight to see this and a number of national parks were created all over the world, to serve as sanctuaries for wildlife. Was this enough though? Could a few national parks in every country suddenly be sufficient to protect previous vast herds of animals from every imaginable specie?

    No of course not.

    Private game parks and game sanctuaries followed as did game farms or areas for hunting purposes. Unfortunately somebody has to pay for these sanctuaries as we are entrusted to manage these sanctuaries. Even the large sanctuaries need to be managed and kept, and all of this costs money. Some of these reserves are well visited by tourists and others are not. Some of these sanctuaries are well funded and others are not. A very small amount of all these sanctuaries are indeed financially self sustainable and in fact most are not. Most rely on hand outs, grants, donations and financial support from elsewhere.

    People talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

    Sure, everybody wants to see wildlife protected for generations to come and easily voice their opinions publicly about this, however, not enough people in this world dig into their own pockets and spend enough money visiting these sanctuaries themselves or donating to them.

    Not enough money is raised to sustain these sanctuaries and thus most border on the verge of bankruptcy and maintain a below needed existence.

    EVEN WITH ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD – THESE SANCTUARIES FACE ANOTHER COMMON CHALLENGE -

    OVER POPULATION!!!

    When animals could roam about freely, there numbers were kept in check by nature itself. Nature took care of over population, through droughts, diseases, carnivores, hunters and over population was naturally in balance. Then came man and then came fences. Entrusted to protect and care for these animals, man ensured that diseases were eliminated, drought and fire was eliminated to great extent as man started interfering and managing nature himself. Hunters were banned and water wells were sunken.

    With no more natural enemy, animals started to flourish and grow in numbers beyond imagination. All was good for man, or so we thought!

    Over population of animals, resulted in less natural food, habitats being destroyed and a bigger problem appeared. An over population of just one specie – ELEPHANTS, saw natural forests in Botswana disappear. The very same animals we are protecting are destroying their own habitat – after all they don’t have a choice and nowhere to go!

    What now? Massive over population of elephants exists in many countries such as Botswana, the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Zimbabwe and nowhere to go? They are destroying their own habitat.

    Do we now get into planes and shoot and kill whole elephant herds (families) just to protect them, or what do we do. This is being done as we speak!!! Elephants are being culled, big and small, defenseless and unnecessary and why? Because we decided to protect them in the first place and fenced them in! They have nowhere to go, no natural enemies and simply outgrow the carrying capacity of the areas they live in.

    Is this humane and what is called conservation?

    National Parks rangers having to shoot and cull the very animals they so love and cared for? The horrible truth is, they have no choice or the elephants would soon destroy themselves, so these animals are shot by the hundreds and culled mercilessly and its done in utmost privacy so that radical conservationists don’t find out about this. It is kept quiet to prevent public outcries but it is nevertheless done, they have no choice!!

  • Is the hate against hunters based on facts or mostly ignorance?It is our opinion that many people who simply criticize and even verbally abuse hunters are mostly ignorant and not even willing to listen to our story.If you are not one of them and if you are a true conservationist, please allow us to explain!Yes, we are hunters. Yes, we shoot animals! Yes, we love our sport.

    But are we all butchers and murderous killers? Are we threatening the very existence of the species we hunt?

    Not by a long chance and only if you allow us the opportunity to explain, will you get a glimpse into reality and start to understand the real truth and how much hunting actually has helped and continues to help conservation at large.

    Many of the game reserves we hunt on and own today, is land which had many years ago been used by settlers as land for farming cattle and crops. These settlers had to fight nature in order to make their own living. Many of these settlers have records indicating existence of thousands of wild animals on their farms when they first arrived there. But to make room for civilization, these farms were cleaned and rid of almost all animals, as wildlife was a threat to domestic animals and of very little value to the old people.

    Millions of acres was rid from wildlife and animals altogether, simply killed to make room for domestic animals and crops. Trees were bulldozed to make room for crops and nature was destroyed to make room for what we refer to as growth and civilization.

    Ironically, radical conservationists do not talk about these old people, the settlers who destroyed millions of acres of nature and also everything that moved or lived on these lands.

    They are heralded in history books alike as being the pioneers! Pioneers which carved their existence into harsh and dangerous landscapes, making room for civilization and people to follow.

    As little as 80 years ago most of these lands or areas abounded with wildlife and nature flourished, however, nature and wildlife was of little financial reward to these old people and posed more threat than benefit, hence man fenced, killed, built and developed what he afterwards proudly showed as his farm.

    Gone was nature, gone were all the wild animals and gone was conservation. All replaced by cows, pigs, goats, horses, sheep, chickens, maize, crops and tractors.

    These were pioneering farmers – the heart of our countries and the people who fed all in the cities – and still do, to this day!

    Can we justifiably criticize them, can we all look on these farmers today and dare bad mouth them? I guess not, because the very food in your mouth comes from these same farms, the very same farms which were home to all the animals of this earth?

    Now we come along – the hunters.

    We buy up these farms, which have all seen better days, as technology has changed and many of these generations of pioneering farmers have disappeared from the scene. We rebuild the farms from scratch and change them back into private game sanctuaries. We take down the cattle fences, we demolish all the shacks, old sheds and cattle pens, we replace cattle, pigs, sheep and goats with all the wildlife which used to roam here before.

    Through proper management we rid the farm of alien plants, we re-establish the land as it was before and we now have more than 4000 wild animals roaming about freely on 25000 acres of unspoilt nature again – just in one of our private reserves.

    We sustain ourselves financially by allowing trophy hunters to come to our private wildlife sanctuaries (which we personally bought, paid for, developed and saved from disaster) and hunt our old & mature male animals, which are beyond their prime productive time. We manage our animal population extremely scientifically as it is the backbone to our business. We only shoot a numbered amount of animals every year. We create jobs for local hungry people, we feed them and we look after our own wildlife sanctuaries as if our lives depend on it – because it does!

    Yet we are ridiculed and blamed for being murderous cowards.

    Cowards, because we put nature first in our lives, rebuilt farms which were destroyed by settlers, re-introduced all the animals which used to roam these lands and protect it for generations to come – yet we are scum?

  • THERE ARE ETHICAL HUNTERS OUT HERE – BELIEVE IT OR NOTYes, we even hunt elephant. Elephant which are destroying their own habitat and killing themselves. If not controlled these very same elephants would have absolutely nothing to eat. They are destroying themselves, only because their are to many of them!What should we do? Allow them to grow in numbers and demolish all the forests which they so desperately depend on? Should we merciless just kill them as Parks do? Or, should we regulate their numbers through controlled and sustainable hunting and at least generate more money for conservation?Should we allow all wildlife animal species to simply flourish beyond control? Should we allow and condone the national park rangers to simply kill and cull whole herds of animals?

    Or should we all take note, face the problem and find sustainable solutions to protect and sustain for generations to come.

    Almost every proud and ethical hunter I know, will go to the ends of the earth and invest their own money to see that wildlife is protected for all generations to follow.

    We are indeed conservationists at heart ourselves and go to extremes to protect the very areas, land and wildlife we hunt on – believe it or not!

HOW CAN WE HELP EACH OTHER

As long as radical conservationists refuse to see both sides of the coin, we will always fight each other instead of fighting for the same cause.

Put nature first – in its entirety – not just the elephant or the lion.

If you love nature as much as we do, then the commando ants, the 200 year old Acasia trees, the little dung beetle, the antelope to the elephant and everything in between, should be as important to you. It takes 5 years to breed and replace a big lion – it takes generations to replace that same old tree.

Look at nature holistically and fight for its existence, no matter where.

If wildlife and nature is flourishing in Public Game Parks, Private Wildlife Sanctuaries or Hunting Reserves, it does not matter – because NATURE IS THE BENEFICIARY AND IS WINNING AGAINST EXTINCTION!

If you succeed in banning hunting at large – YOU WILL DESTROY millions of acres of land, wildlife and nature again!

Think before you criticize and use your money to help fight against corruption, unethical practices and poverty in the world, rather than spending your time and money fighting a perceived threat – the trophy hunter!

The problem is that many innocent people such as you – are victims of corruption yourself!

You are rallied in support of banning hunting, because you are appealed to by so called conservationists trying to ban hunting and in need of your support and money. You are a victim of emotional abuse as they use photos of dead animals to win your heart and not facts to win over your logic.

Most of these people don’t have facts and don’t rely on statistics to sell you into their causes, they use photography and emotional marketing campaigns to solicit support and raise millions & millions of dollars throughout the world.

If you are a true conservationists, open your eyes and your wallet, but not by donating to such so called worthy charities! Take your money and your time and visit these parks, sanctuaries and protected areas yourself.

You will soon realize (especially in Africa) that poverty and corruption is a bigger threat to wildlife and nature, than hunting could ever be!

Millions and millions of dollars are raised for saving some animal specie in Africa every year. (Example – Elephants, Rhino, Lions etc)

These charities seem to be worthy and put the money to some good use, however, if you really want to support your cause, put your mind and time into it and not just your heart:

  • Poverty is our biggest threat.
  • When people have nothing they will do anything.
  • When people do anything you have nothing.
  • Take your money and visit our beloved Africa.
  • Visit our wonderful parks and spend your well earned money on a vacation, not a charity.
  • That is all Africa and all our WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES need – is you!
  • Your presence is worth more than your donation.
  • Your presence creates Jobs.
  • Jobs creates wealth and prosperity.
  • NATURE SAVED!!
  • This is what Trophy Hunters are doing every year!
  • You can do the same in our eco-tourist parks and make a difference – not a noise!

Visit Africa today!

We will support any person who is against the hunting of endangered wildlife species. We will also support and fight any cause against the extinction of our natural forests and wildlife at large, no matter who they are. However, we will also fight any person who does not first hand come and see what we ourselves are doing to protect the very same assets in mention.

Don’t let emotion get the better of your judgement, allow facts and nature to be the winner in this plight – not your heart.

nra

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK TO READ THE LATEST NRA – HUNTERS RIGHTS

http://www.nrahuntersrights.org/

SCI FOR HUNTERS

August 27, 2013 in African Safaris, Conservation, Firearms, Gunroom, hunter, Hunting Ethics, Hunting trophies, Nambia, South Africa, Sport Hunting by Hunting Legends

Hunting Legends

Thank you for supporting Hunting Legends International, by visiting our website:

The debate between hunters and conservationists will always exist, there is no doubt about that. Perhaps the fundamental contribution of ammunition against ethical hunting, is provided by un-ethical hunters themselves. It is and has always been imprtant to identify the rogue’s in our industry and to root them out where ever possible!

It our humble opinion that client’s and visting tourists can actually play a much more important role in this process, and thereby contribute towards removing the fly by nights from this industry.

The obvious way to achieve this, is to not to accept the bad, and the un-ethical services, such vistors or hunters some times encounter. When a tourist or visiting hunter encounters such un-ethical practices during or after his visit, it is important for that person, to take the matter further, and not just to accept it, and write it off as a bad experience.

In this way, relevant authorities and organisations governing or protecting the industry can get to hear of these mal practices, and assist in putting an end to such operators.

Organisations such as SCI (Safari Club International) can play a vital role in such dealings, and also link the hunter up with  the applicable governing authorities.

In order to protect our industry, it is vital for us to stand up against the people doing us the most damage, and sorry to say, it is often players and operators within our own industry that do this.

Help us rid the industry of the foul players, by going public and making their un-ethical practices within the industry known! Help boycot such operators on the trade shows, conventions and media. Help the industry, to help you!

Hunting has conservation role

August 27, 2013 in Conservation, hunter, Hunting Ethics, Hunting trophies by Hunting Legends

Hunting Legends

Hunting ‘has conservation role’

By Elli Leadbeater

Rifle-toting tourists hunting exotic animals could actually help protect Africa’s vulnerable species, a leading conservationist has suggested.Elephant populations had benefited from a permit system that allowed sport hunters to kill a limited number of the beasts, according to Eugene Lapointe.

Mr Lapointe was head of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) between 1982-90.

Animal welfare campaigners rejected the idea as “morally unjustifiable”.

Writing in the BBC News website’s Green Room, Mr Lapointe, president of the International Wildlife Management Consortium (IWMC), said that despite the best efforts of conservationists, the number of threatened species continued to grow.

Silhouette of an African elephant
Elephants are one species to have benefited, Mr Lapointe argues
He suggested that it was time to reconsider bans on hunting: “Unfortunately, most African economies are poor and wildlife conservation has to compete with many pressing demands for public money.”So conservation projects are going to be most successful if they can be self-supporting; in other words, if they can generate income and provide local jobs,” he wrote.

A number of nations in southern Africa had adopted a “sustainable use” philosophy, including Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, he added.

“They have issued permits to sport hunters to kill a limited number of elephants that are pre-selected according to factors like age and sex. They cannot shoot breeding animals, for example,” Mr Lapointe explained.

As a result, these nations had well-stocked and healthy elephant populations and poaching was not a major problem, he observed.

Green Room graphic (Image: BBC)Read Eugene Lapointe’s Green Room article
Costly conservationThe idea of “trophy hunting” being a weapon in the conservationists’ armoury to protect vulnerable species was supported by Peter Lindsey from the University of Zimbabwe.

“Realistically, for conservation to succeed, wildlife has to pay for itself in Africa,” Dr Lindsey told a recent meeting at London Zoo.

“If local people do not benefit, it is usually lost.”

Trophy hunting involves allowing high-paying guests to shoot in the company of a professional hunting guide. Each hunter pays, on average, 10-20 times more than most eco-tourists would for their holiday.

He said that it could encourage landowners to accommodate and protect threatened wildlife in areas that do not appeal to most eco-tourists because they are politically unstable, too remote, or simply less scenic.

In South Africa, landowners were given permission to allow shooting of excess male white rhinos once the species began to recover after a sharp decline.

This gave landowners an incentive to buy and provide land for the rhinos, and this is thought to have significantly accelerated their recovery.

Dr Lindsey, who is not a hunter, carried out research to assess both the positive and negative effects of hunting on conservation.

He found that the industry is not without setbacks. Estimates of how many animals can be shot without threatening the population are sometimes based on guesswork, because no research data is available.

Irresponsible lodge owners, who allowed illegal and unethical practises, such as hunting caged animals or shooting from cars, posed a severe threat to the industry’s prospects.

Hunters also needed to find ways to make sure that the money from rich tourists did not end up in overseas bank accounts, but reached local communities, he added.

‘Unjustifiable’

These concerns were shared by animal welfare groups. International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) spokeswoman Rosa Hill called the idea of shooting elephants and rhinos “morally unjustifiable”.

“There is very little evidence that the funds raised from killing wildlife are ploughed back into conservation,” she said.

“There are also biological reasons why trophy hunting is not a good idea. Generally, hunters want to kill the biggest, strongest and fittest animals and this can have disastrous implications for the species.

Ms Hill said a lack of knowledge about how many animals there were and how the creatures behaved could result in a sudden population crash.

“Trophy hunting quotas are not set with proper knowledge of true population sizes, so it can be difficult to measure a species’ decline,” she explained.

But Dr Lindsey believed that the overall shortfalls did not outweigh the conservation benefits.

He said: “The industry’s not perfect, and we have to work on the problems; but there is no question in my mind that if hunting were to be banned, the conservation consequences in Africa would be dire.”

It is evident from this article that extreme conservationists and ‘the professional hunting fraternity’ still do not see eye to eye on this matter.

What puzzle’s me most is the ignorance of Ms Hill, and her belief that we as ‘professional hunters’ are just in it for the killing of the biggest and the best!

I cannot however share her doubt, that there still are several un-ethical and inexprienced operators in the industry. In perhaps any industry, there are and always will be fly by nights, not to mention even in conservation cirlces.

The fact however, is that conservation and breeding sustainable animal populations are even more important to us, than to Ms Hill perhaps. Our very lively hood depends on how we manage our wildlife and resources, and we thus cannot afford to kill every big thing that comes across our sights. Contrary to what Ms Hill may believe it is also not always the biggest animals who have the best genes, and do the best job in nature. Perhaps Ms Hill will be pleasantly surprised to find that there are companies like Real Africa Safari Holdings, which takes pride in our operations, and take conservation very seriously.

If we don’t breed and see to it that we protect our gene pool’s, we won’t have any trophy hunters knocking on our doors soon!

We believe and maintain that conservationists and hunters can find an amicable solution and strategy together, for the benefit of conservation and wildlife.

On a one on one basis, our customers and ourselves, out spend almost any conservationist’s annual budget in developing our own wildlife resources.

Why should we as ethical and professional hunters, thus always put up with the grunt and disdain of some conservationists. We are proud of our sport and proud of the fact that we invest more than we harvest!

Share your comments with us please, by simply hitting the comment button below and there you go!

 

 

Dr Peter Lindsey with lion
 There’s no question in my mind that if hunting were to be banned, the conservation consequences in Africa would be dire
Dr Peter Lindsey
African Elephant (Image: BBC)
Elephants that trample crops are often shot or poisoned by locals

Trophy Hunting Can Help African Conservation, Study Says

August 27, 2013 in African Safaris, Conservation, hunter, Hunting Ethics, Hunting trophies, Nambia, South Africa, Sport Hunting by Hunting Legends

 Hunting Legends

 

John Pickrell for National Geographic News
March 15, 2007

Trophy hunting can play an essential role in the conservation of African wildlife, according to a growing number of biologists. Now some experts are calling for a program to regulate Africa’s sport-hunting industry to ensure its conservation benefits.

070315-hunting-africa_big
According to a recent study, in the 23 African countries that allow sport hunting, 18,500 tourists pay over $200 million (U.S.) a year to hunt lions, leopards, elephants, warthogs, water buffalo, impala, and rhinos.

Private hunting operations in these countries control more than 540,000 square miles (1.4 million square kilometers) of land, the study also found. That’s 22 percent more land than is protected by national parks. As demand for land increases with swelling human populations, some conservationists are arguing that they can garner more effective results by working with hunters and taking a hand in regulating the industry.

Sport hunting can be sustainable if carefully managed, said Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist with the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, who led the recent study. “Trophy hunting is of key importance to conservation in Africa by creating [financial] incentives to promote and retain wildlife as a land use over vast areas,” he said. In an upcoming edition of the journal Conservation Biology Lindsey and an international team of colleagues call for a plan to increase the conservation benefits of sport hunting, including a certification program to more tightly regulate the industry.

“To justify the continued existence of [protected] areas in the context of increasing demand for land, wildlife has to pay for itself and contribute to the economy, and hunting provides an important means of achieving this,” Lindsey said. Hunting’s Checkered Past In order to be certified under Lindsey’s proposed plan, hunting operations would have to prove their commitment to animal welfare, careful management of hunting quotas, wide-ranging conservation objectives, and the development of local communities. “The time has come for greater scrutiny from scientists to promote maximum conservation benefits from hunting,” Lindsey said.

“There should also be a greater effort from the hunting industry to self-regulate and ensure that unscrupulous elements are weeded out.” Trophy hunting has a bad reputation in the developed world, due in part to indiscriminate hunting by early European settlers, Lindsey observed.

natgeo

 

Reckless hunting resulted in the extinction of species such as the quagga (a cousin of the zebra) and led to the massive decline of others, including the elephant and black rhinoceros.

But hunting has also been credited with facilitating the recovery of species, Lindsey’s team argues in its paper. The southern white rhinoceros grew from just 50 animals a century ago to over 11,000 wild individuals today, because hunts gave game ranchers a financial incentive to reintroduce the animal, the authors write.

Trophy hunting has also driven the reintroduction of cape mountain zebra and black wildebeest in South Africa, Lindsey said. Hunters typically take just 2 to 5 percent of males annually from hunted animal populations, he added, which has a negligible effect on the populations’ reproductive health. Opposition Remains Many animal rights groups remain fundamentally opposed to killing animals for sport.

“The idea of trophy hunting as a conservation method is an extremely tricky and contentious issue that generates disparate views from people all of whom claim to want the best for animals,” said Marc Bekoff a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder and author of The Emotional Lives of Animals. Bekoff said that while the certification program is a good idea, he has difficulty believing it could work well in practice, because the bureaucracies involved in such regulation would be complex.

“It’s hard to believe that the situation has reached the point where killing is the best way to conserve,” he said. “There have to be more humane alternatives.” In late February South Africa announced long-awaited legislation against so-called canned hunting, in which animals are shot in cages or are tranquilized and released shortly before being gunned down. The ban will take effect June 1 under a law that also bans hunting with bows and arrows.

Please share your thoughts and comments with us on this paper, by submitting your comments below. Real Africa Safari Holdings is proud of our role we play in conservation, and believe that we as professional, and ethical hunters have made a huge impact on conserving wildlife in the area’s we manage – for generations to come.