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Importance of hunting as a conservation tool

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Potential for certification of hunting operators to improve the conservation role of trophy hunting in Africa P.A. Lindsey, R.R. Alexander, L.G. Frank, A. Mathieson, S.S. Romañach & R. Woodroffe.

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Potential for certification of hunting operators to improve the conservation role of trophy hunting in Africa

P.A. Lindsey, R.R. Alexander, L.G. Frank, A. Mathieson, S.S. Romañach & R. Woodroffe

We found that clients are generally less willing to hunt under conditions where conservation objectives might be compromised than operators believed:

Figure 2. Willingness of clients to hunt under various conditions, and operators perceptions of clients’ willingness to hunt (* where trophy animals are released onto a property immediately prior to a hunt)

4. A survey of internet advertisements by hunting operators

(n=179)

Most advertising relies heavily on depiction of trophies

Few operators mention size of area, fencing status, wilderness qualities to area or advertise features of biodiversity other than those related to trophies

Few operators advertise contributions to conservation or community development (though virtually all claim to make some such contributions)

Thus inexperienced clients are probably unable to select among operators in terms of issues related to conservation

5. Potential for certification to boost conservation role of trophy hunting

Clients are concerned with experiencing wilderness and aspects of biodiversity other than those related to trophies.

They are also less willing to hunt under conditions where conservation objectives are compromised than operators think.

If hunting operators were scored in terms of their commitment to conservation and community development, our data suggest that clients would select for certified operators.

Certification could thus create incentives for operators to hunt in a “conservation friendly” manner

3. A survey of attitudes of hunting clients (n=150) and hunting

operators (n=127)

What factors are important to clients when purchasing hunts?

  • Importance of hunting as a conservation tool
  • Generates incentives for retention of wildlife as a land use over ~1,400,000 km2 in sub-Saharan Africa on private, state, communal land
  • Generates gross revenues of >US$195,000,000 per year, including key income for several community conservation schemes
  • Revenues generated in areas where alternative wildlife-based land uses (e.g. ecotourism) are often not viable
  • Theoretically sustainable (typically 2-5% of male populations)
  • Generates revenues from and for threatened/endangered species conservation (e.g. white rhinos in South Africa)
  • High retention of revenues by host countries relative to tourism
  • 2. Problems associated with trophy hunting as a conservation tool
  • Ethical problems
  • Canned hunting, hunting animals released onto ranches immediately prior to hunts, hunting from vehicles, using baits and spotlights, etc
  • Social problems
  • Corruption; hard to ensure that communities benefit adequately, etc
  • Biological problems
  • Hard to regulate off-takes in huge remote areas
  • Quotas often based on guesswork
  • Hunting causes disruption of social systems for some species
  • Some ranchers are intolerant of predators perceived to compete for trophies (e.g. cheetahs and wild dogs)
  • Others introduce exotic species or manipulate genetics to increase diversity of trophies

Figure 1. Importance of various factors to clients when selecting a hunting area, and operators perceptions of the importance of each factor (0=low importance, 5=high importance)

In addition to quality trophies, clients desire large, wilderness hunting areas,

and to experience aspects of biodiversity not related to hunting

Large hunting areas (p=0.06), a wilderness feel to the hunting area

(p<0.01), and the potential to view cheetahs (p< 0.01) were more important

to clients than operators realize

Conversely, a guarantee of obtaining the trophy during the hunt was less

important to clients than operators thought (p=0.02).

87% of clients would be more likely to buy a hunt if a proportion of

proceeds went to local communities

Next, we looked at the willingness of clients to hunt under conditions

potentially detrimental to conservation objectives

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