Hunting as active protection of species and nature conservation
For many who have not dealt intensively with the subject of hunting and the corresponding conditions in many countries on the ground, it may sound like a total contradiction that hunting and the protection of nature and species in many places go hand in hand. On this page, I would just like to give a rough overview of what types of projects are supported by domestic and foreign hunting, which has a positive impact on both the flora and fauna and the population in each region.
Field trees as a retreat for game and various species of birds
Germany / Europe – Creating hedges, copses and grapevines
In Germany as well as many other European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, … and Russia, hunters spend a very high number of hours each year in the work to create hedgerows as well as wilderness areas. This time and often high financial investment not only provides the existing game with a suitable source of food, but also supports various other animal and plant species to develop. The wild meadows are an Eldorado for insects such as bees and the hedges provide protection and breeding opportunities for a variety of bird species. In today’s commercial forests as well as large-scale agriculture, the green spaces created by hunters often provide the last opportunities for many animal and plant species to withdraw.
Rhinos from the rhinoserve in South Africa, which is supported by trophy hunting
South Africa – Rhino reserve is supported by hunting for plains game
South Africa is a very good example where conservation organizations go hand in hand with hunting to preserve protected wildlife. The cooperation goes so far that the hunt for antelopes in a rhinoreerve partially covers the costs of gamekeepers, feed and other purchases. This rhinoserve is run by one of the largest and best-known global wildlife conservation organizations, which has recognized that shooting a few antelopes, of their overstock, is a good way to protect the rhinos.
This example shows that ethical hunting and conservation need not be in conflict and that this is recognized by nature conservation associations. For the protection of the rhinos, the trophy hunting is an indispensable size, which brought a total of 35.5 million US dollars for the protection of rhinos from 2008 to 2011 (source wwf.de). Professional hunters’ organizations such as PHASA in South Africa and NAPHA in Namibia work together with local and global nature conservation organizations in many areas and fight together for the preservation of wildlife.
Elephant group from Zimbabwe / Matetsi, the rangers for their protection are financed by the hunt
Africa – national park and game protection thanks to hunting tourism
Poaching is a very common problem in Africa. A distinction must be made here between poaching for food and commercial poaching for trophies for sale, such as elephants. The protection against poaching in both cases costs money and much education in the local population. Without the resources that come to Africa through legal trophy hunting, combating poaching as it is today in many countries would be impossible. In Zimbabwe, e.g. For every hunt in the state concession areas, in addition to the professional hunter, a government ranger is on hand to document exactly what is being killed. In this way, on the one hand prevents game is shot without a license on the other hand patrolling these rangers in the hunt at the same time for Wilderen trying to illegally kill wild animals. In addition to the rangers who are traveling with the hunting guests, in Zimbabwe in all state areas covert anti-poaching units are on the move, which control in the areas. Many of these units are fund
ed by state revenue from trophy hunting, so hunting tourism directly co-finances wildlife conservation.
A negative counterexample what happens when the legal hunt is stopped, can be seen in Zambia and Botswana. When I visited Matetsi in Zimbabwe in 2014, I learned from the ranger who accompanied us that a group of poachers had been hired the day before. This group came with more than 20 tusks from Botswana and wanted to march back through Zimbabwe to Zambia. During the interrogation, one of the poachers said that they would not poach in Zimbabwe, but go to Botswana, as Botswana has now stopped the hunt and therefore fewer game protectors are on the way. The poaching here is purely the intention to make a profit from the sale, with the backers usually sitting far away in Asia.
In addition to the commercial poaching, the meat game has a significant impact on the wildlife and here also supports the legal trophy hunting on site. Thanks to the trophy hunt and the usually made donations, of the meat killed by the hunting guest, to the local population by the farmers, the meat game could be greatly reduced. Like also an article in the “general newspaper” from Windhoerk / Namibia from 7.3.2016 occupied. “If trophy hunting is prohibited, we have no income and poaching, we got under control, dramatically increase again,” the chairman of the municipal Hege area Bamunu, Chunga Chunga and the technical adviser, John Musa Mwilima said. (Source AZ on 03/07/2016 http://www.az.com.na/natur-umwelt/jagdstopp-bedeutet-mehr-wilderei.429918) in the conservancy Bamunu revenues were hunting tourism of 50000 N $ in 2011 to $ 835000N in This money goes directly to the local people, partly directly to the attached villages, and the other part is used to pay the wages of the gamekeepers and administration (source AZ 7.3.16). because on the one hand the population is no longer dependent on poaching and on the other active activists are paid from the hunting revenues.
These are just two examples of many demonstrating that trophy hunting, which operates within a controlled framework, helps protect species and ensures that endangered species such as elephants, … are protected.
Leopard in Namibia photographed an oryx carcase
Namibia – Leopard protection through legal hunting
Namibia is a very good example of how legal trophy hunting can help protect the leopard. The stock of leopards in Namibia is very good depending on the region which leads to problems in the everyday life of the farmers. Leopards do not only feed on the wildlife, but more and more they travel over cattle on the farms, which are a very easy prey. This sometimes leads to large losses of farmers, which, unlike the wolf practice in Germany for leopard tears are not compensated. As a result, many farmers targeted the leopard to minimize casualties and saw the leopards as just pests to remove. The unrecorded number of leopard shootings in the country without export went up especially in the years in which Namibia had stopped the hunt for the big cats, as the leopards lost their “value” to the farmers. Here today the legal hunt helps to contain this practice. Since the legal trophy hunt earns the farmer money on the leopard, he can usually offset the losses in the cattle with the income, which does not force him to pursue the leopard. With this practice, trophy hunting actively supports the protection of the big cats as it minimizes their shooting and at the same time offsets the losses of the cattle to the local farmer. At the same time, the meat of the leopard is also eaten by the local population, so that there is a complete utilization of the animal and proving the hunt next to the farmer and the local tribes.
In 2016, Namibia had been assigned 250 leopards licenses from cites (source: https://cites.org/), of which only half are actually hunted and exported by hunters.
Oryx herd one of the most common antelope species in Namibia
Namibia – Trophy Hunt supports local missionary schools
Namibia as an old German colony today has many influences from that time, in particular, there are some schools and missions in which the children of the local population are taught or orphans, whose parents have died, for example, by AIDS, grow up. These mission schools live on donations, some of them from Germany, but most of all rely on the support of local farmers, who donate some game to schools. Here trophy hunting plays a crucial role as the game shot by the hunting guest is delivered directly to the school, which then receives it for the care of the children. I myself had a picture here, during one of the stays in Namibia near Outjo. The game we had killed during the hunt during the day was then driven directly to the school, where we were eagerly awaited by a large number of children. Here the game was dissected by the missionary butcher immediately. Every week, this school needs a complete oryx to eat the students, which would not be possible without the trophy hunt and donation from the farmers. In addition to the meat donation, missions have additional land on which they hunt the farmers as a kind of lease. In this case, the missions will also receive the meat and in addition per hunting day a certain amount of money in turn paid by the hunting guest, so that the mission has not only food but also further income from the trophy hunt. Thus, the hunt directly benefits the local population on the ground and provides active development aid, whereby the donation goes directly to the needy without half of the donations being spent on administering the aid organization.
Impact of hunting tourism in Africa
For the population in many countries in southern Africa trophy hunting is the livelihood. In South Africa alone, about 70,000 people now make their living in connection with the legal trophy hunt. Most of these come from rural areas that offer little other living opportunities. In order for this hunt to proceed in line with the existing stock, quotas are calculated and licenses issued based on the stock sizes (source wwf.de). This ensures that the trophy hunt has no effect on the stocks. On the contrary, the game stocks in both Namibia and South Africa have recovered and partly increased significantly thanks to the hunting. TRAFFIC, an association of WWF and IUCN to monitor sustainable trade in wild plants and animals, also confirms that legally supervised trophy hunting is an essential pillar of conservation (source wwf.de, traffic.org). In Namibia, state-sponsored hunting tourism is one of the biggest sources of income. The hunt offers whole families a home, so usually the families of the farm employees live on the farms and have their own houses, so that not only the / the worker but also their families are supplied with and get flat / food. At the same time, many of the workers send part of their money back to their other relatives in their original villages, so that they too benefit indirectly from the hunt.
Hunting offers job opportunities in many ways, such as professional hunters, trackers, skinners or gardeners / cooks on the farms, but also the further processing of trophies and meat offers opportunities such as butchers, taxidermists, freight forwarders and game dealers. This is just a small selection of professions that directly or indirectly depend on trophy hunting in Africa. Meanwhile, some countries have already recognized that the hunt had stopped, that this did not have the desired effect and they go back to the controlled hunting back to turn back. Examples are Zambia and Botswana, which allows hunting on private land again. Even Kenya, which has been closed for years and now has a large part of its wildlife populated by poaching, has already publicly considered whether it should not reopen the hunt to protect the game stocks.
Legal hunting at home and abroad has a positive effect on the population and the countryside in many respects, as long as it is carried out under the rules and ethical values set for it. It can serve as a bridge builder between different groups and, especially abroad, very often goes hand in hand with nature conservation associations and also with species conservation. Unfortunately, there are also black sheep in the hunting area, which through their non-ethical behavior bring a whole group into action, as we see in Africa by the commercial poaching on rhinos and elephants or the hunt for protected species, without the providers corresponding licenses to have.