Hunting and bunny huggers: Who is destroying the wildlife?

2019-03-05 12:22:57

Hunting and conservationI myself have never shot an animal, I don't need to hunt but have no objection to hunting for any reason as long as the hunt is ethical. I have worked on a few game ranches and have been responsible for throwing a client off of the ranch and sending the Professional Hunter to do his fucking job and to not come back without the carcass when an animal was wounded.

At the same farm I instituted a prove that you can shoot before you go near the animals policy. I had clients spend two days on the range getting their eye in before they went anywhere near the bush. I am not anti hunting, but am most assuredly not pro animal cruelty either.

Ethical hunting is important to me, no lights, no hunting off the back of a bakkie. If you plan on shooting something tracking on foot, and working for the kill is a requirement. Allowing the animal every weapon in it's arsenal that it was gifted to evade and elude a hunter seems to me not only fair, but a more ethical way of getting the biltong, trophy or pelt.

If you want to hunt a Lion or Springbok, be there where you can be got as well. Hunting is only a skill if you have to track and stealthily find the prey. This is as nature intended, not chasing it to exhaustion with a vehicle and administering a coup de grace. If you wound an animal and it takes a week to track it and stop the suffering, don't come back to the lodge and expect hospitality before the task is done.

In an ideal world the only hunting that would be done would be for the pot, but people who hunt for the pot don't want a set of horns that are a record, They don't want to mount a trophy on the den wall and they don't spend what trophy hunters do. A hunt for the pot may see a total of R 5000 spent for a weekend hunting. A trophy hunter may spend R 500 000 to hunt one of the big 5. and anything in the region of 5 - 10x the amount a biltong hunter will spend.

Hunting will end the day people are willing to pay as much to photograph a Springbok as a hunter will pay to turn it into Biltong. The profit motive drives any farmer. If game is as profitable to ranch as cattle, people will be game ranchers, If the profit incentive is taken away they will farm cattle and cabbages. People will not run game ranches if it means losing the farm.

There is also only so much call for luxury game ranches. You reach a point of saturation and a point here the normal man cannot afford to visit. I have been fortunate and have seen first hand the luxury of some of these places, but in both cases I was being paid to be there and didn't get to do the breakfast game drive or the sun downer drives more than once.

Places like Thornybush, Londolozi and the like earn good profits for their shareholders, but they have to have very high occupancy rates at costs that most of us can only dream of spending on a night's accommodation. Every hunter outspends those guests by a large margin. I'll leave stats to someone else but every dollar spent by eco tourists.

South Africa earned over 1 billion Rand in 2013 from the hunting industry with 44 000 animals being hunted for trophies that year. These figures exclude indirect income like taxidermy, trophy shipping and other income, It doesn't even include the costs of hunting permits. Only 8500 trophy hunters are responsible for that spend.

The average spend by 9.5 million tourists to SA is 323 billion which is an average spend of R 34000 per capita. Most of this is spent on accommodation and not all tourists to SA spend time in the wild. That figure includes travel costs, flights and local tour guides and tours. The average trophy hunter spends 112000.00 at a game ranch, and some extra on travel, guides, accommodation away from the hunting camps. They are part of that 323 billion spend.

The animals on Hunting farms are not subjected to 1000's of tourists gawking at them, The facilities on the hunting farms tend to be not set up for 100 tourists a day, They can comfortably handle a hunting party of less than 20 people, which would include family and non hunters.

The important thing to know though is that on these hunting ranches Animals are bred and kept away from hunters till they achieve trophy sizes, On every Ha of land that these animals roam an average of more than 2000 species coexist from ants to trees. I have heard figures as high as 4000 species per Ha. None of that conservation would happen if the profit motive was reduced from Game ranching.

Kenya banned hunting in 1977, The populations of wildlife species have declined to one third of their numbers prior to the ban. The hunting income and profit motive was removed and the hunters and breeders moved elsewhere, Live stock has moved in and with growing live stock numbers, less land is available to wildlife.

Poaching increased as well, but nobody is protecting the young, the pregnant so the birth rates and survival to adulthood has also decreased. In Botswana a hunting ban was instituted in the North in 2014. Botswana saw a decrease in tourism, an increase in poaching, and a reversal of positive attitudes toward wildlife conservation in local communities, The local populace were pro animal conservation when there was hunting because they benefited from the hunting, Now they see the elephant and buffalo as destructive forces on their fields and Lions as entering their kraals at night to kill live stock and the odd human.

From a quick Google search we can find articles about the decline in Elephant numbers, and if elephant are declining so are the other species in the eco system
Red Lechwe numbers are definitely declining in the Chobe. Wild dogs are killed indescriminately by subsistence farmers because of livestock predation. No Profit = No wildlife.

In South Africa wildlife numbers are increasing despite the 8500.00 trophy hunters a year. Communities near the hunting lodges gain indirect benefits, like the meat of the hunted animals and jobs. Poaching is reduced by involving the communities and giving them a reason to support the wildlife conservation efforts.

Lion numbers are growing because game ranchers are breeding them to cater to future hunts, The only problem I see is the act of canned hunting, This activity should be stopped. It is not ethical hunting keeping animals in cages, teaching them that man supplies food, letting them out onto a few Ha of fenced in ground and calling that a hunt.

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