Two surveys this year, both in South Africa and internationally, show a widespread rejection of trophy hunting. The global survey comes with a warning that hunting is harming the country as a wildlife tourism destination.
Despite growing opposition to trophy hunting, foreign hunters, primarily Americans, continue to flock to shoot and kill every conceivable species of animal, from squirrels, African wild cats and blue duikers to the rarer hartebeest. of Liechtenstein and the largest, such as elephants. and hippos. They even target endangered anteaters.
Between 2016 and 2020, poachers killed a staggering 174,000 animals in South Africa.
World Animal Protection (WAP) commissioned research that surveyed 10,900 people from around the world, including international tourists from countries that visit South Africa most frequently, as well as South African citizens. It found universal opposition to blood sports and a strong desire to fund wildlife protection through non-lethal alternatives like responsible tourism.
Key findings of the investigation showed:
- At least 84% of international tourists agree that the South African government should prioritize wildlife-friendly tourism over trophy hunting.
- At least 74% agreed that making trophy hunting a key pillar of policy will damage South Africa’s reputation and 72% would refuse to visit the country altogether.
- Seven out of 10 South African citizens agreed that their country would be a more attractive tourist destination if trophy hunting were banned.
- Three-quarters of South African citizens agreed that trophy hunting was unacceptable when wildlife-friendly tourism alternatives had not been fully utilized.
A Humane Society International/Africa survey of 599 people, conducted in all provinces, also found considerable objections to trophy hunting among all race and gender groups, six language groups, and a range of ages and family incomes, both urban and rural.
Opposition to trophy hunting continued to grow since their survey (2020), with a 4% increase in opposition to trophy hunting overall, bringing opposition levels among the adult population of South Africa to 68%.
World Animal Protection welcomed the May 2021 recommendations from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) to stop the domestication of captive lions, as well as the phasing out of the commercial captive lion industry. But he said progressive steps had apparently stalled, with little progress in the following year.
The HSI/Africa survey was extremely detailed, delving into views on hunting a number of iconic animals. The percentages of people who opposed trophy hunting were:
All trophy hunting: 68%
Canned Lion Hunt: 65%
Giraffes — 67%
Objections to foreign hunters exporting trophies of elephants, black rhinos and leopards exceeded 60%.
In terms of race, the highest objection to trophy hunting came from Indians (91%), followed by Whites (73%), Mestizos (70%) and Blacks (66%). There was roughly a 50-50 parity between the genders.
The survey noted that opposition to trophy hunting is strongest among the younger age group (15-17) at 79%, compared to 68% of those aged 25-34. This trend was consistent across all results.
There were clear regional differences in opposition to canned lion hunting, with it being by far the lowest among Free State residents (36%), possibly due to the high level of hunting and captive breeding of wild animals in the region.
“Our new survey shows beyond any doubt,” said HSI/Africa Wildlife Specialist Dr. Matthew Schurch, “that the majority of South Africans reject the unjustifiable practice of trophy hunting, including canned lion hunting. , and opposition to trophy hunting continues to grow.
SA government ‘out of step’
“The South African government is out of step with public opinion because it allows people to hunt wild animals in order to collect their remains to decorate their homes. Trophy hunting does not contribute significantly to conservation.
“In South Africa, a third of CITES-listed mammal hunting trophies are captive-bred animals. This senseless killing of wild animals is not only cruel and unethical, but an embarrassment to mark South Africa.”
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Commenting on the results of World Animal Protection’s survey, its wildlife campaign manager, Edith Kabesiime, said it was clear the public understood that “the life of a wild animal is worth much more than the trophy it is reduced to.” With a lot of frequency”.
This view was shared by tourists, who come to see wildlife alive and thriving, as well as South Africans who “want to see incredible wildlife on their doorstep, properly protected, humanely and ethically”.
The surveys coincide with South Africa’s White Paper on animal welfare and the sustainable use of biodiversity and a call for a committee to discuss the closure of lion farms. But in the bipolar way that environmental policy in South Africa seems to specialize, this coincided with the theme of the Department of the Environment’s Draft Bushmeat Strategy which aims to double consumption of bushmeat by 2030. seen as a threat to the genetic health of wildlife. and the possibility of breeding in wildlife feedlots.
Dear Minister Creecy, your Game Meat Strategy puts the cart before the horse and you must delay
According to professional hunter records provided by DFFE, the annual number of foreign trophy hunters entering South Africa averaged around 8,000 (apart from 2020, due to the pandemic).
Between 2016 and 2020, 173,822 wild animals of 83 species were killed. Most of the hunters came from the United States (4,614 in 2019); the rest, in descending order, from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Canada, Sweden, Mexico and Russia.
A sample of his trophies now mounted or hanging on the walls include:
anteater — 21
Baboon – 1,655
Eared Fox — 56
Buffalo – 4258
Tie — 84
Giraffe — 1,340
ground squirrel — 37
hippopotamus — 285
Honey Badger — 194
Jackal – 1,185
Should — 12,637
Leon – 1,636
polecat — 17
rhinoceros — 275
Samango Monkey — 29
Sable antelope – 4,885
Gazelle — 10,587
Dog – 53
Enlisted Monkey – 913
Boar — 17,749
Wildebeest — 12,282
Zebra — 10,223
daily hipster obtained a list of average prices per species for 2019, indicating what foreigners are willing to pay to hunt in South Africa. Here are some examples:
Baboon — $248
Cheetah — $5,000
Elephant — $26,500
Giraffe — $3,000
Hyena — $3,500
Leopard — $7,830
Leon — $10,000
Cape Clawless Otter – $100
Sable antelope – $5,414
Ground Squirrel — $50
Boar — $448
Hartman’s Zebra — $2,260
Ostrich — $766
Crocodile — $5,700
Emu — $500
Camel — $500
“The government needs to listen to the South African voices who clearly don’t want their wildlife heritage to be further plundered and want to see change,” Kabesiime said.
“Continuing to make wild animals shoot at targets at the mercy of wealthy Westerners is obsolete in a world where public attitudes are changing rapidly.”
He said that without taking a strong stand, South Africa was depriving itself of the oxygen of creative thought to identify, incentivize and implement non-lethal alternatives to conserve wildlife.
“Wildlife has the right to a wildlife free from cruel commercial exploitation. We need to respect and protect them.” MD/OBP