Keith Somerville

Born Free has come out with another campaign-based critique of trophy hunting. Same tired old arguments, cherry-picking examples to find a single, unconvincing case study and an economic narrative based on the unrealistic national macro-economic approach of how much does it contribute nationally; that is not and never has been the economic criteria that has any relevance to the contribution made by hunting to local economies and in terms of best land use for local development and conservation.

This a very weak report with the same old “how much does it contribute to national GDP” argument. Nobody has ever seriously argued that it is a major contributor to GDP. This is a straw man. What is important is local income generation and whether trophy hunting is the best land use strategy to preserve bio-diversity. These are not addressed.

The figures and case study are carefully cherry-picked to find an area where people feel they don’t benefit. Why not look at Namibia? It also claims trophy hunters take trophies and meat. What is the evidence they take the meat? None. You cannot export fresh game meat in that way and trophy hunters don’t eat a buffalo on the spot. The meat generally goes to local people, either free or at a lower price than locally available meat.

Ask people in Botswana who gained direct, substantial income from selling hunting quotas and got the meat until Khama’s moratorium impoverished them, about the comparison between selling the quotas and leasing land for hunting and tourism leasing, where income goes to government boards and not local people. And under tourism, no meat produced but higher level of pollution and land degradation with no corresponding local economic gain.

There is no attempt to assess what happens if you close hunting concessions – most will not become eco-tourism areas as they are just not suitable. If you ban regulated hunting, human-wildlife conflict will increase, people will increase bushmeat hunting or land will go to marginal cultivation or pastoralism with loss of wildlife and huge conflict with wildlife.

V naive and narrowly-based report that totally fails to make the case. Same old cracked record on the turntable.