Science

Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity

 

Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, pp. 874

Trophy hunting is under pressure: There are high-profile campaigns to ban it, and several governments have legislated against it (1). In the United States, the CECIL Act (2) would prohibit lion and elephant trophy imports from Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and restrict imports of species listed as threatened or endangered on the Endangered Species Act. Australia, the Netherlands, and France have also restricted trophy imports (1), and the United Kingdom is under pressure to follow. Calls for hunting bans usually cite conservation concerns. However, there is compelling evidence that banning trophy hunting would negatively affect conservation.

In African trophy hunting countries, more land has been conserved under trophy hunting than under national parks (3), and ending trophy hunting risks land conversion and biodiversity loss (4). Poorly managed trophy hunting can cause local population declines (5), but unless better land-use alternatives exist, hunting reforms—which have proved effective (6)—should be prioritized over bans (7). Positive population impacts of well-regulated hunting have been demonstrated for many species, including rhinos, markhor, argali, bighorn sheep, and many African ungulates (7).

Embedded Image

Banning trophy hunting can have unintended consequences for species such as lions.

PHOTO: KEN SILLS

Trophy hunting can also provide income for marginalized and impoverished rural communities (7). Viable alternatives are often lacking; opponents of hunting promote the substitution of photo-tourism, but many hunting areas are too remote or unappealing to attract sufficient visitors (8). Species such as lions fare worst in areas without photo-tourism or trophy hunting (9), where unregulated killing can be far more prevalent than in hunting zones, with serious repercussions for conservation and animal welfare (10). Focusing on trophy hunting also distracts attention from the major threats to wildlife.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global conservation authority, clearly concludes that “with effective governance and management trophy hunting can and does have positive impacts” on conservation and local livelihoods (7). Although there is considerable room for improvement, including in governance, management, and transparency of funding flows and community benefits (11), the IUCN calls for multiple steps to be taken before decisions are made that restrict or end trophy hunting programs (7). Crucially, as African countries call for a “New Deal” for rural communities (12) that allows them to achieve the self-determination to sustainably manage wildlife and reduce poverty, it is incumbent on the international community not to undermine that. Some people find trophy hunting repugnant (including many of us), but conservation policy that is not based on science threatens habitat and biodiversity and risks disempowering and impoverishing rural communities.

Supplementary Materials for
Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity
Amy Dickman, Rosie Cooney, Paul J. Johnson*, Maxi Pia Louis, Dilys Roe,
and 128 signatories
*Corresponding author. Email: paul.johnson@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Published 30 August 2019, Science 365, 874 (2019)
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0735

Full list of signatories for “Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity” by Amy Dickman, Rosie
Cooney, Paul J. Johnson, Maxi Pia Louis, Dilys Roe
1. Aaron Nicholas, Wildlife Conservation Society, Tanzania
2. Adam G. Hart, University of Gloucestershire, UK
3. Agostinho Jorge, Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
4. Alayne Cotterill, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
5. Alexandra Zimmerman, Chair, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
6. Amy Hinks, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
7. Amy Hinsley, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
8. Ana Grau, Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
9. Andrew Jacobson, Catawba College Salisbury, NC 28144 USA.
10. Andrew James Hearn, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
11. Andrew Parker, Vice President of Strategy & Programs, Africa Division, Conservation
International
12. Angus Middleton, Executive Director, Namibia Nature Foundation, Namibia
13. Arash Ghoddousi, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany
14. Asser Ndjiteuza, %Khaodi//Hoas Conservancy Chairperson, Namibia
15. Axel Moehrenschlager, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Translocation
Specialist Group, and Centre for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Calgary,
Alberta, Canada
16. BenJee Cascio, Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
17. Brian Child, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Center for Africa Studies,
University of Florida, USA
18. Byron Du Preez, Jesus College, University of Oxford, UK
19. Catherine E. Semcer, Research Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center, USA
20. Charles Jones Nsonkali, OKANI, Cameroon
21. Charles Jonga, Director, CAMPFIRE Association, Zimbabwe
22. Charlotte Searle, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
23. Chris Brown, Namibian Chamber of Environment, representing a membership of 65 Namibian
environmental NGOs
24. Colleen Begg, Director, Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
25. Cory Whitney, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany
26. Craig Packer, Director, Lion Research Center, University of Minnesota, USA
27. Damian Bell, Honeyguide, Tanzania
28. Dan Challender, Oxford Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade,
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
29. David Mallon, Co-Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Antelope Specialist Group;
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

30. Debbie Peake, Botswana Coalition for Conservation, Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental
Organisations and Botswana Wildlife Producers Association
31. Diogo Veríssimo, Department of Zoology and Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, UK
& Institue for Conservation and Research, San Diego Zoo, USA
32. Dominik T. Bauer, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
33. Duan Biggs, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
34. Ed Sayer, Country Director & Programme Manager, Frankfurt Zoological Society Zambia
35. Edson Gandiwa, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation, Chinhoyi University of
Technology, Zimbabwe
36. EJ Milner-Gulland, Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, Department of
Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
37. Elizabeth L. Bennett, Vice President, Species Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
38. Enrico Di Minin, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland
39. Eric Xaweb, Tsiseb Conservancy Manager, Namibia
40. Gail Potgieter, Felines Communication and Conservation Consultants, Namibia
41. George Wambura, CEO – Community Wildlife Management Areas Consortium (CWMAC),
Tanzania
42. Gerhard R Damm, Conservation Frontlines Foundation
43. Ghulam Mohd Malikyar, Environmental Analyst, Afghanistan
44. Haibin Wang, Ph.D., China Wildlife Conservation Association
45. Hans de Iongh, Leo Foundation
46. Harriet T. Davies-Mostert, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa and Mammal Research
Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa
47. Himla Angula, NACSO Institutional Support Coordinator, Namibia
48. Hollie Booth, University of Oxford, UK
49. Holly Dublin, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
50. Hongjie Wang, Vice President, China Wildlife Conservation Association
51. Hugo van der Westhuizen, Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, Zimbabwe
52. Isla Duporge, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
53. James Stevens, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
54. Janet Matoka, Assistant Director, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation,
Namibia
55. Janusz Sielicki, Vicepresident, International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds
of Prey
56. Jenny Anne Glikman, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
57. Jeremy Cusack, Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, UK
58. John Kasaona, Executive Director, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation,
Namibia
59. Juan Herrero, Co-chair, IUCN SSC Caprinae Specialist Group; and Technical School, University
of Saragossa, Spain
60. Judie Melikie, Huab Conservancy Chairperson, Namibia
61. Julia Jones, University of Bangor, UK

62. Julian Fennessy, Director, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Namibia
63. Juliette Claire Young, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK
64. Julius G. Bright Ross, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
65. Justin Brashares, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley,
USA
66. Justin Seymour-Smith, Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme, Wildlife Conservation Research
Unit, University of Oxford, UK
67. Karen Laurenson, Interim Director, Africa Department, Frankfurt Zoological Society
68. Keith Somerville, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, UK
69. Khalil Karimov, Tajikistan Snow Leopard Programme Field Scientist; Central Asia Regional
Chair, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
70. Kim S Jacobsen, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
71. Korsh Ararat, Nature Iraq/University of Sulaimani, Iraq
72. Laura Perry, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford,
UK
73. Lisanne Petracca, Conservation Scientist, Panthera, USA
74. Liz Rihoy, Director, Resource Africa UK
75. Lovemore Sibanda, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
76. Luke Dollar, Department of Environment & Sustainability, Catawba College Salisbury, NC
28144 USA
77. Luke Hunter, Executive Director, Big Cats Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
78. Marco Festa-Bianchet, Département de biologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
79. Marco Pani, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
80. Marion Valeix, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique (CNRS), Université de Lyon, France
81. Mark Stanley-Price, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
82. Mathew Bukhi Mabele, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of
Dodoma, Tanzania
83. Matthew Becker, CEO, Zambian Carnivore Programme, Zambia
84. Matthew Wijers, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
85. Michael Archer, PANGEA Research Center, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental
Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
86. Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes, School of Geography and the Environment and Oxford Martin School,
University of Oxford, UK
87. Mike Hoffmann, Head, Global Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London, UK
88. Mike Knight, Chair, IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group
89. Mohammad Farhadinia, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, UK
90. Moses Selebatso, Wildlife Ecologist, Kalahari Research and Conservation, Botswana
91. Munavvar Alidodov, President, Association of Nature Conservation Organisations of Tajikistan

92. Nafeesa Esmail, Oxford Martin School & Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
93. Niall Hammond, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
94. Niki Rust, School of Natural & Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, UK
95. Nils Bunnefeld, Professor in Conservation Science, Biological and Environmental Sciences,
University of Stirling, UK
96. Nyambe Nyambe, Executive Director, Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area
97. Paolo Strampelli, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
98. Paolo Wilfred, Department of Life Sciences, Open University of Tanzania
99. Peadar Brehony, University of Cambridge, UK
100. Pete Coppolillo, Executive Director, Working Dogs for Conservation, USA
101. Peter Coals, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK; School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg, South Africa
102. Peter Tyrrell, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
103. Peyton West, Executive Director, Frankfurt Zoological Society U.S.
104. Philippe Chardonnet, Co-Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Antelope Specialist
Group
105. Rebecca Klein, Cheetah Conservation Botswana
106. Richard W. S. Fynn, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana
107. Rob Morley, Flora Fauna & Man
108. Robert Kenward, Chair for Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems in IUCN
Commission on Ecosystem Management
109. Robert Thomson, Felines Communication and Conservation Consultants, Namibia
110. Robin Sharp, retired Director of Wildlife and Countryside, UK Department of
Environment
111. Rodgers Lubilo, Chairperson, Zambia Community-Based Natural Resources
Management (CBNRM) Forum
112. Rosalie Iileka, Namibia Nature Foundation
113. Ruth Feber, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
114. Sándor Csányi, Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Szent István University, Hungary
115. Sandro Lovari, Co-Chair, IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group; and Maremma Natural
History Museum, Grosseto, Italy
116. Sarah Durant, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UK
117. Shadrach Mwaba, Zambian Carnivore Programme and Wildlife Conservation Research
Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
118. Simon Hedges, Asian Arks; Lao PDR; IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
119. Simon Pooley, Department of Geography, Birkbeck University of London, UK
120. Stefan Michel, IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods
Specialist Group
121. Stein Katupa, Kunene Conservancy Regional Association Secretary, Namibia
122. Stephen Redpath, University of Aberdeen, UK

123. Sugoto Roy, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
124. Teo Ntinda, Namibia Development Trust, Namibia
125. Tim Tear, Executive Director, Africa Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
126. Vanessa M Adams, Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of
Tasmania, Australia
127. Vernon Booth, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
128. Wei Jl, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group