Keith Somerville (Professor, University of Kent, Member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent; Fellow of the Zoological Society of London;
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; Member of the IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group; Research Associate, Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and the Environment. Department of War Studies.
Very interesting but rather poorly produced and clunky Mongabay podcast on five years ago since the ridiculous media circus around Cecil the Lion. V good to get a proper southern African voice, Maxi Pia Louis from Namibia, on how the people who live alongside lions view the issue of hunting.
You have to get over the terrible presentation style of the presenter and his annoying habit of using the silly American pronunciation of Cecil. Usual, naive and emotive drivel from Ho, of Humane Society, but v good, powerful interviews by Amy Dickman and Maxi. Wondered if the Humane Society emoter knew that Amy works at WildCRU with Andrew Loveridge. She just went over known ground with lots of mendacious additions alleging all sorts of unproven wrongdoing. Complete lie that Cecil was lured out of Hwange and then linking his death to shooting underage lions, and he was well over the minimum age. Not a single reference to the interests and rights of communities who have to live with lions.Usual inaccurate conflation of trophy hunting with canned hunting and then a long ad for Humane Society dressed up as comment.
Ho simply wrong and deliberately misleading about hunting contribution to conservation, no attempt to look at the science but claims science supports her views.No evidence to support her claim that trophy hunting has a major effect on lion and leopard numbers and certainly not elephants. Huge exaggeration about effects of shooting of old male lions on prides, ignoring that infanticide is a constant part of pride dynamics involving incoming males. Ho is allowed to propagandise for an unreasonably large proportion of the whole podcast without any questioning of her claims.
Amy Dickman much more focused and very clearly grounded in the realities of wildlife in east and southern Africa – both the need to stop habitat loss and to enable local people to live alongside destructive and dangerous wildlife with loss of life and livelihoods. Clear delineation of differences between trophy hunting that can have conservation benefits versus canned hunting.
The presenter throws critical points from Ho and Goodall at Dr Dickman, while Ho was not put on the spot at all. Amy Dickman is very clear on the impacts of trophy hunting on breeding and the impacts of indiscriminate retaliatory killing in response to livestock predation. Strong detail given on how trophy hunting bans without viable alternatives to protect habitat and income for local communities, and how allowing trophy hunting should be linked with strict regulation. Absolutely right that there is not a one size fits all solution, but a country by country and year by year approach.
Presenter comes up with usual anti-hunting canard about hunting contribution to GDP, which is not the issue. The issue is local income for communities and lack of alternative uses of land. Eco-tourism not workable in most hunting areas, or only viable alongside hunting.
Maxi Pia Louis from the Nambian conservancy organization, NACSO, speaks strongly and effectively from the point of view of local communities who live alongside lions and lose livestock to them. Sets out well the view that you get local communities on board and provide them for them. Explains how hunting, tourism and conservation can be dovetailed to help communities AND wildlife. Gives very good example of successful conservation of black rhino on community conservancies. Rightly emphasises that few animals are taken off, far fewer than through poaching, but that hunting income funds local communities and supports anti-poaching. Describes quota system and how it is flexible.
Very interesting overall, but weighted to give more time to the Humane Society and to use their viewpoint to criticise views of other speakers, when they haven’t got any chance for their viewpoints to be used to put the Humane Society opinions under the microscope. Good to have Amy Dickman and Maxi Louis, but still an intrinsically biased approach favouring one viewpoint. Humane Society not asked to justify or support its contentious claims – allowed a pure propaganda stream. But at least we heard Amy’s and Maxi’s voices – communities must be heard over conservation issues.