Position on Trophy Hunting of The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) South Africa



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WWF-South Africa regards hunting as a legitimate conservation management tool and incentive for conservation, and regularly engages with major game hunting associations to promote ethical hunting and combat inhumane practices.

We aren’t opposed at all to trophy hunting and wholeheartedly support the proactive, science-based, in-situ management of plant and animal populations and the sustainable consumptive use of surplus stocks, but oppose canned hunting where animals are specifically bred for hunting outside of natural systems.

• Canned hunting detracts from the principle that activities which involve the sustainable consumptive use of natural resources should be based on the management of the renewability of such natural resources. Therefore, the management of such “canned” species has no incentive for the future conservation of such species, nor their required natural habitats.
• Incentives for canned hunting are not based on the well being of the species and thus generated income doesn’t benefit conservation.
• Canned hunting negates the principle of “fair chase” which is the fundamental basis for the hunt.

Trophy hunting is defined as “a specific form of wildlife use that involves payment for a hunting experience and the acquisition of a trophy by the hunter”. WWF recognises the diversity of cultural attitudes and opinions with regards to trophy hunting. Trophy hunting occurs and ultimately, it is up to local communities and their local and national governments, to determine how they use their natural resources to benefit people, species and habitats.

Many countries utilise trophy hunting as a wildlife conservation and management tool within the broader framework of sustainable use programmes. When improperly managed, trophy hunting can have serious detrimental impacts on wildlife. Thus, in some circumstances, WWF provides scientific and technical advice to relevant stakeholders (e.g. government and local authorities, local communities and private landowners), to improve the management of such programmes, to assist them in providing benefits to species populations and/or habitats, and local communities.

WWF acknowledges that trophy hunting, where it is scientifically based and properly managed, has been proven to be an effective conservation and management tool in some countries and for certain species. That is particularly the case in areas where alternative sources of income or land use practices are unlikely to bring in much needed funds for people or wildlife, or to create sufficient incentives for conservation (as opposed to other forms of land use). In addition, there is evidence that in some areas where trophy hunting is used as one of a range of conservation tools, poaching of both the hunted species and other species in the habitat has been reduced.

However, WWF recognises that the trophy hunting of threatened species may appear at odds with their conservation, particularly those that are seen as icons of the natural world and as powerful symbols of the need for concerted action. WWF urges that for threatened or endangered species, all other conservation incentives and activities be fully explored before considering hunting them for trophies.

WWF believes that where trophy hunting is practiced, it must benefit the conservation of the species or population involved in the wild or its habitat and provide benefits for local communities as an incentive for their participation.

WWF believes that a significant portion of revenue generated from trophy hunting should be re-invested into conservation programmes. Furthermore, trophy hunting must always benefit the conservation of the species or its habitat and provide benefits for local communities.

Best practice standards for trophy hunting programmes.

WWF strives to ensure the relevant stakeholders implement best practice standards, including:
• A science-based approach to providing benefits to species and their habitats.
• An adequate legal framework to regulate all aspects of the trophy hunting programme (e.g. quota-setting, trophy standards, national laws and regulations, professional guide and hunter standards).
• Adequate implementation capacity at local and national levels (e.g. administration, enforcement).
• A science-based monitoring and administrative framework (e.g. quota setting, population trends, adaptive management).
• Maximizing economic and social benefits to enhance conservation.
• Adherence to accepted humane standards, including ensuring that methods used are as humane as possible
• Respect for local cultural attitudes.
• Weighing the potential benefits to the species and local communities against the risks, erring on the side of precaution.

Download the entire article at Attachment 2798.