South Africa Community Statement on Hunting
Statement on hunting submitted to the Panel of Experts (POE), South African Department of Environmental Affairs, by Community organisations with and interest in conservation and hunting
Download the entire statement at sa-community-statement-on-Hunting.pdf
On the 4TH and 5TH of August 2005, 30 community representatives, representing communities from eight provinces that have an interest in hunting and conservation met in Pretoria. The list of community representatives is set out under Annex 1.
For two days we discussed our concerns, as well as aspirations regarding hunting, conservation and poverty relief. It was clear that while some of us had experience in dealing with hunters, damage causing animals and conservation, we also realized that we are just at the beginning of dealing with a complex issue. However, there was overwhelming consensus that hunting and the industry around it represent an opportunity to help address rural poverty.
We subscribed to the view that hunting should be conducted in a way that respects and appreciates the animals that are being hunted and that all hunting should be done within a sustainable use framework. We are apposed to “”canned hunting” as well as hunters that abuse community land and animals by “bribing” community leadership to give them permission to hunt on communal land.
We heard about the Makuleke Community who decided to keep their reclaimed land under conservation and have used professional outfitters. They have raised substantial revenue for community development by selling the rights to hunt excess animals on their land in the Kruger National Park. They have generated over R3 million in four years, used to improve the lives of their people by funding the electrification of their villages, building additional classrooms and implementing other smaller projects.
We also heard about the Mathenjwa community in KwaZulu Natal who had made a decision to convert communal grazing land into conservation land and are using hunting to raise money for maintaining the land and improving facilities in their Community Conservation Area. This has created jobs, increased support amongst the community for conservation and bio-diversity protection, as well as a sense of pride that they are determining their own futures.
Five key discussion themes
The workshop focused on four key themes. (Listed in the order they were discussed rather than importance.)
• How to increase rural community and previously disadvantaged individuals’ involvement in the Trophy Hunting Industry
• How to deal with damage-causing animals that escape from state and private conservation areas
• The differences between recreational and traditional hunting
• What benefits could come from hunting for community development as well as for their conservation plans
• The existing regulatory and permitting system
Our statement picks up on these themes, highlights our concerns and makes some suggestions.
Theme 1. The trophy hunting industry
We understand that trophy hunting is essentially done by overseas hunters who come to South Africa to hunt for the thrill and experience of hunting the big five and that they really do take a trophy back with them in the form of a the skin and head of the animals they have shot. We explored the whole chain of the trophy hunting industry. These are
• Land and game owners who sell their animals for hunting,
• Outfitters who do the marketing and packaging of the hunting tour,
• Professional Hunters who accompany the hunter on the hunt,
• Accommodation establishments that cater for the hunters and their families,
• Guides who take hunters and their families to see other aspects besides hunting in South Africa,
• Trainers that train professional hunters and outfitters,
• Taxidermists that prepare the trophy for export to the hunter.
In summary, we found that this industry is an “old boys club” of white men who keep the clients and their networks to themselves for financial gain. The standards and requirements set for one to become a professional hunter, which you need before being registered as an outfitter, or before you can become the director of a hunting academy, are stacked against black individuals. Of concern is the new proposed training standards, being proposed by the SETA, which will ask for two years informal hunting experience making it even harder for black community members to be trained as professional hunters.
We noted that the new category being proposed in the profession, of a “Hunting Guide” which would allow PDI’s to guide local hunters to do biltong hunting. In theory this could be a step in the right direction as the biltong hunting market accounts for nearly three times as much turnover as trophy hunting. However, we are concerned that this could perpetuate the division between trophy and recreational hunting professions with black professionals only accessing the local recreational hunting market.
Our detailed analysis and recommendations are attached as Annex 2.
We therefore note and recommend the following;
That the obvious place the community can be part of the process and therefore get benefits form the industry is as owners of conservation land and game. However, the slow pace of land reform in protected areas is hampering this. We are encouraged by efforts by some provincial conservation agencies and DEAT poverty relief programs to create conservation areas on communal land. This will help deal with the fact that most hunting takes place on private, white owned land.
All land claims settlements in National and Provincial protected areas, must give the explicit right to claimants to sustainably hunt either for themselves or to sell the rights to professional hunters. The quantity and kind of game to be hunted will be agreed with the conservation agency so that it is done sustainably and does not threaten any tourist activity. This is in line with the Protected Areas Act which gives harvesting rights to neighboring and land owning communities.
The proposed training standards need to be evaluated to see if they will enable or frustrate the emergence of black professionals in the hunting market.
We welcome the Hunting BEE scorecard that has been proposed but think it does not go far enough to deal with all aspects of the hunting value chain.
We propose that the state uses its game resources and hunting rights to push for change in the industry, by giving preference to outfitters that show they are doing their best to assist black and community involvement in the industry. The right to hunt game on state land such as military land could be given out to communities, who in turn could partner with professionals.
A key instrument that could be used by the state is in the issuing of CITES permits which should only be given to outfitters who are able to demonstrate community and PDI involvement. Where communities have the animals on their own land, an agreed percentage of the CITES permits should be issued for hunting on these pieces of land.
We suggest that there is an annual indaba of all role-players including us as community conservation organizations to discuss the state of the industry and what progress is being made in terms of changing the “whites only” nature of the trophy hunting industry.
Download the entire statement at sa-community-statement-on-Hunting.pdf