Elephant hunting: explaining the benefits.
I enjoy hunting and I don't sit around all day trying to justify why I hunt to anyone. Everyone I know understands that I hunt and accepts it at some level with a few facts over a beer.
This year I'm going elephant hunting. I'm doing this hunt because I want to, because of the adventure and the nostalgia and the scale of a foot safari after a bull elephant. This has hit a few raw nerves even with supporters and other hunters!
I cannot win an argument as I am mostly fighting emotional nonsense; they cannot be convinced. I don't care so much for an approval, however I really would like to give a logical explanation that others can understand and upon analysis, is a sound and logical position that supports elephant hunting.
I'm hoping that the outfitters and PH's out there, as well as any well versed hunters, can provide some fuel for a solid discussion. I'm talking both trophy and non-trophy hunting. Here's where I'm at, the sum total of my argument put simply in a few short points:
- In some areas there are more elephant than the region can support, so some numbers need to be removed to guarantee the future of each biome and the other species that rely on that habitat for their survival, including the elephant.
- A managed quota that allows for the hunting of a small percentage of elephant does not impact the total population.
- Elephant hunting provides meat to communities that are lacking protein in their diets. Providing meat makes the bush meat trade redundant, thereby helping to save other species.
- Elephant hunting is not about the ivory trade. CITES agreements between participating countries control the ivory trade by enforcing international trading bans. CITES allows for the movement of ivory that is a result of sport hunting in countries with managed elephant herds.
- Elephant hunting provides employment and an income to outfitters, professional hunters, trackers, skinners, camp staff and other staff linked to the "industry".
- Elephant hunting brings money to communities who would otherwise see no benefit from the preservation of elephant, only the agricultural impact of the elephant on their livelihood.
That's about all of the facts I have to offer any argument. The points I would like to back up with real data:
Which areas are known to be overpopulated by elephant which are damaging the ecosystem? I understand the Kruger should have about 7,000 but has closer to 12,000 elephant and when I was in Botswana in 2006 one PH I met in Maun stated that the Chobe River area had tens of thousands more elephant than the area could support.
Are quotas determined by the national parks board of each country? Is it a percentage take of the population? Do CITES or any other independent organizations get involved in determining the quota.
What is the government office that is responsible for selling elephant quota? Is it auctioned?
What conservation efforts are funded by the money from these sales of elephant quota?
Which countries fund anti-poaching patrols using these funds?
Do communities get their share from these funds? How are the funds distributed and who administers this process?
Anything else anyone thinks relevant to this discussion??