IUCN SSC Guiding Principles on Trophy Hunting Released
by Rolf D Baldus

The Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has adopted guiding principles on trophy hunting. The intention is that IUCN members, governments and others will use these guidelines widely for policy and management decisions related to trophy hunting, for instance in the design of new trophy hunting programs or review of existing ones. A similar directive was published several years ago by the Sheep Specialist Group of IUCN.

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) is a science-based network of more than 7,500 volunteer experts from almost every country in the world, all working together towards conserving biodiversity. The majority of members are deployed in more than 120 Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities, and Task Forces.

The IUCN has long recognized that the wise and sustainable use of wildlife can be consistent with conservation, and in fact contribute to it, because the social and economic benefits derived from sustainable use can provide incentives for people to conserve species and their habitats. These new IUCN guidelines can therefore build on existing IUCN policies. Trophy hunting is seen as a tool for creating incentives for the conservation of species and their habitats and for the equitable sharing of the benefits associated with the use of natural resources. Species which are rare or threatened may be included in trophy hunting as part of site-specific conservation strategies.

Interestingly enough, in the annex to their document the IUCN SSC picks out two successful examples of sustainable trophy hunting the Namibian conservancies and the Torghar Markhor hunting project both of which are winners of the prestigious CIC Markhor Award.

The CIC will assist IUCN SSC in the translation of the Trophy Hunting Guiding Principles into languages like French, German, Russian, and Spanish.