Opinion: Ecologist Responds To Guardian Newspaper Article Against Trophy Hunting

Discussion in 'Articles' started by NamStay, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. NamStay

    NamStay AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Messages:
    472
    Video/Photo:
    42
    Likes Received:
    564
    Great response from Dr. Chris Brown from Namibia.


    Source: https://africageographic.com/blog/o...ian-newspaper-article-against-trophy-hunting/


    Opinion: Ecologist responds to Guardian newspaper article against trophy hunting

    Screenshot (417).png


    Opinion post by Dr. Chris Brown – CEO: Namibian Chamber of Environment

    Campaign against trophy hunting – a western urban cultural imposition on rights of rural African communities: arrogant cultural superiority or ignorance?


    The difference in views on trophy hunting between the western urban elite and that of the people of rural Africa is stark. In a recent letter to the Guardian, a group of public figures in the UK described trophy hunting as “cruel, immoral, archaic and unjustifiable” and called for an end to global trophy hunting. In much of Africa, rural communities see all forms of sustainable hunting as legitimate use of their indigenous resources, in much the same way as western nations consider it their right to harvest fish, timber, deer, and use other natural resources for their livelihoods and economic growth. So, what is really behind the call for a ban on the import of wildlife trophies into the UK?

    If trophy hunting was in fact good for conservation, would the public figures who are signatories to the letter still oppose trophy hunting? If trophy hunting was good for rural livelihoods in poor African communities, would the public figures still oppose trophy hunting? If trophy hunting had far fewer animal welfare issues associated with it than the widespread factory farming practices of mainly western countries, that puts meat, milk, cheese, eggs on the plates of the members of urban western societies, leather on their feet, and shiny briefcases in their hands, would they still be so opposed to trophy hunting?

    And if all the above were true, as well as a range of additional positive benefits such as protection of natural vegetation and landscapes (countering the greatest threat to global biodiversity loss – land transformation), the collateral protection of a suite of less charismatic but equally important wildlife, limiting the impact of climate change, allowing land use to shift from low levels of primary production (e.g. domestic livestock meat production) in the drylands of Africa (covering over 65% of the continent and where most wildlife is to be found) to include wildlife-based service industries to significantly enhance land productivity and reduce climate vulnerability, would the public figures still oppose trophy hunting?

    What we are trying to understand is whether these public figures are simply opposed to trophy hunting and perhaps other forms of sustainable use of wildlife because they don’t like the concept of killing an animal of a non-domestic species irrespective of significant potential benefits to conservation, the environment and people’s livelihoods; or do they genuinely think that trophy hunting is bad for conservation, bad for rural communities and violates animal welfare standards? Understanding this is fundamental in addressing the misconceptions of the campaign.

    If these public figures are simply opposed to trophy hunting on the grounds of it being uncivilised from the perspective of their own urban western culture, irrespective of any environmental, livelihoods or other benefits, then there is little that can be argued other than to suggest that they should stop trying to impose their cultural views on the rights of others cultures – other cultures where people live side-by-side with their indigenous wildlife on a daily basis. And to tell these public figures that perhaps it is a bit arrogant of them to feel that they can make decisions about how other people, living thousands of miles away, should use their wildlife resources.

    And perhaps it is more than a bit arrogant of these public figures, coming from a nation that has lost most of its charismatic megafauna (wolves, bears, elk, lynx, etc.) to impose on people of other cultures, who have not driven their indigenous species to extinction, without consultation or attempting to understand their views, how their natural resources should be used, based on their elitist western urban “civilised” perspectives. Or perhaps it is easier for these public figures to transfer their arm-chair conservation aspirations to a softer and more populist target than address the problems at home – namely to tackle the difficult task of convincing their own farmers and people who use the UK countryside of the importance of re-introducing and re-establishing their own nationally extinct wildlife as free-roaming populations across their own open landscapes.

    Because, by trying to close down the trophy hunting sector in Africa, not only are they violating the rights of other people, cultures and nations, but they are removing the economic tools that create incentives for people to be willing to live with wildlife so that Africa’s wildlife does not go the same way as that of the UK – extinct. And these public figures should keep in mind that the challenge of living and farming with wolves, bears and lynx pales into insignificance against that of people living with lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, hippos, buffalo, crocodiles to mention but a few of the challenging species.

    On the other hand, if the public figures genuinely think that trophy hunting is bad for conservation, cruel, immoral, archaic and unjustified, and if they are genuinely interested in doing what is best for the long-term conservation of species, ecosystems and landscapes, and for the welfare of rural communities, then we have a lot to discuss.

    Perhaps the first thing to say is that wildlife, and particularly the more charismatic megafauna of Africa, is Africa’s global comparative competitive advantage over the rest of the planet. While virtually every country on Earth has cattle, sheep and goats, only the continent of Africa has the variety and spectacle of wildlife that makes it stand out on the global landscape. How the countries of Africa use their wildlife, in the interests of their people and their economies, is for Africa to decide, not for a group of western urban public figures.

    Second, the regions of Africa that have followed a western urban protectionist approach to wildlife management, exemplified by countries such as Kenya, have less wildlife today than at any time in their history. By contrast, regions that have created wildlife management systems based on devolved rights over wildlife to local communities and land owners, together with economic incentives, exemplified by countries such as Namibia and South Africa, have got more wildlife today than at any time in the past 150 years. Kenya’s wildlife continues to decline, Namibia and South Africa’s wildlife continues to grow – including that of elephants, rhinos, lions and other species.

    Third, trophy hunting is an important component of the wildlife economy. It cannot be substituted by ecotourism. In many areas ecotourism has little potential, but the land is kept under wildlife and natural vegetation by the economic returns from trophy hunting, wildlife harvesting (for venison) and the live sale of surplus high value wildlife. In some areas, all four forms of wildlife management are practiced on the same land, i.e. tourism, trophy hunting, harvesting for meat and live sale. The greater the returns that can be sustainably generated from wildlife, the more secure is that land from agriculture, land transformation and a permanent loss of biodiversity.

    Wildlife populations typically have natural rates of increase of between 15-35% per year (large species such as elephants and rhinos breed more slowly). Namibia’s wildlife population, for example, numbers about 3 million animals. Of these, only about 6% are in national parks which cover some 17% of the country. This apparent disparity is because a large component of Namibia’s national parks network is in the hyper-arid zone of the Namib Desert with very low rainfall (less than 70 mm per year) and low wildlife carrying capacity. Thus over 90% of Namibia’s wildlife is on communal and freehold farm land – and it is there only because it has value and people want it.

    As a result, an additional 34% of Namibia outside of the national parks network is under formal wildlife management. Wildlife populations in these areas need to be managed to ensure that the natural vegetation is not damaged by overgrazing and over-browsing. Trophy hunting removes less than 1% of the national wildlife herd per year. These are mostly old bulls passed their reproductive peak. Harvesting for meat takes off most of the surplus animals. Because trophy hunting is such an important component of wildlife conservation and the wildlife economy, it is preferable to refer to it as “conservation hunting”, as the benefits include increasing land coming out of traditional agriculture and under indigenous biodiversity management. In Namibia, conservation hunting contributes about 20% more to the national economy than the entire small-stock farming sector, (about 4 million sheep and goats on about 27 million ha of land), with conservation hunting taking off less than 1% of the national wildlife herd per year. Much of this income flows to rural communities, as does the meat from animals hunted in their areas.

    Fourth, it is necessary to clearly differentiate between legal hunting and poaching. Not to do so is akin to lumping legal diamond sales with illicit diamond dealing, legitimate cattle production with cattle rustling and the legal pharmaceutical industry with the illegal drugs trade. We don’t close down the legal components of these enterprises because there are illegal elements at play. And if anyone thinks that, by closing the legal pharmaceutical industry, the illegal drugs trade would be diminished or eliminated, they are delusional – the illegal drugs trade would simply expand to address the demand. The same applies to hunting, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Legal hunting is based on quotas and regulated activities with benefits going to those who manage the resource and run the businesses, and taxes going to the state. Poaching is theft, often incentivised and driven by international criminal syndicates – most from Asia.

    Fifth, much of the hunting and sustainable utilisation debate within conservation has been taken over by the animal rights movement. We have great respect for people who stand up for animal welfare – we all should. The way that domestic animals are mistreated in high-intensity production systems, turned into factory units, held in unbearable conditions, will go down in history as one of Homo sapiens’ greatest crimes.

    But animal rights and animal welfare are two very different things. The situation of wildlife in its natural habitat, in large open systems, is profoundly different to the life that domestic animals in factory conditions, abused by chemicals and a total lack of consideration for their species-specific requirements and welfare, face each and every day – particularly in the industrialised world where such practices are most prevalent. Animal welfare of domestic animals in high-intensity production systems should be by far the most pressing animal welfare issue on everyone’s agenda. From a conservation biology perspective, problems arise when animal rights agendas are passed off as conservation agendas, which they are not.

    Conservation works at the population, species and ecosystem levels. Animal rights works at the individual level. And what might be good for an individual or a collection of individuals might not be good for the long-term survival of populations, species and ecosystems. This of course does not negate the need for ethical and humane practices, which should always be an integral part of good conservation management and science.

    And finally, the economic drivers around wildlife conservation in the drylands of Africa are quite different to those in most western countries. The value of wildlife in western countries is generally far lower than that of Africa. This, combined with the fact that the agricultural potential and access to lucrative markets are far higher in western countries means that market forces are working against indigenous wildlife and in favour of agriculture and land transformation. The response of western conservation organisations and individuals is thus to counter these market forces, try to prevent the commercialisation of wildlife (because the land and its biodiversity will be lost to conservation anyway) and resist consumptive use of wildlife.

    However, the system is quite the opposite in the drylands of Africa, provided rights over wildlife are devolved to local communities and land owners. Then, wildlife as a land use outcompetes agriculture and its associated land transformation. And the more it outperforms agriculture the more secure is the land and is biodiversity for long-term conservation. Removing conservation hunting from the wildlife economy reduces its competitive edge to the point where large areas will simply revert to agriculture.

    For those living in western economies the situation of conservation hunting in the drylands of Africa may seem counter-intuitive. But for us in Africa, it is so obvious that we wonder why seemingly intelligent and well-meaning western conservationists are continually trying to undermine our conservation work, particularly where the record of conservation accomplishment in African countries with devolved economically-based sustainable use policies is so obvious.


    Dr Chris Brown is the CEO of the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), an umbrella membership body for environmental NGOs in Namibia. The NCE currently has a membership of 64 environmental NGOs – well over 90% of all ENGOs in the country. Dr Chris Brown is not a hunter. He is a vegetarian since the age of 11 because of welfare issues around domestic animals, a former director of the Namibia Nature Foundation (for 12 years) and the first Director of the Directorate of Environmental Affairs in the Namibian Ministry of Environment & Tourism. He has a PhD in conservation biology and interests in the tourism industry in Namibia.

     
    CTDolan, Hank2211, flat8 and 17 others like this.

  2. ianevans

    ianevans AH Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Video/Photo:
    7
    Likes Received:
    21
    Hunted:
    zambia, SA
    Thank you Sir for a most illuminating reply to the narrow minded ,blinkered views we have on trophy hunting here in the UK
     
    Arctic97, edward and Ridgewalker like this.

  3. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,149
    Video/Photo:
    27
    Likes Received:
    2,859
    Location:
    Ontario
    Member of:
    OFAH, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Canada, USA
    What a fantastic article. I hope both its message and tone are repeated in other forums and by more people.
     
    Arctic97 and Ridgewalker like this.

  4. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Messages:
    5,747
    Video/Photo:
    78
    Likes Received:
    4,779
    Location:
    Seaford NY
    Hunted:
    USA, ALASKA Canada, New Zealand, Mexico Africa.
    Great read. Now let’s see if can get printed worldwide.
     
    Arctic97 and Ridgewalker like this.

  5. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,149
    Video/Photo:
    27
    Likes Received:
    2,859
    Location:
    Ontario
    Member of:
    OFAH, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Canada, USA
    It's well worth reading the comments. From my reading the main issue for the antihunting perspective to that article is a belief that hunters are immoral. There's a fallback to this belief that hunters get a perverted enjoyment from killing:rolleyes:. It's impossible to have a discussion with someone when their belief is that you are motivated by impulses that are offensiveo_O. I am at a loss as to how to deal with this delusion. :unsure: It's really ignorant .
     
    flatwater bill, Arctic97 and markm like this.

  6. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Messages:
    3,542
    Video/Photo:
    107
    Likes Received:
    3,027
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hunted:
    South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
    Scathing! Thanks NamStay for giving us this ammunition! I’m going to copy this for future defense.
     
    Arctic97 likes this.

  7. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    3,480
    Video/Photo:
    22
    Likes Received:
    2,605
    Location:
    Grosse Ile, Michigan
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
    NamStay, thanks for finding and sharing this article. The point by point refutation of the "anti's" premise was a joy to read. Can one of you guys that "do" Facebook get this article posted there?
     
    Arctic97 and Bruce like this.

  8. MarkCZ

    MarkCZ AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Messages:
    169
    Video/Photo:
    9
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    West Sussex
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Finland, Estonia, C.Z. Poland, Slovakia, Scotland , England, Namibia
    Wow bloody wonderful. Everything I think but with the education and vocabulary that I have not.
    Markcz
     
    Arctic97 and Adrian like this.

  9. npm352

    npm352 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Messages:
    297
    Video/Photo:
    14
    Likes Received:
    321
    Easily the most compelling and well-written pieces on benefits of sport hunting in Africa I have ever read.
     
    Arctic97 likes this.

  10. Nkawu

    Nkawu AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2018
    Messages:
    114
    Video/Photo:
    6
    Likes Received:
    75
    Location:
    Currently in the UK, from South Africa
    Member of:
    KZN Hunting Shooting & Conservation
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sweden
    This needs to be spread as far and wide as possible and it needs to be backed up by more evidence-based articles written by well educated people in similar positions.
     
    Arctic97 likes this.

  11. Arctic97

    Arctic97 AH Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Messages:
    31
    Video/Photo:
    3
    Likes Received:
    38
    Location:
    Alaska/Idaho
    Member of:
    SCI, NRA
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Michigan, Missouri, California
    There was a letter to The Namibian last fall trying to vilify trophy hunting. It prompted me to write a rebuttal which is something I do not often do as I am not the most articulate person. Here is the letter and my response below....

    The Namibia Professional Hunters Association (Napha) encourages a “no video” policy on hunts but we, the public who have no say, insist on the opposite.
    There must be a video recording of every hunt and it must be made available to the public, so the world can see how our wildlife is being exterminated.
    Saying that trophy hunting supports conservation is a very sad slogan, a whitewash, based on ego and greed.
    This makes me think of the Asian tiger. Forty years ago there were 300 000 of these magnificent animals. Then people in Asia realised they could get good money as professional hunters, poacher hunters and guide hunters.
    Professional and sports hunters (mainly Americans) paid up to N$200 000 to shoot one animal.
    There was a frenzy, because this was “a last chance to shoot a tiger before the government bans hunting”. The profiteers did not say to the hunters “before there are none left”. So, today there are only 3 000 tigers left (1% of 40 years ago).
    So the hunters contributed to their conservation? Google “Zoological Society of London” for details.
    The same is now happening to our lions – the price tag is US$100 000.
    And that very person who refers to himself as a 'professional' hunter, calls the poachers despicable and disgusting.
    What's the difference? The animal receiving the bullet does not care about the status of its killer. In just seven years, South African leopard numbers have collapsed by 66% and the hunting associations won their case for ongoing trophy hunting as it “supports their conservation”. Extermination is the only certainty.
    He who pulls the trigger, is responsible for the current extermination of our wildlife. The animal receiving the bullet does not care if the person (if we can call him/her that) is legal, illegal, professional, stealing, poaching or whatever.
    We have lost 52% of all mammals on the planet in the last 40 years. They are being exterminated, and the extermination is accelerating, and people find soft and liberal words to justify this extermination – trophy hunting, sport hunting, meat hunting, etc.
    Charles Darwin wrote: “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
    This is absent in the hunter. Sadly.

    Nico Louw



    Nico Louw speaks from emotion and lack of fact. Are we going to talk about poaching, or hunting? The non-educated will emotionally say they are one and the same. There is NOTHING more ridiculous than this sentiment and all true conservationists can understand the facts involved.

    To kill an animal species to the brink of extinction is poaching, and all hunters want it stopped. The problem is, it isn’t as simple as sitting in your house in a city somewhere and blaming those hunters for the end of tigers, or any other species. If you want to use social bullying methods to some good, then direct them at the mainly Asian, mostly Chinese people that put the demand on these species, whether they be Tigers, Rhinos, or Pangolins for that matter.

    Look at the home habitat of these species. Man has encroached, and continues to put pressure on their natural homes. So, habitat for all animals is shrinking and there is no end to this in site. I hope we can all agree that fewer hectares equals fewer beasts.

    The people living in these areas are almost always poverty stricken, so when they can derive a few months, to a years, living expenses by snaring (usual method), or shooting, some nearby animal that has zero value to them, why wouldn’t they?

    THAT is the key on how to keep more animals in Africa. They have to have sustainable local value. We can all moan and cry over the death of another rhino, but until we are willing to reach into our own pockets and put money on the table to: 1) Keep the local peoples from succumbing to the bribes of the elicit animal trade out of Asia. 2) Put anti-poaching units in the field to keep watch over the animals so that outsiders, who get no value from this group of animals, do not come in and poach.

    Hunters do both of these. First off, hunters only take a very small percentage of a given species. Usually they take the older males that are beyond their breeding life, as they have been removed from the herd genetics by younger, stronger males. Secondly, hunters give value to the game. This value is usually passed along to the locals in the form of protein (meat) from the harvested animals, along with jobs in support of the safari industry. The locals soon learn that no animals in the neighborhood means no economic benefit from the safari industry coming their way. Thus old poachers end up on safari camp anti-poaching staffs as trackers and the like.

    Having safari outfitters patrol large tracts of land keeps the poachers out at no cost to the general public. This is paid for from the hunter’s fees for the various animals he hunts. If anything, when you use a number such as $100,000 USD for a lion, you should be proud that your country can generate fees like that because without them, there would be no lion left in a very short time. They would all succumb to poaching efforts so some Asian can have lion bone wine, or whatever superstitious thing they do with the parts! Remember poachers take any and all animals they can get – young, old, male, or female, they do not care! Hunters take a very, very few select animals that are past their prime and at same time save the rest just by being out in the field and paying those fees – giving the animals local value.

    As I write this, “China has just legalized the use of rhino horn and tiger bone for medical research or traditional medicine. The animals must be obtained only from farms.” Do you think they will follow that last part?? If I could believe they would, it would be great news for rhino, as they can be farmed and the horn just cut off – like shearing a sheep. The tiger, not so sure you can farm his parts and bones!

    I know it is hard to talk about the economics of something as emotional as a furry beast, but it is money that is the answer to keeping these animals alive. If social media is used to stop hunting it will be a short time until the game will be wiped out. If you really want to save the animals use social media to stop the Asian demand!

    Arctic97
     
    Adrian, flatwater bill and Shootist43 like this.

  12. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    909
    Video/Photo:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1,005
    Member of:
    NRA endowment member/Life member
    Hunted:
    NAMIBIA, RSA, KYRYG, KAZAKSTAN, MOZAMBIQUE,MEXICO, BOLIVIA, PERU, BRAZIL, ARGENTINA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, SPAIN,
    "He who pulls the trigger is responsible for the current extermination of our wildlife".......How do you argue with someone this effing stupid?
    Yep, all wildlife conservation problems were caused by bullets.....right? I wonder how they explain the fact that in the 43 years since Kenya outlawed hunting, and the 47 years since India outlawed hunting, their animals have largely disappeared.......? No arguing with a moron.....Anyway, nice reply Arctic97 and good insight Pheroze......FWB
     
    Arctic97 and Pheroze like this.

  13. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,313
    Video/Photo:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1,110
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Agreed. Study the philosophy of David Hume. People are not motivated by logic or fact but rather by emotion. Logic and fact can play into it but these are not deciding factors. Therefore, to appeal to those opposed to hunting (who are really misguided animal welfare advocates, many of whom have no issue with buying their meat wrapped in cellophane from the local grocer...irony if ever there was any), we need to reinforce that hunting is, overall, for the best for the environment and its inhabitants (which includes the indigenous population). It is the natural order of things, the circle of life, if you will, that all ultimately perish so that the remaining can carry on.
     
    flatwater bill likes this.

  14. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Messages:
    653
    Video/Photo:
    5
    Likes Received:
    610
    Location:
    Sugar Land, Texas
    Member of:
    NRA, Houston Safari Club Foundation, NWTF
    Hunted:
    Texas, Louisiana
    There may be an edge case or 3 which have escaped my notice, but there is always a free market economic solution to every perceived problem. Hunting is the free market solution to this problem.

    Antis suffer from a condition I like to call "primacy of consciousness." Or "I want/believe it to be true, so it MUST be true." They frequently suffer from another condition known as "reversal of causality."

    The only known antidote to either of these conditions is a healthy dose of reality, but even that is not 100% effective.

    Then there are the committed nihilists. I think there is no hope of curing this crowd, and their numbers seem to be waxing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice