Time To Legalise Big Game Hunting?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Hoas, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Hoas

    Hoas AH Fanatic

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    Source: https://www.the-star.co.ke/opinion/columnists/2019-04-25-time-to-legalise-big-game-hunting/


    Time to legalise big game hunting?

    • Nobody knows for sure what impact a boycott of Kenyan tourism organised by animals’ rights activists would have.
    • But there can be absolutely no doubt that such a boycott would arrive with a vengeance if we were to legalise hunting.


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    We often read of poachers having killed elephants. Or a lion. Or a rhino. And along with this, predictions of how with the rapidly declining wildlife populations, our children or grandchildren will have to go to zoos to see these animals.

    All this leading to an assurance that future generations will not forgive us for “squandering their heritage” by not taking care of Kenya’s “priceless wildlife”.

    But recently we had a rather different kind of headline: of the Lake Nakuru National Park having a huge surplus of buffalo. Specifically, that the park had about 3,850 buffalo, when it is scientifically estimated to be only capable of sustainably supporting 500 of them.

    One wildlife expert was quoted as pointing out that “…The buffaloes have become so many that they are even a threat to lions…the kings of the jungle which are supposed to help bring down buffalo populations have instead been overpowered and have moved out of the park”.

    Given that lions are a major attraction in any game park, this development must in the end impact on the revenues from Lake Nakuru National Park.

    Such a scenario demonstrates just how difficult it is to come up with any long-term and effective plan for conserving Kenyan wildlife. And, specifically, doing this while at the same time keeping an eye out for the tourism revenues without which we cannot hope to have the money needed to support our wildlife populations.

    Now if this was Tanzania, the solution would be simple: the wildlife service would license recreational hunters to come out and shoot roughly 3,000 of those buffaloes over a period of time. Such ‘big game hunting’ is perfectly legal not just in Tanzania, but also in Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa – though not in Kenya.


    Consider the potential revenues, for example, basing these on what was reported in ‘USA Today’, in 2013, on hunting in South Africa: “…A 10-day hunt for Cape buffalo costs $16,845 with trophy fees. A 10-day hippo hunt costs $12,245…” At those rates, those 3,000 surplus buffaloes would potentially bring in $50 million (Sh5 billion).


    And there is no shortage of hunters from different parts of Europe and North America who would pay extravagant sums for the privilege of shooting a large beast like a full-grown buffalo and carrying the trophy (the preserved buffalo head and horns) back home as a souvenir.

    But that is not all there is to it.

    You may recall the huge controversy which was caused a few years ago when a famous lion named Cecil living in a Zimbabwean national park, was shot dead by a dentist. This dentist, who was a trophy hunter, had a licence to shoot a lion. So, what he did was not in itself illegal.

    Nonetheless, this incident raised such fury among animal rights activists that a campaign was launched to teach this dentist a painful lesson, as well as to make an example of him.

    Some online activists urged residents of his hometown to boycott his dental practice. But others took it even further, with a prominent animal’s rights activist declaring that the dentist “needs to be extradited, charged and, preferably, hanged.” There were also many anonymous death threats – no small matter in a country like the US where so many people possess licensed firearms.

    I am given to understand that the fact that Kenya does not allow professional big game hunting contributes greatly to the nation’s appeal as a safari destination. Tourists like to believe that the animals they see running around in the wilds are protected and will not be shot by hunters.

    Nobody knows for sure what impact a boycott of Kenyan tourism organised by animals’ rights activists would have. But there can be absolutely no doubt that such a boycott would arrive with a vengeance if we were to legalise hunting.

    And yet we have all those buffaloes degrading the environment of the Lake Nakuru National Park and chasing away the lions.

    If ever there was a subject much in need of “public participation” and new policy, then it is the licensing of recreational hunting in some of the areas surrounding Kenya’s game parks.

    Consider the potential revenues, for example, basing these on what was reported in ‘USA Today’, in 2013, on hunting in South Africa: “…A 10-day hunt for Cape buffalo costs $16,845 with trophy fees. A 10-day hippo hunt costs $12,245…”

    At those rates, those 3,000 surplus buffaloes would potentially bring in $50 million – which is Sh5 billion approximately.
     
    Timbo and Tarwathie like this.

  2. tigris115

    tigris115 AH Enthusiast

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    One can only hope Botswana's example does something to make Kenya grow a pair
     
    rinehart0050 likes this.

  3. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    If Kenya doesn't do something there won't be any wildlife for tourists to see. The buffalo have run the lions off. Who will they chase off next? No wildlife, no tourists, no money to preserve wildlife. Then what.
     

  4. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    Perhaps the Kenya model needs to fail dramatically to prove to the world that balance is the key.
    Purely preservation is not viable. Purely Consumptive use is not viable. The balance between the two is key.
     
    Tarwathie likes this.

  5. Timbo

    Timbo AH Fanatic

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    Just shows that the non-consumptive conservation methods simply don't work. As David Attenborough said - on one of his DVDs - words to the effect: "wild specie populations today must pay their way [through legal, sustainable sport hunting] to survive.
     

  6. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    There are some non consumptive areas that pay their way. The specie don’t necessarily need to be hunted to pay their way.
    Each area needs to be assessed and treated individually. For example the okovango delta model cannot be adopted to the north luangwa national park.
    There is space for each and that is the key to achieve balance
     

  7. tigris115

    tigris115 AH Enthusiast

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    Yea hunting is only 1 piece of a greater jigsaw puzzle. Obviously hunting is good for less photogenic parts of Africa but with photo safaris, you attract a much broader clientelle with less disposable income.
     

  8. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    What is general pubic opinion on hunting in Kenya? Can this article be considered as representative case, or isolated view?
     

  9. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Antis use the threat of boycotts as a weapon to keep non-hunting countries "on side." But I suggest the threat is highly over-rated.

    If tourists want to go on an African safari and see the big 5 and lots of plains game, if they don't go to Kenya, what other non-hunting country will they go to? Sudan?!

    I can hear it now: "Daddy, when are we going to see the elephants and lions? We can't go now son, because Kenya has allowed buffalo hunting. But dad, don't we hunt here at home? Even buffalo? Of course we do son, but that's irrelevant. We don't hunt in parks, and Africa should be one big park. But don't a bunch of people live there too? No one lives in our parks. Yes son, they do. For now. But we're staying home until they all leave."

    People will still want to see the famous parks such as the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, the migration of the wildebeest, etc., just like they will still want to visit the Okavango Delta now that Botswana has re-opened hunting.

    Most people will understand when a country does the right thing. Those that don't aren't worth worrying about.
     
    Pheroze, PeteG and jasyblood like this.

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