UK Trophy Hunting Bill Would Cut Funding of Conservation: African Activists

A male cheetah is loaded onto a stretcher after being tranquilized by wildlife veterinarian, Andy Frasier, right, at a reserve near Bella Bella, South Africa, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. InternationalIndiaAfricaMuhammad OsmanWriter/EditorLawmakers in the United Kingdom are set to vote on Friday on a bill aimed at protecting endangered animals by prohibiting the import of hunting trophies to the European country. In the UK, the bill found wide support, however, in Africa, conservationists and government officials seem to have a different point of view on this issue.Environmental activists and government officials in Southern Africa have argued that the UK draft law that bans trophy hunting of animals, set to undergo voting by the UK Parliament on Friday, is counterproductive and could have a negative impact on animal conservation in Africa.The African environmentalists said that trophy hunting, in which hunters sometimes pay thousands of dollars in order to obtain the right to kill usually big game animals such as elephants and lions, has another good face. They argued that the killing of a few animals secures enough funding for the conservation of the rest of the endangered animal group and supports local communities.

"With reduced revenue from trophy hunting, poaching will increase because there will be less funding to pay salaries to the community game guards," a group of dozens of conservationists and community leaders from Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Namibia wrote in a letter to UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell earlier this month, according to media reports.

According to Thato Raphaka, a permanent secretary at Botswana’s Ministry of Tourism and Environment, countries in Southern Africa have been lobbying against the ban. In his country, which boasts the world’s largest elephant population of around 130,000 tuskers, trophy hunting was forbidden in 2014, but the government lifted the ban in 2019 under pressure from local communities.UK Trophy Hunting Bill Would Cut Funding of Conservation: African ActivistsAfricaSouth Africa to Send Cheetahs to India in Bid to Rebuild Animal Population27 January, 09:27 GMTThe environmentalist group said in the letter that controlled trophy hunting has proven to be an effective conservation tool in Africa, where the wildlife population have dropped by 66% since 1970 according to the World Wildlife Fund.Environmental scientist Chris Brown, the head of the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), said that local communities had a much better experience on how best to protect wildlife than lawmakers sitting thousands of miles away in the British capital of London.

"What the UK is doing is imposing their very urban, sanitized thinking on us," Brown reportedly said.

According to a 2017 study evaluating countries’ efforts to safeguard large animals such as rhinos and bears, Namibia and Botswana are at the top of the list of the countries with the most effective policies, while the UK is ranked at a lowly 123 and deemed to be performing “below average”.


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