Hunting conserves wildlife?
A few days from now, the European Parliament is voting to consider allowing further imports of trophy hunted animals. The vote to ban such imports will likely not attain a majority this time around, but nevertheless the IUCN published a document to inform Members of European Parliament about the positive benefits of trophy hunting for wildlife conservation.
Hats off to the IUCN, this document is a masterful example of encouragement of their views coupled with a discreditable handling of facts and statistics (see below). While there are some references to the negative impacts of trophy hunting, these are in short order glossed over with sentiments like “while there might have been some errors made, the overall benefit to conservation is positive”.
We should all recognize that the IUCN is supported by our taxpayer funds, and that they have been entrusted by the United Nations and many governments to seek best ways forward to properly conserve global wildlife resources. Publishing a highly biased report like this is not compliant with the IUCN mandate that requires a certain “balance” to be struck to properly evaluate ways forward to guide wildlife conservation?
Let me give you just one example of manipulation of statistics in the IUCN report. On page 15, they list the “income” to the Tanzania Wildlife Division as being $11 million from trophy hunting in 2015/2016 versus $3 million from photographic tourism. In other words attempting to show us that income from trophy hunting is about four times more important than income from photographic tourism?
Actually, tourism to Tanzania accounts for 5.1% of GDP, provides 467,000 direct jobs and employs 12.2% of the workforce indirectly. The tourism industry to Tanzania is worth $1.36 billion annually, so therefore the meagre $11 million contributed by trophy hunting is just 0.8% of the total income.
And that 0.8% comes at a consumptive cost of thousands of animals “harvested” by trophy hunters annually. Is that the best use of wildlife resources in terms of sustainable returns? I would suggest not.
In conclusion, I would hope that this IUCN report is seen by MEPs for what it is and that the glaring errors become not only apparent to the European Parliament but also to all of us reading this “report”.
Picture credit: supportforchange.org