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Pieter HoC

Dr Pieter Kat, one of LionAid's Directors was invited to give a speech in the UK House of Commons last Tuesday, the 18th July at an event to underline the importance of continuing the Bill to limit the import of hunting trophies into the UK.

A worthy read:

"When the business of trophy hunting is in peril, those with soothing words seem to come to the rescue. Academics from Oxford University, those who claim to represent support from a small group in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, misguided African ministers and paid community representatives … all of them dare, even though all evidence is against them, to say that trophy hunting is good for conservation. 

Their mantra goes something like this: “When well managed, trophy hunting can deliver important benefits for species protection and recovery, habitat conservation, and reducing illegal hunting and illegal wildlife trade, as well as delivering important livelihood benefits to rural communities.” Yet those same proponents actually admit that trophy hunting is not all that “well managed”. Oh, there might be some bad apples they say, but overall… 

Those who promote trophy hunting cannot demonstrate “benefits for species protection”, “habitat conservation”, reducing illegal hunting and illegal wildlife trade” – and perhaps most importantly “delivering important livelihood benefits to rural communities”. Trophy hunting operators and their agents have yet to prove that trophy hunting is anything else than an extractive business destructive of wildlife to the benefit of short-term profits. 

Let’s look at Tanzania, a nation convinced that trophy hunting was (and still is) somehow good for the economy, employment of rural people, and would contribute to “conservation”. Trophy hunting operators have abandoned 110 of 154 designated hunting zones in that country as those are no longer “commercially viable”. Meaning that the commercially viable species were either shot out or poached out. Also in Tanzania, the huge amount of poaching that decimated elephant populations occurred mainly in Selous (>80% hunting concessions) and in hunting concessions outside Ruaha. Surely the hunters would have noticed the carcasses? Also in Tanzania, over 60% of lions hunted were below the “officially” designated age of 6yrs. Also in Tanzania, even after the government and the hunting operators knew that the lion population was collapsing, the government quota stayed at 200 male lions per annum in 2016 and remains so (in 2021, hunters only managed to export about six lion trophies from Tanzania…). Also in Tanzania, one of the biggest trophy hunting operators, Eric Pasanisi, was named in the so-called Panama Papers as having considerable sums of money hidden away in overseas tax havens. Along with many Tanzania politicians I should add… How many bad apples? 

Responsible trophy hunters? No. It’s just business. A comprehensive study many years ago already concluded this, but nothing changed: “Good governance is also absent from almost the entire big game hunting sector in many countries. They attempt, thanks to a fairly opaque system, to keep a largely exhausted management system going. This position serves individual interests, but not those of conservation, governments or local communities.”  

The entire premise of trophy hunting as conservation is based on a quicksand foundation of false promises and attempting to gloss over a clear record of failure. So why do people who should know better continue to support the failing business model and seek to continue to spread the trophy hunting falsehoods?  

I’ll give you two guesses, and both would be correct if they involved money. "

Photograph of Pieter, courtesy of Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence. The event in the Jubilee Room in Parliament last Tuesday was organized by the Ban Trophy Hunting organization. 


Posted by Chris Macsween at 15:31

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