Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Lion Trophy Hunting--NOT!

Supporters of African trophy hunting often try to justify the killing of endangered animals for sport by claiming that the hunts bring much need economic support to impoverished Africans. The impact of trophy hunting on local economies is the subject of a new report, "The $200 Million Question", commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Humane Society of the United States and the Born Free Foundation. The report was issued amid consideration to give the African lion endangered status under the Endangered Species Act. Trophies could not be imported into the United States if the lion is protected under the statue.

credit: US Person
A twenty-one day lion hunt can cost between $20,000 and $70,000. Almost all the hunters are foreigners; 62% of lion trophies are imported into the United States. Research reviewed in the report shows that only 3% of revenue from hunting companies goes to communities in the area (Booth, 2010). The majority of their expenditures go to government agencies or individuals in located internationally or in national capitals. Across countries studied the revenue stream was relatively tiny, accounting for only 1.8% of tourism revenue which do play a role in national development. A IUCN study in 2009 estimated that for six African countries (Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Central African Republic, Burkino Faso and Benin) the per hectare revenue for hunting concessions were all below 20 cents, and in four of the six countries below a dime.

Listing African lions as endangered by the United States will have minimal impact on the hunting industry in Africa. The industry is primarily driven by buffalo and antelope hunting. In Tanzania buffalo hunting contributes 22% of fees collected (Baldus & Cauldwell, 2004) A reduction in hunting lions will obviously have an positive effect on a species that is struggling to survive in the face of habitat loss, poaching and prey depletion. An estimated 32,000 lions still survive in the wild, yet each year 560 lions are killed for boasting rights. Only rich American hunters like the Koch boys would be adversely affected by listing the African lion as endangered. The immature thrill maybe gone, but it just one humans can live without.