For the first time in decades, hunters with deep pockets will not be able to shoot all of the “big five” game animals in South Africa after the government banned leopard hunts for the 2016 season.
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) recommended the temporary ban because it said leopard numbers could not be firmly established.
“There is uncertainty about the numbers and this is not a permanent ban, but we need more information to guide quotas,” John Donaldson, SANBI’s director of research, said.
Leopard is one of five game most desired by hunters, along with lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant. But given their secretive and nocturnal nature, the big cats are not easy to count.
SANBI said it drew its conclusions from studies and data mostly from protected areas and national parks, not private lands, leading the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) to say it gave an incomplete picture.
“There are lots of leopards on private land,” said PHASA chief executive Tharia Unwin, adding that PHASA was providing the government with leopard data from private lands.
South Africa has also suffered its worst drought on record and Unwin said this was good for leopard numbers, as predators typically thrive when the rains are poor, leaving much of their prey in a weakened and easy-to-kill state.
Unwin said it cost up to U$20,000 (£14,000) to shoot a leopard and several of PHASA’s members had to refund clients who had put down deposits for leopard hunts. Most foreign hunters who come to South Africa for such game are American.
Hunting all of the big five has been legal in South Africa since the 80s, when hunts for white rhino were resumed. South African environment minister Edna Molewa is a vocal advocate of the hunting industry, which the government estimates contributes 6.2bn rand ($410m) annually.
There was global outrage last year over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by a US dentist.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 13 Mar 2016.
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the MOTV trophy hunting channel be closed down? [1723 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of lions be banned? [1601 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a tough crack down on the killing of raptors? [1258 Views]
- POLL: Should captivity for all killer whales be banned? [1224 Views]
- POLL: Should the keeping of dolphins in captivity be banned? [1197 Views]
- POLL: Should trophy hunting be banned? [1161 Views]
- POLL: Should elephants be kept in captivity? [1120 Views]
- POLL: Should the pangolin slaughter in Africa be banned? [883 Views]
- Karma? Another Trophy Hunter Has Been Killed by an Elephant [859 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [720 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16951 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [9182 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [2289 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan’s “research whaling” program be closed down? [2150 Views]
- POLL: Should all tiger farms in China be closed down? [2081 Views]