POLL: Is big game hunting important for African economies?

POLL: Is big game hunting important for African economies?

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A new report released by the Humane Society International (HSI) finds that trophy hunters are “grossly” overstating the economic benefits of big game in Africa.

HSI timed the release of the report to coincide with the start of Safari Club International’s (SCI) annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 1. US-based SCI, one of the world’s largest advocacy organizations, released a report in 2015 that claimed trophy hunting-related tourism contributes $426 million annually to the economies of eight African countries and creates more than 53,400 full- and part-time jobs.

killed for trophy at Mauricedale Game Reserve in Mpumalanga Province

But the HSI report, prepared by Melbourne, Australia-based consultancy Economists At Large, found that SCI had “grossly overstated the contribution of big game hunting to eight African economies and that overall tourism in Africa dwarfs trophy hunting as a source of revenue,” according to a statement.

In the eight countries studied for both reports — Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe — tourism is responsible for 2.8 to 5.1 percent of GDP, according to the HSI report.

Trophy hunting is responsible for less than $132 million — not $426 million, as SCI’s report claimed — of the $17 billion spent on tourism in those countries every year, or just 0.78 percent of total tourism spending, the HSI report’s author, economist Cameron Murray, adds. That’s an estimated 0.03 percent of GDP for those eight countries.

“In terms of the wider tourism economy, which relies heavily on wildlife resources, trophy hunting is relatively insignificant,” Murray writes.

Meanwhile, trophy hunting has a marginal impact on employment in those eight countries, as well. The HSI report states that big game hunting provides between 7,500 and 15,500 jobs. Even SCI’s estimate of the employment numbers directly and indirectly supported by the trophy hunting industry, 53,423 jobs, represents just two percent of the 2,589,000 jobs created by the tourism industry as a whole. SCI did not respond to Mongabay’s request for comment.

The HSI report points out that there are other, less quantifiable impacts of trophy hunting that must be taken into consideration, as well. Trophy hunting is detrimental to conservation efforts because hunters tend to kill the strongest animals, which are critical to maintaining a healthy gene pool. Also, hunting quotas are frequently established without a solid scientific basis underlying them, and age restrictions on hunted animals are often ignored — “so that, for example, lions are killed as juveniles before they can contribute to the genetic pool,” Murray writes.

While the SCI report cites the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, which has said that, “Trophy hunting is a form of wildlife use that, when well-managed, may assist in furthering conservation objectives by creating the revenue and economic incentive for the management and conservation of the target species and its habitat, as well as supporting local livelihoods,” the HSI report counters that “corruption prevents trophy hunting funds from making it to conservation.”

POLL: Should big-game and canned, trophy hunting be banned?
Sport hunting in Zimbabwe is big business, with hunters such as David Barrett paying $10,000 for the experience. Barrett, who is British, and others argue that Western hunters provide vital revenue to local communities. Photograph by Barcroft Media/ Getty
South African Airways bans all wildlife trophies from flights
Two wild lions in Botswana, where all trophy hunting was stopped in 2013 because of the government’s concerns over lion population declines. Photograph by Ian Michler

The non-hunting tourism industry is growing much faster in Africa than the big game hunting industry, HSI report author Murray found: “Overall tourism spending grew by as much as the claimed direct value of the trophy hunting industry ($326 million) every four months on average in the eight study countries between 2000 and 2014.”

“For too long, trophy hunters have tried to justify their activity by falsely claiming that their killing helps local economies,” Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for HSI, said in a statement.

A game rancher near Port Elizabeth who couldn’t afford the high cost of protecting his rhinos from sold this one to a more secure operation. The rhino, blindfolded and wearing earplugs to calm it, will be sedated and accompanied by a veterinarian during the 20-hour truck journey to its new home.

“As this new report shows, those claims are a sham. In the African countries studied, trophy hunting contributes virtually nothing to local economies or jobs, and is dwarfed in comparison to tourism overall, including eco-safaris reliant on the very animal species whose populations hunters decimate. It’s time to stop pretending that slaughtering big game and posing for morbid selfies by their slain bodies is anything more than killing for kicks.”

Lions in South Africa’s . Photo by Rhett Butler.


  • Murray, C. K. (2017). The lion’s share? On the economic benefits of trophy hunting. . A report for the Humane Society International, prepared by Economists at Large, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Southwick Associates. (2015). The Economic Contributions of Hunting-Related Tourism in Eastern and Southern Africa. A report for Safari Club International Foundation.

This article by Mike Gaworecki was first published by on 10 Feb 2017.

We invite you to share your opinion whether big game hunting is important for African economies? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Is big game hunting important for African economies?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop . By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.


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Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

Did you know that in America there are not enough hunters to effectively manage wildlife? The USFWS has to instead manage where hunters cannot. Banning hunting in Africa does not change the fact that these animal numbers will still be managed, however no one benefits from it

Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

Private earned funds from hardworking people around the world. Not Gubbamint handouts or f’ing PETA and their ilk. Monies desperately needed in sub Sahara Africa! Long live the hunter! 21 years ago, 17 lions were released into the 850,000 acre Bubye valley conservancy and now there are over 500. Lion hunting in this conservancy generates over a million dollars a year. It is sustainable, self-funding and one of the most effective forms of conservation. What you don’t also realize is I train locals to catch poachers. Some poachers do not survive. Nairobi (AFP) – One of Africa’s oldest and largest… Read more »

Wynn M
Wynn M

killing our precious wildlife is if NO BENEFIT to anyone. Its a money making scheme for those heartless people who love to kill.


Of course we in real conservation have known this all along. Never mind the FACT that nothing good has ever come from something so ugly, selfish and destructive. NEVER.

Bryan Jarman

Time to hunt the hunters and stick their poxy heads on fence posts ..

Shaffer Owen

I couldn’t agree more.

Susan Lockhart
Susan Lockhart

Another brain dead thing who murdered and intelligent animal in cold blood. Karma baby will get you bitch.

Joyce Kolasa

You bastard hope you rot in hell with that f……. smile on your face while you burn

Jan Buchheit

These incredible creatures were protected by the Endangered Species List, but Trumps pic for the EPA gutted the Endangered Species List, The Animals are now at risk of Extinction!!

Rina Madsen

Agree with Errol Gunn, and the only way to conserve the rhino, is to shoot the scumbag hunter.

Errol Gunn

Thank you Rina.

Denise Batler

Cow bag x

Helena Jasmine Gustafsson

already voted

Pierre Van Der Walt

This man is no super trooper , he is a super ass hole!

Errol Gunn

I wonder if that stupid bitch could tell me how killing this magnificent animal has helped conserve the species? Because thats the dumb thing ALL killers of animals say they’re doing! Would love to hunt her down and beat her to death with her own rifle!

Tony Escorcio

We don’t like hunting….I just don’t understand how people would want to kill an animal… every living thing on the planet are here because of the miracle of life…

Diana Tyszka

Another asshole

Iain Gibson

Sadly big game hunting is beneficial to some African economies, bt that doesn’t mean it has to be acceptable. Drug smuggling makes some contribution to local economies in the UK, but apart from legal drugs like cigarettes, we don’t legitimise the distribution networks.

Xristiana Nikou

Schitzofrenic cretins …killing magnificent creatures will not save you from cruel death that you deserve…

Katy Gutovich

what a bich that kill innocent animalls..shude be in jaill for actions

Alyson Mris

what is wrong with you, makes me so sad


Big Game Hunting is wrong – These idiots who think it is something to brag about are disgusting and sickening – These animals will be extinct if they keep it up – It is just a terrible shame to see these fools sitting on these beautiful animals that they killed for no reason other than to Brag – It should be banned! There is no VALID excuse for killing these innocent animals! – these people need to be told by their neighbors and friends that it is wrong instead of congratulating them and being a part of the horrible killing!… Read more »

Lillemor Hedlund

Det är väl bättre att djuren kan beskådas än skjutas. Snart finns de inte kvar på vår jord.

Jan Rigby

Voted. 95% no at the moment.

Amy Faye Sugden

What a nasty bitch

neil edwards
neil edwards

Beautiful animals murdered by morons.

Robert Piller
Robert Piller
Clive Grylls

Voted…….No of course

Paula Karp

Would you mind bending over so that I may shove that gun up your ass!

Paula Karp

What difference does that make?

Ann Moser

Contributer to the rhino extinction.

Stacy Susan Ward Pegram

Voted, thank you

Michele Jankelow
Michele Jankelow

The murdering has to stop!

Denise Andrews

vile subhuman degenerate

Peggy Kimbell

You killed that rhino because ?? Shame on you.

Sumant Pinnamaneni

Horrendous act….they feel it’s important for their economy….what they don’t understand, once the normal tourist or photographers stop going. Then the govt might actions needed to safe guard these magnificent animals.

Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

Tourist do not supply the money nor the jobs that hunting does.

Steven Filippone