South Africa allocates a significant number of leopards, elephants and rhinos to trophy hunters

South Africa allocates a significant number of leopards, elephants and rhinos to trophy hunters

Trophy hunters will be able to hunt ten leopards, ten black rhinos, and 150 elephants in 2022, according to forestry, fisheries, and environment minister Barbara Creecy.

Trophy hunting, according to Creecy’s department, generates economic incentives that encourage conservation.

It also serves as a beneficial wildlife management technique, as it is utilized to remove (mainly) excess males from a population while simultaneously generating cash to support the costs of conservation activities, according to the report.

According to the statement, the quota of ten leopards — seven from Limpopo, two from the North West, and one from KwaZulu-Natal — is based on data from a countrywide monitoring program.

“Leopard hunts will only be allowed in areas where leopard populations are stable or increasing, and only male leopards seven years of age or older may be hunted” to reduce the risk of “overharvesting”.

Only adult male black rhinos will be hunted “and only on conservation management grounds in accordance with a set of strict criteria to ensure that demographic and/or genetic conservation is enhanced”, said the statement.

“The quota for black rhino is based on the national population estimates for black rhino per subspecies, all three of which show an increasing trend.”

Ten male black rhinos have been allocated to trophy hunters in 2022. Image: 123rf/philopenshaw
Ten male black rhinos have been allocated to trophy hunters in 2022.
Image: 123rf/philopenshaw

Similarly, the national elephant herd was growing and “the quota of 150 is well within sustainable limits”.

The statement said SA’s approach “ensures that hunting of these animals does not have a negative impact on the wild populations of these species”.

It added: “Regulated and sustainable hunting is an important conservation tool in SA as it incentivises the private sector and communities to conserve valuable wildlife species and to participate in wildlife-based land uses, ultimately contributing to the conservation of the country’s biodiversity.

“Income generated by trophy hunting is especially critical for marginalised and impoverished rural communities.”

In 2019, before Covid-19 disrupted the sector, hunting contributed R1.4bn to the economy, “excluding the economic contribution to tourism and all hunting and safari-related industries”.

The statement added: “The income generated by the species fees totalled approximately R1.1bn, of which approximately R208m was derived from the trophy hunting of threatened or endangered species.

“The biodiversity sector employed more than 418,000 people in 2019, which is comparable to mining. It is a sector that is expected to continue to show economic and employment growth in the foreseeable future.

“These species are central to a vibrant international hunting industry, and hunting is a part of SA heritage and culture. This is a sector that generates economic benefits as part of the rural economy.”

This article was first published by Sowetan Live on 26 February 2022. Lead Image: Trophy hunters will be allowed to kill 10 leopards in SA this year, says environment minister Barbara Creecy. Image: 123rf/stuporter

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