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August 10, 2015

South Africa, Namibia Urged to Abandon Trophy Hunting in Favor of Non-consumptive Ecotourism

Both countries refused to ban hunting trophy shipments on state-owned airlines despite Humane Society International appeals

Humane Society International

  • It’s high time for South Africa and Namibia to reconsider the supposed value of trophy hunting to their economies and the harm it is causing to wildlife populations. © Alain Pons/PhotoAlto

WASHINGTON—After South Africa and Namibia have thus far refused to allow their national carriers to follow major international airlines in banning hunting trophy shipments, Humane Society International issued letters urging both countries to abandon cruel and wasteful trophy hunting in favor of non-consumptive ecotourism.

Andrew Rowan, Ph.D., a native of South Africa and president and CEO of HSI, issued the following statement:

“Trophy hunting contributes a small fraction of the dollars generated by non-hunting tourism in Africa. What’s more, trophy hunting takes animals out of the population and deducts from the experience and interest in wildlife tourism, as we’ve seen with Cecil. Millions of Africans who work in the tourism sector took care of the 56 million people who travelled to Africa to watch wildlife during 2013. This pales in comparison to the handful of people who accompanied a few thousand trophy hunters who also travelled to Africa that year.

It’s high time for South Africa and Namibia to reconsider the supposed value of trophy hunting to your economies and the harm it is causing to wildlife populations, the way in which it undermines the rule of law including through corruption, and the vehement disapproval of this activity as demonstrated by the outpouring of concern over Cecil’s killing.”

Tell major airlines to stop shipping Big Five trophies

The letters explain that wildlife-based ecotourism brought an estimated $34.2 billion in tourist receipts in 2013, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization. Meanwhile a study of nine countries that offer trophy hunting found that, in 2011, tourism contributed, on average, 2.4 percent of GDP, and trophy hunting only 0.09 percent of GDP.

Almost 20 major international airlines and carriers, including Delta, United Airlines, Air Canada and Air France changed their shipment policies to exclude hunting trophies following the international outcry stirred by the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe at the hands of an American trophy hunter in July. HSI is petitioning all airlines to end the transport of hunting trophies of Africa’s “Big Five” species: African elephants, rhinoceroses, African lions, leopards and Cape buffalo.

Media contacts:

In the U.S.: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, 240.620.3263

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