Conservation and Hunting
Namibia's conservation success story is attributed to CBNRM. It is a concept that the rural and somewhat nomadic pastoralists benefit directly from the wildlife that are in direct competition to their livelihoods.
In exchange for their tolerance of living with these potentially dangerous and destructive animals, they benefit from the consumptive and non-consumptive utilisation of these animals in the form of hunting, tourism, meat (protein), employment and development.
The right to manage the wildlife resources is given back to these rural communities to decide on the most beneficial way to utilise certain species with the help of the Ministry of Environment & Tourism and various non-profit organisation like WWF and IRDNC.
Community game scouts are employed to protect and monitor the game numbers, curb poaching, and communities actively protect the animals that they would otherwise drive out, providing more available land where the animals can continue existence.
It allows more free movement of animals and their genetic signature, that would otherwise be contained in National Park and Private Reserve "Islands".
CBNRM is currently the most advanced conservation model available, and due to this, wildlife numbers in these rural areas have increased drastically to numbers exceeding original expectations.
Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) still seems to be the biggest obstacle, and will always exist because of the increasing numbers of both humans and wildlife competing for the same resource, in a barren country like Namibia.
Hunting vs Poaching
A clear distinction has to be made between legal and illegal hunting. Legal hunting is done according to quotas and regulation, and on conservancy land provides an income to communities. Illegal hunting is theft, whether it be poaching for the pot by locals, or the shooting of high value animals for elephant tusks, rhino horns or animal hides.
Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are theft from the communities that conserve wildlife and benefit from its legal utilisation.
Here is 11 basic facts about so-called ”trophy hunting” that you need to know
1. In African countries WITH hunting tourism (”trophy hunting”), natural habitat and populations of wildlife are typically growing due to the simple fact that running a game reserve with hunting tourism is better business than livestock farming.
2. In African countries WITHOUT hunting tourism (”trophy hunting”) there is typically an ongoing loss of natural habitat and declining populations of wildlife because the animals have very little actual value to the local communities.
3. Most of all hunting tourism in Africa (80%+) takes place on former cattle and sheep farm that have gone through a re-wilding process. In South Africa alone the 9,000+ private game reserves created over the last few decades takes up an area roughly the size of the state of Washington. This has created habitat for millions of large wild animals.
4. No species is endangered because of hunting tourism. It is quite on the contrary actually! Neither are there any examples of species that have gone extinct historically because of “trophy hunting”.
5. Hunting tourism has led to vastly improved conservation status of many species in southern Africa. A few examples of that are Black Wildebeest, Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra and White Rhino.
6. Hunting tourism supports hundreds of thousands of people in rural Africa.
7. Hunting tourism does not lead to the death of more animals than ”letting nature regulate itself”. Sustainable hunting is harvesting from a natural surplus of animals.
8. Death from a rifle bullet is typically much quicker and less stress- and painful to the animals killed than a so-called natural death involving disease, starvation, thirst, exposure to the elements or predators.
9. Money from hunting tourism funds anti-poaching efforts in most nature areas in African countries allowing big game hunting.
10. Hunting tourism is simply a part of local nature management. Nothing happens on a so-called ”trophy hunt” that is not happening on any given big game hunt in Europe or North America.
11. The meat from edible game animals is usually consumed locally. Nothing goes to waste. The people of Africa needs the protein. Here is what the IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature - has to say about “trophy hunting” based on solid peer reviewed science: