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Informing the
debate on trophy
hunting
Presentation to the APPG
for Shooting and
Conservation
30 June 2020
Dr Dilys Roe, Chair – IUCN Sustainable Use
and Livelihoods Specialist Group
Dr Amy Dickman, Director – Ruaha
Carnivore Project, University of Oxford
The UK public hates trophy hunting & wants a ban
A simple and compelling narrative
“You can’t conserve animals by killing them. Hunters kill because they enjoy killing”
(PETA)
During this talk we discuss:
• What the UK govt can and can not ban
• What trophy hunting is and isn’t
• The impact it has on species conservation and extinction risk
• The wider conservation impacts
• The contribution to local livelihoods
• The myth of photo-tourism as the saviour of conservation
• The wider implications (for the UK) of a ban on trophy imports
Reality is more complex (and not as media friendly…)
“We’re just banning imports not banning hunting”
 The UK Government is not able to ban trophy hunting (it can’t
dictate how other countries manage their own wildlife).
 It can however control what is imported to this country and is
currently seeking to ban imports from trophy hunting of
endangered animals (manifesto pledge).
 The UK is not a big importer of hunting trophies, but an import ban
in the UK could trigger a domino effect in other countries that are
big importers
 An import ban won’t ban hunting but it will affect the viability of
hunting - and hence have implications for conservation and
livelihoods and wildlife-based economies
What is trophy hunting?
 Trophy hunting = legal, regulated,
selective hunting of specific individual
animals with “desirable” characteristics.
 Also called sport hunting, recreational
hunting
 Some trophy hunting occurs in enclosures
and targets captive animals – known as
“canned hunting”
 IUCN does not support canned hunting
and nor do most professional hunting
associations
 Our preference: conservation hunting -
reflects important IUCN principles
More than an African issue
 Conservation trophy hunting takes place in North America, East, Central
and Southern Asia, Central and South America, Australia and New
Zealand, as well as Africa, and many European countries including the UK.
 Conservation trophy hunting involves charismatic, iconic species –
elephants, rhinos, lions, bears.
 But also less charismatic and less worried about wild goat and sheep
species, wild pigs, antelope and deer.
Is trophy hunting driving species to extinction?
Hunted Species Conservation Status Key Threats
Lion Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, prey
base declines
Leopard Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, prey
base declines
African elephant Vulnerable, increasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict,
poaching
White rhino Near threatened,
decreasing
Poaching
Black rhino Critically endangered,
Increasing
Poaching
Giraffe Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, poaching
African Buffalo Near threatened,
decreasing
Habitat loss, poaching, drought, disease
Hunting can be a positive force for species
conservation
Ogutu JO, Piepho HP, Said MY, Ojwang GO, Njino LW, et al. (2016) Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in
Kenya: What Are the Causes?. PLOS ONE 11(9): e0163249. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163249
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163249
An inconvenient truth? Wildlife trends in Kenya
Wildlife trends in a hunting country and a non-
hunting country
Species protection part of a wider conservation
benefit
Local livelihoods benefits
Money: Direct jobs aside, much made of the fact that very little
hunting revenue goes to local communities – the 3% myth. Actually
the figure varies from country to country and is up to 100% in Namibia
Source: Nat Geo 2017 /
Lions as a case study: high-profile & declining
Range maps etc here
Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not increase the
larger threats of conflict, loss of prey and suitable habitat.
Lions: high-profile case study, under threat
Lions as a case study: high-profile & declining
Range maps etc here
Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not increase the
larger threats of conflict, loss of prey and suitable habitat.
~23,000 wild lions
Lions: high-profile case study, under threat
• ~23,000 wild lions left
• Halved in 20 years: now
fewer left than rhinos
• Main threats loss of
habitat, loss of wild prey,
conflict with local people
Trophy hunting is NOT a major threat to lions overall
Poorly regulated trophy hunting CAN have a negative impact on some
lion populations, but not a major regional threat according to experts
Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not
increase the larger threats of conflict, loss of prey & suitable habitat.
Not true that TH = decline, no TH = secure lions
Changes in 43 African lion pops, 1993 – 2014, IUCN Red List data
Many other factors complicating the issue, but highlights that it is
not as simple as wildlife automatically being threatened if trophy
hunting occurs, and safe without it
Wild lions only increasing in 2 countries: both use TH
Poorly managed trophy hunting can negatively impact individual populations,
but elsewhere can help improve the long-term outlook for lion populations
Major benefit of trophy hunting is habitat protection
• Loss of wild habitat
major threat to lions,
and many other species
• Trophy hunting zones
have same key benefit
as National Parks: they
protect wild habitat
• Currently, more lion range in trophy
hunting zones than National Parks
• Major conservation benefit, decisions
affecting this land should be taken
carefully, and with full involvement of
relevant stakeholders in-country
Major benefit of trophy hunting is habitat protection
Tanzania: 40% world’s lions, trophy hunting areas cover more land
than National Parks, and play a huge role in preventing major threat
of land conversion, as well as funding wider conservation
Hunting zones protect more than hunted species
Why not just replace hunting with photo-tourism?
• Photo-tourism already not covering costs of
existing protected areas: removing hunting as an
additional revenue stream will make this much
worse
• Most hunting areas too remote or unattractive
for photo tourists
• Photo-tourism also not a panacea – high resource
use, Timbavati in South Africa: hunters comprised
0.1% visitors, 20% revenue
• Luc Hoffman study – no ‘silver bullet’
replacement
• Ultimately, at present there are no viable
alternatives ready for most hunted areas
Naidoo et al (2015) Complementary benefits of tourism and hunting to communal conservancies in
Namibia. Conservation Biology.
Removing TH without alternative increases threats
Ruaha data suggests that vacant hunting blocks have more illegal human use than
actively managed hunting blocks, probably due to less anti-poaching activities
If wildlife has no economic value, it will be removed
Those killings far higher than TH, indiscriminate
Often comes down to (ill-informed) moral argument
Whose morals & rights matter?
(c) National Geographic
Same arguments about hunting will be relevant in UK
Our key recommendations to UK Government
1. Rather than an outright ban, revise trophy import criteria to enhance
conservation, which would be welcomed by responsible professional
hunters and others. Imports should be permitted if they meet strict
ethical & sustainability criteria, including demonstrating meaningful
conservation benefits, with habitat conservation as a key criterion.
The process should follow guidelines set out by IUCN;
2. Invest long-term, significant funding to help develop and implement
viable alternatives for trophy hunting areas, particularly in light of
COVID-19 impacts;
3. Provide long-term, significant funding to address the real threats
facing lions and other species – particularly habitat loss, which also
affects human and planetary health.
MPs and others have a responsibility to educate themselves about this
topic and the impacts of import bans, and take informed actions to
protect people and wildlife, addressing genuine concerns of the UK public.

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Informing the debate on trophy hunting

  • 1. Informing the debate on trophy hunting Presentation to the APPG for Shooting and Conservation 30 June 2020 Dr Dilys Roe, Chair – IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group Dr Amy Dickman, Director – Ruaha Carnivore Project, University of Oxford
  • 2. The UK public hates trophy hunting & wants a ban
  • 3. A simple and compelling narrative “You can’t conserve animals by killing them. Hunters kill because they enjoy killing” (PETA)
  • 4. During this talk we discuss: • What the UK govt can and can not ban • What trophy hunting is and isn’t • The impact it has on species conservation and extinction risk • The wider conservation impacts • The contribution to local livelihoods • The myth of photo-tourism as the saviour of conservation • The wider implications (for the UK) of a ban on trophy imports Reality is more complex (and not as media friendly…)
  • 5. “We’re just banning imports not banning hunting”  The UK Government is not able to ban trophy hunting (it can’t dictate how other countries manage their own wildlife).  It can however control what is imported to this country and is currently seeking to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals (manifesto pledge).  The UK is not a big importer of hunting trophies, but an import ban in the UK could trigger a domino effect in other countries that are big importers  An import ban won’t ban hunting but it will affect the viability of hunting - and hence have implications for conservation and livelihoods and wildlife-based economies
  • 6. What is trophy hunting?  Trophy hunting = legal, regulated, selective hunting of specific individual animals with “desirable” characteristics.  Also called sport hunting, recreational hunting  Some trophy hunting occurs in enclosures and targets captive animals – known as “canned hunting”  IUCN does not support canned hunting and nor do most professional hunting associations  Our preference: conservation hunting - reflects important IUCN principles
  • 7. More than an African issue  Conservation trophy hunting takes place in North America, East, Central and Southern Asia, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Africa, and many European countries including the UK.  Conservation trophy hunting involves charismatic, iconic species – elephants, rhinos, lions, bears.  But also less charismatic and less worried about wild goat and sheep species, wild pigs, antelope and deer.
  • 8. Is trophy hunting driving species to extinction? Hunted Species Conservation Status Key Threats Lion Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, prey base declines Leopard Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, prey base declines African elephant Vulnerable, increasing Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching White rhino Near threatened, decreasing Poaching Black rhino Critically endangered, Increasing Poaching Giraffe Vulnerable, decreasing Habitat loss, poaching African Buffalo Near threatened, decreasing Habitat loss, poaching, drought, disease
  • 9. Hunting can be a positive force for species conservation
  • 10.
  • 11. Ogutu JO, Piepho HP, Said MY, Ojwang GO, Njino LW, et al. (2016) Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What Are the Causes?. PLOS ONE 11(9): e0163249. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163249 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163249 An inconvenient truth? Wildlife trends in Kenya
  • 12. Wildlife trends in a hunting country and a non- hunting country
  • 13. Species protection part of a wider conservation benefit
  • 14. Local livelihoods benefits Money: Direct jobs aside, much made of the fact that very little hunting revenue goes to local communities – the 3% myth. Actually the figure varies from country to country and is up to 100% in Namibia Source: Nat Geo 2017 /
  • 15. Lions as a case study: high-profile & declining Range maps etc here Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not increase the larger threats of conflict, loss of prey and suitable habitat. Lions: high-profile case study, under threat
  • 16. Lions as a case study: high-profile & declining Range maps etc here Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not increase the larger threats of conflict, loss of prey and suitable habitat. ~23,000 wild lions Lions: high-profile case study, under threat • ~23,000 wild lions left • Halved in 20 years: now fewer left than rhinos • Main threats loss of habitat, loss of wild prey, conflict with local people
  • 17. Trophy hunting is NOT a major threat to lions overall Poorly regulated trophy hunting CAN have a negative impact on some lion populations, but not a major regional threat according to experts Important to reduce any threat, but ONLY if reducing it does not increase the larger threats of conflict, loss of prey & suitable habitat.
  • 18. Not true that TH = decline, no TH = secure lions Changes in 43 African lion pops, 1993 – 2014, IUCN Red List data Many other factors complicating the issue, but highlights that it is not as simple as wildlife automatically being threatened if trophy hunting occurs, and safe without it
  • 19. Wild lions only increasing in 2 countries: both use TH Poorly managed trophy hunting can negatively impact individual populations, but elsewhere can help improve the long-term outlook for lion populations
  • 20. Major benefit of trophy hunting is habitat protection • Loss of wild habitat major threat to lions, and many other species • Trophy hunting zones have same key benefit as National Parks: they protect wild habitat • Currently, more lion range in trophy hunting zones than National Parks • Major conservation benefit, decisions affecting this land should be taken carefully, and with full involvement of relevant stakeholders in-country
  • 21. Major benefit of trophy hunting is habitat protection Tanzania: 40% world’s lions, trophy hunting areas cover more land than National Parks, and play a huge role in preventing major threat of land conversion, as well as funding wider conservation
  • 22. Hunting zones protect more than hunted species
  • 23. Why not just replace hunting with photo-tourism? • Photo-tourism already not covering costs of existing protected areas: removing hunting as an additional revenue stream will make this much worse • Most hunting areas too remote or unattractive for photo tourists • Photo-tourism also not a panacea – high resource use, Timbavati in South Africa: hunters comprised 0.1% visitors, 20% revenue • Luc Hoffman study – no ‘silver bullet’ replacement • Ultimately, at present there are no viable alternatives ready for most hunted areas Naidoo et al (2015) Complementary benefits of tourism and hunting to communal conservancies in Namibia. Conservation Biology.
  • 24. Removing TH without alternative increases threats Ruaha data suggests that vacant hunting blocks have more illegal human use than actively managed hunting blocks, probably due to less anti-poaching activities
  • 25. If wildlife has no economic value, it will be removed
  • 26. Those killings far higher than TH, indiscriminate
  • 27. Often comes down to (ill-informed) moral argument
  • 28. Whose morals & rights matter? (c) National Geographic
  • 29. Same arguments about hunting will be relevant in UK
  • 30. Our key recommendations to UK Government 1. Rather than an outright ban, revise trophy import criteria to enhance conservation, which would be welcomed by responsible professional hunters and others. Imports should be permitted if they meet strict ethical & sustainability criteria, including demonstrating meaningful conservation benefits, with habitat conservation as a key criterion. The process should follow guidelines set out by IUCN; 2. Invest long-term, significant funding to help develop and implement viable alternatives for trophy hunting areas, particularly in light of COVID-19 impacts; 3. Provide long-term, significant funding to address the real threats facing lions and other species – particularly habitat loss, which also affects human and planetary health. MPs and others have a responsibility to educate themselves about this topic and the impacts of import bans, and take informed actions to protect people and wildlife, addressing genuine concerns of the UK public.

Editor's Notes

  1. Just a note of clarification that we are here not as proponents for hunting per se, or as lobbyists for the hunting industry but as conservation scientists, concerned with the survival of wild species and wild land in Africa and elsewhere
  2. It is clear that the British public does not like trophy hunting Numerous celebrities and politicians have lined up to give their support to calls for a ban UK government has had various consultative roundtables in the past and agreed the situation is complex and thus not called for ban However CP manifesto for the last general election included the banning of imports of hunting trophies as a manifesto pledge. This was followed by a DEFRA consultation and call for evidence – the results of which are not yet known.
  3. The anti-hunting narrative is a simple and compelling one: charismatic African species are on the brink of extinction; rich, blood-thirsty, white people are paying to shoot the last remaining individuals; Africans receive no benefits; photo-tourism could replace the income and save wildlife (500 people can photograph a lion only one can shoot it); banning hunting would therefore save wildlife and make Africans better off too.
  4. For the six species that the EU introduced stricter controls on in 2015 (white rhino, elephant, lion, hippo, argali, polar bear) the UK imported 16 specimens in 2017 (compared to 46 in 2016). Two likely scenarios: Undermine the hunting industry, hunters won’t hunt if they can’t take trophies home; conservation benefits will be lost; no obvious alternatives in place Hunting will continue as usual because hunters want to hunt. But income generated will be significantly reduced In Bubye Valley Conservancy, SE Zimbabwe, a 10 day lion hunt costs c $50K. A lion hunt with trophy fee, taxidermy etc = $100K+. The lion will still be killed, conservation and local people will lose out
  5. Legal, conservation-based trophy hunting often (deliberately?) conflated with illegal hunting (poaching) Our reference to trophy hunting hereafter is meant in the context of the hunting of wild species in their natural environment and natural range
  6. One common misperception is that trophy hunting is focussed on iconic African species
  7. The UK govt has suggested banning the imports of trophies from endangered species. The world authority of species threat status is IUCN which produces a database of regularly updated assessments called the Red List. The categories vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered describe those that are of increasing concern for extinction risk. at risk of extinction. Some species are of lower concern (and many more are of lower concern if all the hunted species are reviewed – many fall into the Least Concern category). However even for those in the categories of concern, the table shows that trophy hunting is not listed as a major threat. It is however listed as a threat to some local populations of some species in places where it is poorly managed. This has been recorded in the IUCN Red List specifically for certain populations of lions and leopards.
  8. 18 medium to large mammal species in Tanzania: none of them had the majority of their range in non-hunting protected areas, but several (including African wild dogs, elephants and lions) had more than half their range in areas protected for hunting. Demonstrates vital importance of this land use.
  9. Same issues are arising for UK wildlife – deer stalking etc Have a responsibility to wildlife, people and local communities, to make good decisions based on real outcomes, not just how it looks – put conservation at the heart of it, not dressed up. Not just what looks good, but what does good Many of the same arguments about TH are used in UK, many of the same arguments against will be used in UK COVID – focus on frontlines and science