Issue 10 April 2020

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Trophy Export Controls

Our resident Professional Hunter hits back.

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Issues & Events|March 2020

As a British Citizen who has spent all of his life involved with wildlife in Africa, I feel compelled to submit my own feelings on the “Consultation on Controls in the Import and Export of Hunting Trophies.”

I have read many of the articles that are listed in your bibliography - indeed I find it rather a brief bibliography for such a broad subject - but having followed this subject closely my whole life, perhaps I have a deeper understanding than most.

I have an Honors Degree in Zoology from Bristol University and am a registered Guide with the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, as well as having held a Professional Hunter’s license in Tanzania for over 17 years. My parent’s ran a successful photographic tourism company and my father was one of the elite Safari Guides in Kenya - so I grew around “eco-tourism” - and the door was always open to pursue a very successful career in “eco-tourism”…

I was however, strongly influenced growing up by the people around me - and many were hunters - and they told stories of countless adventures, in far off places, with no roads and unchartered landscapes that stretched as far as the eye-could see… and it was only natural that I would want to see these places for myself…

I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with one of the old time hunters still operating in Tanzania and on my first summer holidays at University (2001). I boarded a single engine Cessna that flew me 2 and a half hours into the depths of the wilderness in Southern Tanzania - for what would become an annual adventure, a passion and a career. I remember leaving the last of civilization behind and flying on and on for nearly 2 and a half hours without seeing anything but bush…

To put that remoteness in perspective, I was sent on a supply run back to Arusha town by truck and it was a 2 week round trip by road… with a total of 60 kilometers by tarred road in the whole trip…

For a young man like me, this immersion in the wilderness was every bit the adventure it was cracked up to be…

Turning down a potential career in the Royal Air Force, my first full season lasted 8 and a half months in the bush - all without seeing a tarred road, making a phone call, or watching a TV…

This is not a life for everyone… but it is a life for people who love the wilderness…

Since then, I have accompanied guests in the DRC, Gabon, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. I have driven from Scotland to Gambia in a Ford Escort, spent 8 months in South America, 2 months in Arnhem land in Australia, 3 months fishing in New Zealand and many, many visits that have involved the outdoors in both the US, and the UK. My primary interest in telling you all of this, is that I wish to convey to you the fact that I am not an “arm-chair” conservationist - I have lived and breathed the outdoors my whole life - my friends are hunters, lion researchers, vegans, millionaires, poor rural Africans, bird watchers, duck hunters, bankers and farmers and everything in between - and my opinion is pertinent because it has perspective and is not encumbered by being form one side of the fence or the other. I have a full understanding of statistics and a strong scientific back-ground - and frankly, from a financial point of view - I have no dog in the fight regarding trophy imports to or from the UK.

The impact to me personally would be negligible. The photographic tourism business, for me, is far more lucrative than any hunting that I might guide - so again - I really have no personal skin in this game except from a conservation, scientific and moral standpoint…Game reserves in Tanzania with hunting as an income source are the healthiest in the country.

My first issue regarding a trophy ban in the UK is from a moral standpoint.

Many people hunt, and many people hunt for different reasons. Humans have hunted for thousands of years - and I have yet to meet an indigenous culture that does not embrace some form of hunting. The idea that hunting is a moral wrong is something that has really only pervaded human culture for a couple of decades at the most; and it is an ideology that is pushed by those who live in relative comfort and safety in the Western world. Now, I can fully understand the revulsion towards “trophy hunting” that people see through images on social media and TV - but for the most part, the revulsion is because the image is portrayed out of any form of context - and it elicits an immediate gut response. I do not believe a person reading “The Man Eaters of Tsavo” or a Jim Corbett book on hunting man eating tigers in India, or listening to a hunter-gatherer tell how he brought home meat for his family, can have the same revulsion because they are drawn into the narrative, and the hunter’s experiences and feelings. The reader/ listener develops their own perspective for the context of the hunt.

Blame all this on social media, the modern-world, ill-thought out trophy photos, detachment from the natural world or whatever you like - but - the undeniable fact remains that all hunters/ fishermen are in some way connected to nature. I do not believe there is a single person that has hunted, who has never been in the “outdoors” - but the same statement cannot be said about many/most of the people who oppose hunting. Many of the most fervent anti-hunting activists have never seen wildlife or wilderness areas beyond the village green or the TV set.

And so, if we extrapolate this, no indigenous cultures who have grown up in nature find anything morally wrong with hunting, but many people who have never experienced nature do.

So, how then can one culture - the culture of the “modern human with possibly no experience of the natural world”, be so sure that in the last 30 or so years that “anti-hunting” has been a thing that their belief system is better than tens of thousands of years of human culture before them?!

So, to me a trophy hunting ban would be an imposition of a belief system on others - and I wouldn’t mind quite so much, if I knew this imposing belief system came from people with a better understanding and connection to the outdoors, and more vested interest in protecting it.

But the reality is, that if we were to loose all wildlife on earth, it is the hunter who would suffer more from the loss of something they cherish. The anti-hunter, whose life is neither made better, nor worse by the presence of wildlife, would merely find themselves in the position of feeling smug that they won a campaign…

This brings me to my Second Big Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban…

You take the biggest stake holders out of the equation…by banning hunting you ban the very segment of your population that cares the most and is the most attached to nature…

From a conservation stand-point, alienating a massive proportion of the population that cares about nature, even if they happen to be hunters/ fishermen cannot be good.

The third big Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban…

The misrepresentation of the term “Trophy”… to a hunter-gatherer with a bow and arrow, a tuft of impala hair in a head-dress for bringing home some meat for his family is just as important a “trophy” or status symbol as is a set of massive deer antlers to a Scottish laird… or an Alabama Red-neck… they are merely indicators of some form of hunting prowess…

The idea, that somehow “trophy” hunting (where the hunter is specifically being selective or purposeful) is somehow so much more morally repugnant than someone killing indiscriminately doesn’t make sense to me…

How is spending weeks on end looking for a really old buffalo bull, with worn down horns, and past his prime more morally repugnant that shooting 100 farm raised pheasants in plus-4’s whilst quaffing sloe-gin?

“Trophy hunting” in its modern form merely denotes that the hunt is more selective - what constitutes a trophy tends to be a rather subjective thing - but in general, in Africa a trophy is an older male animal. The fact that a paying client wants to shoot an old male animal just for the horns (over say a pregnant female by mistake because he just wants to kill something) and that he is happy to leave the meat behind for use by either the predators in the area, or local villagers, should be considered a massive win-win …

Trophy hunting is ultimately highly selective. That’s a good thing. If trophy hunting is having a negative impact on a wildlife population, then the issue is with the application of the idea - either quota is too high or the perception of what makes an animal a trophy needs to be changed - but the problem is not with the idea of “selective hunting to show prowess”… In either case it would be very hard to truly threaten a species by merely harvesting older male animals…Hunting is controlled and targets older, male animals that are surplus to breeding requirements.

Fourth Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban… It is a ban for “Conservation”…

Much about what “Conservation” actually is has been contorted and lied about over the years- with many people from celebrities to politicians to outright crooks having declared themselves “Conservationists” … but without any of them being able to define the term. Indeed, the term itself has become merely a “badge-of-honor” that one can pin on one-self with no further qualifications than that…

The so-called Cecil the Lion incident became a media feeding frenzy and an international time of moralistic finger pointing - as did the re-opening of elephant hunting in Botswana - but both these events should merely have served to remind us that we live in a wonderful, beautiful and diverse world, with many, many different cultures, opinions and moral values.

And because of this, conservation decisions cannot and should not be made based on media polls, publicity campaigns or differences of moral opinion - particularly in a Secular country such as the United Kingdom, where belief systems should not have an impact on people’s rights.

And this is why it is so very important to have a defined goal when it comes to matters of conservation - because we all have egos, opinions, biases and agendas. If we allowed the same “looseness of fact” to be used in the spheres of medical research we would not dare touch the next antibiotic or heart-medicine to hit our pharmacy shelves.

And yet we seem to tolerate this complete lack of scientific rigor when it comes to the great challenge of preserving the world’s biodiversity; or the down-right lies that we allow to be published in the media.

There is only really one official definition of the term “Conservation” as it relates to wildlife and biological conservation - and by default - there can only really be one way to judge one’s success as a “conservationist”… How well are you succeeding in preserving Biodiversity… Nothing Else Meets the Definition!

"The Convention on Biological Diversity is probably the most all-encompassing international agreement ever adopted. It seeks to conserve the diversity of life on Earth at all levels - genetic, population, species, habitat, and ecosystem - and to ensure that this diversity continues to maintain the life support systems of the biosphere overall. It recognizes that setting social and economic goals for the use of biological resources and the benefits derived from genetic resources is central to the process of sustainable development, and that this in turn will support conservation.”

Objectives of the Convention

-Conservation of biological diversity
-Sustainable use of components of biological diversity
-Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources

"Biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Essentially “Biodiversity” is the sum total of genetic material that makes up an ecosystem - and by this - the only official measure of “Conservation” - we don’t get to choose whether a lion is more important than a Grevy’s zebra, or an elephant more important that the myriad of endemic plant species that it feeds on everyday. We must pick the solutions that preserve the most biodiversity - not the largest mammals.

Let us take the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania - it is approximately 52,000 square km (of a still yet larger ecosystem) of almost pristine, biodiverse wilderness. That is one and a half times the size of the country of Belgium.

In the last 7 or 8 years, the Selous was hammered by a wave of unprecedented Elephant poaching that according to some reports saw the population go from 68,000 elephants to 12,500 in less than 5 years. Rightly this caused an international outcry and thankfully something has been done to reverse the trend.

Having said that, in light of the universally agreed definition of conservation above, you could not go and brand the Selous Game Reserve a “conservation disaster”. You could call it an “elephant preservation disaster” - or an “elephant hunter’s nightmare” - depending on what side of the fence you were on - but the rest of the “biological diversity” remained essentially intact - and therefore the mere fact that the Selous still exists is a triumph of Conservation…

If you were to add up the sum total of different “genetic material” conserved in the Selous, the genetic material carried by the elephants, would be but a minute fraction of the total biodiversity.

And at a population growth rate of between 5 and 7% per annum, in 25 years time or so - given the right circumstances - the elephant numbers will be back where they were - but only if their habitat and space has been conserved.

And indeed, last year about 75% of the Selous Game Reserve was upgraded to National Park Status … as Nyerere National Park https://www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz/national_parks/nyerere-national-park

This is a status it would never have reached had years and years of managed trophy/ big game hunting revenues on a National level to the Tanzanian Govt. not justified the preservation of the habitat as an intact wilderness area in the first place. As the tourism sector in Tanzania grows, so too may demand for more National Parks - but the stepping stones to get here will always be the far larger Game Reserves that are protected through tourist hunting. Were it not for a well managed hunting industry these fertile and well watered areas would have been agricultural land years ago. A doubling human population every 20 years such as in most African countries, does not leave much room for un-productive wilderness areas that do not financially justify their existence.

Tanzania has allocated 32% of its total land area exclusively to wildlife - no people are allowed to live or farm in these areas. Similar figures exist for many poor nations with large wildlife resources. Can you imagine if 32% of the UK’s land area was prevented from any form of agricultural activity? How would DEFRA justify that if that land had no financial value?Most hunting areas are remote, inaccessible to tourists and thick with vegetation, making them impractical for the photo-tourist.

Fifth Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban… the notion that revenues from trophy hunting do not contribute to conservation or local communities…

I recently spent 3 weeks in Ethiopia and our Guide was a well-known hunting operator and a wonderful man who has been involved in the hunting industry, conservation and tourism for well over 30 years - so when he talks about matters to do with Ethiopian wildlife and conservation, I listen, and I listen carefully.

He has no axe-to-grind with me, and he talks passionately about conservation issues - the growing human population of 110 million people, the shrinking range of habitat for wildlife, and his frustrations with dealing with red-tape, quotas and so-called “experts” who visit his areas for 3 days annually and then make sweeping assessments of the wildlife populations.

He is also very concerned with the growing global trend of labelling trophy hunters as wanton killers. He gets very animated on this subject - you can hear the frustration in his voice - “Killing is just going out and shooting everything you see; we are very selective, we protect females, young males, babies, and habitat for wildlife, but we only shoot a few old males. How can you just call this killing?”

The quotas are very strict and there is a huge revenue retention within the area. The region receives 85% trophy fees and of this 60% goes directly to the community that lives in the hunting area.

To put the quotas in perspective, Ethiopia issues about 22 Mountain Nyala Permits per year, and the most conservative Nyala estimates for the country are about 2500 animals - so this is a very low off-take of less than 1% per year - of older male animals. A study by Colorado State University shows that forest cover and habitat in Ethiopia is only increasing in areas where they have hunting. https://theconservationimperative.com/the-mountain-nyala-of-ethiopia/

Yes there are very few of these animals left in the world - but the threat to them comes from habitat loss - not legal trophy hunting, and as our guide points out, eventually, these old nyala that are hunted as trophies would just go on to die of old age. “They will die slowly - of old age - for what” - he says quizzically - “when someone will pay big money to hunt one instead. It would be a waste.”

For some people, his matter of fact perspective might seem callous, but I see logic in his frankness, and I see a man who cares deeply about the future of one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful large mammals.

From what I saw in the community area of Sororo - next to the Bale Mountains National Park, the population of Mountain Nyala was very healthy - and Sissay said that no Nyala had been poached since the area came under managed hunting 15 years ago. I certainly saw nothing but a community that was proud of its resource and understood sustainable off-take…


Sixth Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban… that “eco-tourism” can replace hunting revenue everywhere…

I ask our Ethiopian guide about the viability of eco-tourism as a revenue generator for wildlife verses hunting - and he points to the fact that most visitors to Ethiopia come for cultural tourism. Most wildlife tourism visitors in general he points out are far more likely to visit the more famous parks of Kenya or Tanzania, and those that do come to Ethiopia for its endemic wildlife, want to see it in an efficient and accessible manner. And they certainly aren’t willing to spend the 30 - 90,000 dollars or more that the average hunter will spend. What this all means of course, is that only a hand-full of small areas generate revenue from wildlife - and they must do so with higher volumes of tourists.

It is a familiar story, and one which I get quite animated about, as it is a message that is often repeated but rarely listened to by anti-hunters.

One of the greatest proponents of the idea that eco-tourism can replace hunting tourism revenues in Africa is the media savy, Derrick Joubert. National Geographic Explorer in residence, wildlife film-maker, self-styled “conservationist” and co-owner of the so-called “The Great Plains Conservation Company” - a tourism company that develops luxury lodges and camps across Africa. He was arguably the main driving force behind Botswana’s hunting ban, and is a man that publicly and vociferously decries trophy hunting, claiming there are better ways to conserve wildlife.

Before, we go into this further, I would like to remind the reader that I grew up in East Africa, and it was “photographic” or “ecotourism” that put me through school, put food on my plate and clothes on my back, and afforded me the luxury of getting an expensive education …

Indeed, still today, this is a mainstay of our business and we will often use some of the “Great Plains” properties for our photographic safari guests. They run a good show - they are always in prime wildlife viewing destinations, they are very expensive (so we get great agent’s commissions).

Joubert’s almost cult-like following makes them an easy sell - and guests are usually very happy with their experience. For a Luxury Travel company, they make perfect sense. But just because Joubert’s lodges make sense from a business point of view doesn’t mean I have to agree with his ideas on conservation.

Tanzania has a very strong and thriving hunting industry - an industry that whilst Mr Joubert will be quick to point out does not generate anywhere near the same National Revenues as photographic tourism, it certainly did generate enough revenues to justify the nearly 27% of Tanzania’s land area that is set aside as Game Reserve. (This in contrast to 5.6% that comes under National Parks and Ngorongoro Conservation area). In Tanzania almost all of the revenues for Game Reserves come from hunting,

In other words, the hunting industry is a cheap way of protecting vast wilderness areas - 5 times the land area in fact of the Photographic tourism destinations. And because of this - and in-spite of a handful of “trophy” lions shot every year - Tanzania boasts half of Africa’s wild lion population. Kenya - under the “watchful eyes” of the Born Free Foundation has fewer than 2000 lions…

One thing that Joubert and I can both agree on is that “we stare down the barrel of 8 billion people on Earth and over 1 billion head of livestock in East Africa alone – and massive disenfranchisement across Africa, and within our communities. This is the real threat to wildlife.”

What I cannot agree with Mr Joubert on is that “the debate on whether to hunt or not is not really relevant anymore.”

Surely - any so-called “conservationist” must be willing to entertain any form of land-use - even hunting - if it is the most appropriate land use model to help preserve biodiversity. Whilst hunting may not preserve the few individual animals that get shot, it is a well documented fact that in many places it helps preserve habitat for wildlife and by default - biodiversity.

Arguments counter to these - such as “eco-tourism” generates more revenue than hunting cherry-pick their examples and miss the point of far greater importance - that we need ALL options available to us to protect biodiversity.

Many hunting areas may one day evolve into wonderful photographic destinations - and many photographic destinations fail to recognize the hunters or the hunting community in blazing the trail to elevate these areas to the point where this becomes a viable option.

In a study by WWF in Namibia, all the economically viable photographic/ eco-tourism properties had used trophy hunting as the stepping stone that took them from denuded cattle-ranch to prime wildlife viewing destination …https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/iucn_sept_briefing_paper_-_informingdecisionstrophyhunting.pdf

In all my years working in both industries, I have never had a single photographic client desire to visit an unknown, tsetse-fly riddled, but biodiverse and ecologically important hunting area. In over 20 years I have never once been asked by one of my Photographic Guide friends if they could bring guests to a hunting area. And yet, in all those years, I have had the privilege of spending nearly half the year in a wildlife area that has remained intact, stable, biologically important and full of wildlife, through tourist hunting. The lion and other wildlife numbers are as healthy now as the day I arrived.

I have heard the argument many times that “there are better options” - yet the proof is in the pudding. In no African country that I know of, is there a barrier to entry for the “eco-tourism” sector into the hunting areas - and yet market forces have shaped destinations the way they are.

If Joubert really believed his own rhetoric - that eco-tourism can replace hunting throughout Africa - then why has Great Plain’s built two stunning camps in Kenya’s Masai Mara - an area that generates 75% of Kenya’s Wildlife Tourism Revenues - and is completely saturated with tourist lodges already - but has not built any camps in any of the other under-utilized parks in Kenya?

Or, why has Joubert not gambled his latest upmarket tourist venture on some obscure, dry, featureless piece of bush country elsewhere such as in a communal area in Kenya’s stunning, but exceedingly hot, dry, dusty, dangerous, overgrazed and inaccessible Northern Frontier District?

The reasons are of course that Mr Joubert is no fool, and he knows that these areas offer very little potential for photographic tourism. They are too remote, too featureless, too dusty and too dangerous. Many areas like these however, offer enough potential to justify their existence as a tourist hunting destinations.

For many of these places, the alternatives to hunting to generate any meaningful income for the local people are livestock and agriculture? Two land-use practices that we can also agree do far more damage to biodiversity than “Trophy hunting”.

The same question could be asked of all the communal areas in Botswana that once received something from hunting and now receive nothing from photographic tourism. Why has Botswana done an about turn on its hunting moratorium if the rhetoric was true?

It was never a case of either - or. The free market dictated that in the prime areas, photographic tourism would earn the most money and be the best land use solution; but photographic tourism was never precluded from entering marginal areas - it just didn’t make sense and wasn’t the right land use model there.

The way Mr Joubert convinced the Botswana Government to close tourist hunting was to extrapolate the success of his Selinda concession and the revenues it was earning under photographic tourism and extrapolate these figures as a base-line for what all areas in Botswana could earn under “eco-tourism.”

If ecotourism was viable everywhere, Joubert would not need to cherry pick destinations for his next lodge, but he does. And by doing so demonstrates in a very real way that his model isn’t the Silver-bullet solution for all of Africa’s wilderness areas.

I for one would never expect a photographic client to pay the 14,000 USD round trip air charter to the hunting area I worked in, whilst foregoing their visit to see the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti…

For people who have made it a campaign to have hunting banned under the pretext of “conservation” one really has to question whether the closure of hunting is more important to them than the conservation interests they claim to pursue.

Surely, a man who calls himself a “conservationist” could get over their dislike of hunting and see beyond this to the potential benefits.

Seventh Issue with a Trophy Hunting Ban… the potential “Brain-Drain”… and a lack of perspective…

In 1977 when Kenya implemented its hunting ban, it sat as the most advanced nation in Africa when it came to matters relating to wildlife and conservation (Mike Norton-Grifths - https://vimeo.com/62993549) - Interview minute 1.57 onwards) - and it had a wildlife policy and agencies that could deal with all aspects of wildlife conservation from National Parks, to Livestock, to Game Ranching, to Hunting, to Photographic tourism.

When Kenya banned all consumptive utilization of wildlife, it essentially stepped out of the arena and became a bye-stander to other nations like Namibia and South Africa that went on to develop highly successful Game Ranching and conservation industries. Can you imagine the dramatic change in the conservation landscape that Kenya would now be privy too, had it not taken itself out of the ring? The loss of knowledge, research and wildlife habitat since 1977 is astonishing.

Today, in Kenya, many semi-successful conservation attempts by very smart and dedicated people fail for 2 reasons:

The only viable way wildlife can make money in Kenya is through non-consumptive photographic tourism… that works just fine in the prime areas like the Masai Mara…
BUT… in overgrazed communal land, the only form of “tourism” is essentially cultural tourism … which really doesn’t need substantial or sustainable wildlife numbers or habitat… and in these areas, the only way you could convince a community to replace livestock with wildlife if if they started to see direct, tangible benefits from the wildlife…

If we take ourselves back to GCSE biology, we may remember about photosynthesis, Carbon Cycles and a thing called “ecologically carrying capacity”…

For any given piece of land, it can only support a set number of “Units of Biomass”… so for a given communal area that can support 100 donkeys, and no Grevy’s zebras, or 50 donkeys and 50 zebras, or 75 zebras and 25 donkeys, the only way we can get more zebras is first to get enough grazing for them by reducing the number of donkeys…

The problem is the community can own and profit from the donkeys, but not the zebras … so even though as a trophy, a Grevy zebra might be worth 100,000 dollars and a donkey USD 70, the community will favor donkeys over zebras, because 70 is better than nothing…

The only alternative for Kenya is to accept donor money … but donor money for wildlife comes with strings attached …

Do you think IFAW or Born Free Foundation wants Kenyan Wildife Law to change so that a community can benefit from its wildlife resource like in Namibia, and sell trophy hunts and game meat? Of course not…

https://www.iucn.org/commissions/commission-environmental-economic-and-social-policy/our-work/specialist-group-sustainable-use-and-livelihoods-suli/newsletters-sulinews/sulinews-11-august-2017/hunting-and-tourism-can-work


So you find yourself in the situation Kenya is now in, where many of the finest minds in conservation, and some of the most willing community partners are hamstrung because the donor money for conservation in Kenya is directly tied to organizations that believe consumptive utilization of wildlife is bad… the tail wags the dog…

Even to the point where game bird shooting, which used to be one of the biggest earners for communities in the North of Kenya, and which used to encourage leaving some grass un-grazed (to the benefit of the larger herbivores), is now banned… and the net looser is the community and the country…

In 1977 Kenya when the country banned trophy hunting, there were just under 15,000 Grevy’s zebra (Joanthan Kingdon, Larger Mammals of Africa). Today there are less than 3000. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/7950/89624491

In the same time frame, Namibia has shown great strides in the recovery of their Mountain Zebra…

https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/7960/45171906

The most glaring differences between Kenya and Namibia is that Namibia uses a multi-pronged approach to wildlife conservation and gives ownership of wildlife to the land-owner/ communities. This means that they are direct beneficiaries from the wildlife and are custodians of their resource.

For this to work, in part, wildlife value is generated through trophy hunting. If DEFRA bans imports of trophies to the UK, it will have direct and tangible negative consequences for Namibia’s highly successful model of community conservation…

Given the overwhelming evidence that hunting can and does play an important role in conservation - then even as an “anti-hunting conservationist” one is forced to make one of two uncomfortable concessions - 1) either lay aside the anti-hunting rhetoric and get on with finding ways for the two land use strategies to better complement each other in the interests of biodiversity and accept one would rather live in a world rich in biodiversity despite having some consumptive utilization of wildlife or 2) accept that it is simply a moral dislike of hunting that outweighs the desire for genuine conservation…


In much the same way, that Kenya has lost touch with its ability to manage its wildlife with a multi pronged approach, should DEFRA decide on a trophy ban in the UK, it is merely then stepping out of the international conservation arena as it pertains to hunting, and then would become nothing more than a bystander, rather than a willing and valuable contributor to important policy and conservation decisions that will shape the world’s biodiversity in the future…

DEFRA - burying your head in the sand and banning trophies because a bunch of celebrities like Ricky Gervais don’t like hunting, won’t help you design better policy for the future will it?

And by the same token, DEFRA must now ask itself if it really has the knowledge, the facts and the foresight to gamble on the imminent loss of biodiversity in all the areas of the world that rely on trophy hunting to maintain their status as important conservation areas?

And even if DEFRA has the knowledge, does it have the right, to inadvertently dictate to other countries and communities how they should manage their resources?

There may come a day when no animal needs to be hunted, but that day is not now, and it is not up to DEFRA, or a bunch of British activists, politicians and publicity stunt artists to dictate that route to other sovereign nations. It is the height of misplaced arrogance.

Please, DEFRA - it is not the time or the place to change the rules that govern the import or export of trophies into the UK; this must be done on an International level, through International consultation with member-states and through the appropriate bodies, using a rigorous and scientific process…

I vehemently oppose any change in current status… Option 4 … leave the status quo is my choice.

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