Below are extracts from WWF in response to Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk's publication of the draft Norms and Standards for the hunting of listed species in South Africa.
Statement by WWF
Dr Rob Little, Acting Chief Executive of WWF South Africa, says that, "WWF-South Africa regards hunting as a legitimate conservation management tool and incentive for conservation, and regularly engages with major game hunting associations to promote ethical hunting and combat inhumane practices.
"We aren't opposed at all to trophy hunting (See definition and best practices below) and wholeheartedly support the proactive, science-based, in-situ management of plant and animal populations and the sustainable consumptive use of surplus stocks, but oppose canned hunting where animals are specifically bred for hunting outside of natural systems."
Dr Little adds: Canned hunting detracts from the principle that activities which involve the sustainable consumptive use of natural resources should be based on the management of the renewability of such natural resources. Therefore, the management of such "canned" species has no incentive for the future conservation of such species, nor their required natural habitats. Incentives for canned hunting are not based on the well being of the species and thus generated income doesn't benefit conservation. Canned hunting negates the principle of "fair chase" which is the fundamental basis for the hunt.
Trophy hunting is defined as "a specific form of wildlife use that involves payment for a hunting experience and the acquisition of a trophy by the hunter." WWF recognises the diversity of cultural attitudes and opinions with regards to trophy hunting. Trophy hunting occurs and ultimately, it is up to local communities and their local and national governments, to determine how they use their natural resources to benefit people, species and habitats.
Many countries utilise trophy hunting as a wildlife conservation and management tool within the broader framework of sustainable use programmes. When improperly managed, trophy hunting can have serious detrimental impacts on wildlife. Thus, in some circumstances, WWF provides scientific and technical advice to relevant stakeholders (e.g., government and local authorities, local communities and private landowners), to improve the management of such programmes, to assist them in providing benefits to species populations and/or habitats, and local communities.
WWF acknowledges that trophy hunting, where it is scientifically based and properly managed, has been proven to be an effective conservation and management tool in some countries and for certain species. That is particularly the case in areas where alternative sources of income or land use practices are unlikely to bring in much needed funds for people or wildlife, or to create sufficient incentives for conservation (as opposed to other forms of land use). In addition, there is evidence that in some areas where trophy hunting is used as one of a range of conservation tools, poaching of both the hunted species and other species in the habitat has been reduced.
However, WWF recognises that the trophy hunting of threatened species may appear at odds with their conservation, particularly those that are seen as icons of the natural world and as powerful symbols of the need for concerted action. WWF urges that for threatened or endangered species, all other conservation incentives and activities be fully explored before considering hunting them for trophies. Notes to the editor: WWF's involvement in trophy hunting is in two major forms: o field activities, mostly in the form of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) projects with a trophy hunting component, and o partner in discussions regarding proposals from member states to the CITES treaty which concern requests to allow for specific animals to be hunted for trophy.
For more information:
Dr Rob Little Acting CEO WWF-SA
Tel: +27 21 888-2831
Mobile: +82 329 0249