Trophy hunting is back in Botswana. So perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but what Botswana did will affect their entire economy to satisfy a few vested interest groups. Despite protestations by pro-hunters and supposed ‘patriots’ on my pages, the average Botswana citizen will gain nothing from the return of trophy hunting. It will all be packed nicely in the foreign bank accounts of the companies now lining up again to fling the rifles of their foreign tourists towards an income packed overseas. Botswana did not benefit before and will now not benefit again. A failed dish might be reheated but will then taste even worse.
So let’s have some questions here.
- Do wildlife resources gain conservation benefits from profits of trophy hunting practices and the involvement of foreign companies? It costs up to $75,000 to shoot a wild lion in Tanzania for a ‘client.’ What are the hunting operators giving back to the communities? Over to you Botswana – you have had a hunting economy and a non-hunting economy.
- Has African trophy hunting benefited anyone but the companies given access to national resources without the requirement to show beneficial returns? Why do trophy hunting companies not reveal to anyone, via independent audits, their income and the distribution of their income to benefit wildlife conservation? Why is it that 70% or more of former hunting concessions in Tanzania are now so devoid of wildlife that no hunting operator will bid on them any more? Over to you Botswana – you have had a hunting economy and a non-hunting economy.
- Have international NGOs done enough with their donated millions to ensure that rural African communities are protected from negative wildlife encounters? Have those NGOs established wildlife corridors and ensured the viability of protected areas? Over to you Botswana – you have had a hunting economy and a non-hunting economy.
What will the answers be?
As Botswana has recently shown us, wildlife conservation is nothing more than a political football. As soon as one politician goes out, another one comes in with a completely different agenda. No science, no concern for the future, just vote grabbing. Is this the future of African wildlife? At the whim of governments?
Dr Pieter Kat
Lion Aid Conservation