Topic Originator: RhinoPars
Date: Sat 24 Aug 13:31
You are correct Athletico. However they just changed their very small quota from up to 5 per year to up to 0.5% of the population per year (which currently would be a maximum of 10 rounded down to nearest rhino). This is a very small quota and is also very selective and hence sustainable. Our report shows that South Africa in many years has not hunted its full black rhino quota; and so actual hunting levels in future most probably will be below this level. The benefit of having a % quota rather than a number is that the quota adjusts up or down in response to changing numbers. South Africa have also agreed to consider not hunting should numbers fall below a certain level in future. Current numbers are above levels when the initial quota was set.
I should mention I am not a hunter myself and personally would never want to shoot a rhino; but rationally I can understand and support well-managed trophy hunting as a conservation tool.
Renegade master is spot on in that bona fide well-managed hunting can and has been of great conservation benefit to a number of species. Not all areas are suited to photographic ecotourism and in these areas hunting can play a key role in 1) creating jobs for local communities living with wildlife (who may otherwise want to see the back of wildlife if they just suffer from it - eg granny killed by elephant, their cows eaten by lions, their crops eaten by wildlife etc but who can be onsides if they see wildlife has a value to them) and 2) the hunters themselves are incentivised to protect the wildlife in their concession areas.
Hunting of small numbers of southern WR started when there were only about 1,800 of them left with numbers at one point increasing to over 20,000 before the recent 15% drop due to an increase in poaching. Very limited hunting for many years helped boost live sale prices for white rhino which in turn helped incentivise private landowners to buy rhino and expand range and numbers. Translocation of white rhino from long-established populations also helps increase their productivity whilst generating valuable revenue from live sales. Thus state conservation areas benefitted from live white rhino sales to the private sector. What people in the West often don't seem to realise is just how expensive successful conservation can be. Somehow you have to find a way to pay the bills.
The black rhino hunting in South Africa is strictly controlled and you can't just hunt any old rhino because you want to make money. To get approved for a tag to hunt you have to satisfy one or more of a set of criteria that ensures that the hunting of a specific male will further either demographic and/or genetic conservation. For example, if you have good monitoring that shows that in the area of one dominant bull, none of the cows are calving, the dominant bull may be firing blanks. They hunted one such animal in one reserve and within a short space of time, the females in the area started having calves again. Thus, in this case, the hunting of one specific bull actually resulted in increased numbers of rhino. Similarly, the reproductive performance of black rhino females has been shown to decline if there is a strongly male-biased population. People with female-biased populations don't want more males and there are limited areas suitable for just males . Without hunting, the surplus young males growing up are likely to fight and you may lose animals anyway. Hunting of a surplus male can free up food resources for the all important breeding females, whilst generating significant additional revenue to help fund protection and conservation actions.
In Namibia there has been a big increase in wildlife outside of parks due to the country's sustainable use policy that allows locals to benefit from wildlife. A number of community conservancies help protect desert black rhino on their land. Take away hunting of other species and most of these rural conservancies would turn from being profitable to unprofitable. Attitudes towards wildllife then may change negatively.
There are of course places where hunting is bad, and quotas are not properly set at or below sustainable levels, or where hunting is unethical (e.g. canned hunting of captive bred lions). Such hunting cannot be condoned. However, because you have drunk drivers it doesn't mean one should ban all cars.
People sometimes confuse declines in wildlife populations due to illegal poaching and/or insufficient incentives to have wildlife on your land (rather than sugar cane, timber or other crops); and the removal of very small numbers of very high value species though trophy hunting that incentivises and helps contribute significant funding to pay for the conservation of these species and other biodiversity that shares the same habitat. Poachers target all animals, whereas as with SA's black rhino hunting one is only targetting selected males.
Attaching link to a couple of articles a couple of years back. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/prince-william-is-talking-sense-trophy-hunting-is-crucial-to-conservation-a6940506.html and https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/trophy_hunting_conservation_and_rural_livelihoods.pdf.
In reply to livipar's question re Kevin Petersen. On balance I think he is doing a lot of good by raising awareness and for successfully raising significant funding to help provide FLIR technology to assist Kruger National Park ( that has world's largest rhino population and has suffered the highest poaching in recent years). Well done to him.
I understand his distaste for people wanting to hunt some wildlife species, but I think he is ill-informed about trophy hunting, and like many he seems to be confusing declines in species due to inadequate management, insufficient political will, loss of habitat and unselective/unsustainable levels of poaching and illegal killing; with loss of a tiny number of high-value trophy hunted animals that can benefit species as a whole and their conservation. He also quotes the high value of rhino horn which we prefer not to do in case this encourages anyone to want to get involved in poaching.
A few years back I was one of the Patrons of an SAB Boucher "in safe hands" initiative organised by ex-South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher in conjunction with the then SA Breweries (now part of Annheuser-Busch Inbev). This raised over 1 million Rand and funded a new DNA sequencer for the RhODIS Rhino DNA forensic lab that has proved so useful (see the Rhino Report). I spoke at the launch of Mark's initiative and was privileged to meet some SA past and present players including Mark and Dale Steyn on a rhino ear notching trip, and at the launch. I believe it was on such an ear-notching exercise in the field (helping with monitoring and getting samples to add more rhino to the RhODIS rhino DNA database) that got Kevin Petersen fired up to help. Mark Boucher had originally planned to launch his initiative at his last ever test match that was scheduled for Lords. He told me he had spoken with Kevin Petersen regarding the England team joining the Protea's team and all wearing rhino bracelets supporting the initiative at that match. Sadly in a warm-up match before the test series, in a freak accident, a bail went into Mark's eye and put an end to both his playing career and the Lord's launch of his initiative. Mark Boucher continues to raise funding to help the rhino conservation effort (and I think now is also helping the threatened Pangolin) which is great. Mark and some of the other SA cricketers are keen conservationists.
https://sports24seven.co.za/blog/2012/10/31/sab-and-mark-boucher-join-forces-to-keep-rhinos-in-safe-hands/11 and https://rhodis.co.za/?p=1270
Post Edited (Sat 24 Aug 13:42)