As pointed out by Ivo Vegter, a South African author who opposes the exaggerations and lies of extreme environmentalists, “the troubling part of this outcry is that a ban (or similar prohibitions) on trophy hunting could have exactly the opposite effect of what is intended: it could well lead to a decline in wild populations and a rise in poaching.” How so? The answer comes from someone who has no liking for hunting, but who can see this truth. Rosie Cooney chairs the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy. This organisation maintains the “Red List of Threatened Species”. Cooney wrote: “Bans on trophy hunting in Tanzania (1973-78), Kenya (1977) and Zambia (2000-03) accelerated a rapid loss of wildlife due to the removal of incentives for conservation.” She pointed out that under a trophy hunting ban, game farms in South Africa, which cover three times the surface area under government protection and contribute increasingly to conservation objectives, would probably revert to livestock and crop farming, since few would be able to make ends meet with photo-tourism alone. “Wildlife on these lands (will be) largely gone along with its habitat,” she stated.
Vegter states: “A hunting ban will also decimate burgeoning community-based resource management projects, which are enjoying considerable success in South Africa and Namibia. If lions are to be protected, people will need to live on the land with them. Because of habitat loss due to development and farmers keeping their animals safe, local communities pose a bigger threat to lions than hunters ever will [read that last sentence again!]. Rural farmers need to see game as more than just a threat to crops, and predators as more than just a threat to livestock.”
Vegter writes, truthfully: “I’ll bet not one of those 1-million hunting ban petition signatories knows about these communal sustainability projects in southern Africa, or thinks about human-animal conflict near game farms and nature reserves. Few of them have likely heard of the correlation between hunting bans and declining wildlife numbers. Yet every one of them probably feels entitled to an opinion about how poor Africans can best lift themselves out of poverty, while conserving nature for foreign eco-tourists. (Don’t shoot animals! Make more awesome beadwork and wood carving! Here’s $5 to pose for a photo instead of going to school!).”
The fact is, trophy hunting by foreign hunters willing to pay enormous figures does far more good for conserving Africa’s wildlife than the solutions proposed by radical environmentalist activists. “[T]he numbers speak for themselves,” writes Vegter. “Where hunting has been banned, lion populations collapsed. Where it was permitted and adequately regulated, they survived, and even thrived. In South Africa, hunting brings in billions of rands worth of revenue. Each hunter pays more to visit our country that your average eco-tourist.” Precisely. It all comes down to a matter of economics. People will preserve what is valuable to them. If rural Africans can see that preserving African wildlife provides them with much-needed revenue from hunters, they will preserve it. They will not preserve what holds no value to them, and is even a threat to their lives and livestock.
What an upside-down world this has become! A world that has lost its moorings, and is adrift on an ever-changing sea where animals have rights but unborn humans don’t; where men who advocate terrorism are feted as heroes but men who kill animals are called terrorists; and where the only hell that is said to exist is the one reserved for those who don’t bow at the shrine of the Green Goddess. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things…. who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than [margin: rather than] the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Rom. 1:22-25).
Shaun Willcock is a minister, author and researcher. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website; or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ email list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.