World Bank funds sport hunting to 'preserve wildlife'

2015-07-14 13:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The World Bank has allocated $700 000 to bolster trophy hunting of elephants and lions in Mozambique as a way to preserve wildlife.

“Hunting, when properly regulated and when revenues are distributed to communities in and around parks,” said Madji Seck, a spokesperson at the bank’s Washington, DC headquarters, “is an important tool for the sustainable management of parks and natural assets,”

However, in Mozambique elephants are in a precipitous decline. Between 2009 and 2014, their numbers fell from an estimated 20 000 to 10 300, according to a survey by the Wildlife Conservation Society as part of the Great Elephant Census.

The World Bank “is driven by a utilitarian perspective on the consumptive use of wild species,” said Phyllis Lee, zoologist with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, in Kenya.

The idea of consumptive, or sustainable, use of wildlife, which is written into the Convention on Biodiversity, is that it makes sense for humans to benefit from animals in ways that don’t undermine their habitats and populations.

But, as Lee said, “it now appears to some conservation practitioners that sustainable use has been hijacked to represent [sport] hunting.”

She points to the recent admission of the Dallas Safari Club into the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world body that focuses on valuing and conserving nature by ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and the sport hunting club’s controversial auction of a permit to kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia, as “the worst possible way of allowing a hunting voice to speak for conservation.

“It’s obviously not speaking for species preservation,” Lee said. “It’s killing for revenue.”

Ben Carter, executive director with the Dallas Safari Club, said there’s a biological reason for hunting. “It's based on a fundamental premise of modern wildlife management: Populations matter; individuals don't,” he said. 

But Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation, argues: “Carter’s narrow utilitarian view has wider moral implications which cannot be ignored.

“Individuals matter, he said. “Each one may have survival knowledge to pass on or cultural intelligence, important for social cohesion. But individuals also matter because they have a right to life. They are not the pawns of one species – our own – bent on playing God and dressing it up as modern wildlife management.”

In an interview with CNN on May 20, Jeffrey Flocken, North America Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said that “from a biological perspective, trophy hunting not only flies in the face of a precautionary approach to wildlife management but in some cases has also been found to undermine it.

“Hunters are not like natural predators, Flocken said. “They target the largest specimens, with the biggest tusks, manes, antlers, or horns.”

Faced with losses of their elephants and other animals, Botswana and Kenya have banned big-game sport hunting.

'Killing animals to save them is not conservation'

In April 2014, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced the temporary suspension of all imports of sport-hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, citing concern that the two countries showed “a significant decline in the elephant population and concluded that sport hunting of elephants in Zimbabwe and Tanzania “is not sustainable and is not currently supporting conservation efforts that contribute towards the recovery of the species.”

In March, USFWS made the ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe permanent. Corruption was cited as one of the main reasons.

Australia has banned the import of trophy-hunted lions, while the European Union has just ordered the ban on elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania and Mozambique because of the threat posed to the animals by poachers.

Recently a number of airlines, South African Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, Iberia and Air Emirates cargo divisions, announced embargoes on transporting sport-hunting trophies. They join Air France, KLM, Singapore Airways, and Qantas who have had the ban in place for sometime.

These are promising signs, but, said IFAW’s Jeffrey Flocken, given the gravity of the poaching crisis, authorities such as the World Bank “need to catch on to what the rest of the world already knows – that killing animals to save them is not conservation.”

This article was distributed by the Conservation Action Trust and is used with their permission.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  us  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.