Foreign hunters spent R1.24bn in South Africa

2014-03-12 09:35
Melissa Bachman, the US TV presenter who caused huge controversy in SA last year after this photo of her was circulated on social media.

Melissa Bachman, the US TV presenter who caused huge controversy in SA last year after this photo of her was circulated on social media. (Facebook)

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Cape Town - Foreign trophy hunters spent R1.24bn in South Africa during 2012, a new study conducted by the North West University has shown.  

BDlive reports that this is R400m more than the Department of Environmental Affairs had originally estimated.  The report was commissioned by the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) and calculations included airfares, transport, ammunition, shipping costs, trophy handling, licences and permits, additional tours as well as species fees and daily rates.  

The report was conducted via a web-based survey which respondents completed from January to October last year. On average about 9 000 foreign hunters come to South Africa every year, each spending about $17 000 (R184 790 at R10.87/dollar) per trip.  

About 88% of hunters were from the US and the average length of stay at the hunting destination was 10 nights with an additional three nights dedicated to sightseeing, the report said. Other hunters come from Denmark, Germany, France and Mexico, with growing interest from Russia.

According to Adri Kitshoff, PHASA Chief Executive, the biggest benefit of trophy hunting is conservation, which may sound ironic to many.  

However, she explained that sustainable trophy hunting and private ownership of game has allowed wildlife to flourish, with private game reserves growing from four to about 10 000 in 50 years. Game headcount rose to 16-million from only 500 000 in the same period.

She added that trophy hunting also a big economic contributor to local communities in the mostly rural areas where these expeditions normally take place.  

In November last year, US television presenter, Melissa Bachman, caused international outrage as a photograph of her posing with a magnificent maned lion she had evidently shot and killed at the Maroi Conservancy in Limpopo did the rounds on social media. set up a petition, asking the South African government to deny Bachman future entry into the country. The petition got 400 000 signatures from people right across the globe.  

The incident also sparked a major debate over whether trophy hunting should be banned in South Africa, like it has been in Zambia.  

With many passionate opinions on both sides of the argument - pro hunting and anti - the debate has been rolling ahead ever since. Check out this Africa Geographic piece for a slightly different opinion on how the debate should play itself out. 

What are your thoughts? Does the fact that trophy hunting pumps R1.24bn into the local economy make it okay to hunt the Big 5, especially at a time when most of these animals are considered endangered?  

Tell us in the comment section below, tweet us at @news24travel, chat to us on Facebook or send us your thoughts to
Read more on:    conservation  |  hunting  |  travel  |  travel south africa

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