A letter to Mr. Derek Joubert

A letter to Mr. Derek Joubert

by Jofie Lamprecht

 

Taken from a Facebook post: Sound bites from filmmaker Derek Joubert.

 

This is not an attack. This is a debate, and I believe that these questions need answers:

 

“Show me a piece of hunting land and give me the balance sheet of what it really earns for that nation (not just the hunting company), and I will present a more viable economic model.”

 

The Namibian hunting industry generates an estimated N$ 550 million (US$ 40 million) per year. N$ 100 million (US$ 7.4 million) is generated by communal conservancies and N$ 450 million (US$ 33 million) on private land by trophy hunting.

Trophy hunting contributes 15,000 jobs in the primary sector.

 

Trophy hunting is crucial contributor to Namibia’s GDP and social upliftment.

https://www.newera.com.na/2017/07/03/trophy-hunting-generates-millions-says-environment-ministry/

 

Animal rights agendas are not conservation agendas. Conservation works at a population, species and ecosystem levels. Animal rights works at the individual level. And what might be good for an individual or a collection of individuals might not be good for the long-term survival of populations, species and biodiversity.

 

If animals do not have a value, or if that value is not competitive with other options, then those animals will not have a place, except in a few small isolated islands of protection. And island protection in a sea of other land uses is a disaster for long-term conservation.

 

Wildlife needs to have a value. Animal’s rights are important. But for wildlife they must be placed within a sound conservation setting, where conservation decisions on behalf of populations, species and ecosystems take priority over the rights of individual animals.

Namibia and a lot of other southern African countries with its annual average rainfall will benefit more from wildlife than it will from domestic stock.

 

“It takes a special kind of person to go out and appreciate the wild and a species and then blast its brains out.”

 

I assume by this statement that you are a vegetarian Mr. Joubert? If not a vegetarian then I assume that you don’t eat any game meat? Cultivation of vegetables and fruit as well as rearing domestic animals reduces habitats where wild animals could live. These animals are reared, and killed by others? An animal still dies. You let others then do the killing for you.

 

Hunting has been part of human DNA since the start of time. This primal instinct is more prevalent in some than others.

 

I think Robert Ruark summarizes this well: “For some unfortunates, prisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than any-thing to be found in ‘Africa’, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men is buried the involuntary response to the hunters horn, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with a club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with a gun, and finally with a formulae. How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter’s heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood… This is a simple manifestation of ancient ego, almost as simple as the breeding instinct, simpler than the urge for shelter, because man the hunter lives basically in his belly. It is only when progress puts him in the business of killing other men that the bloodlust surges upward to his brain.”

 

“To summarize, it is not possible to win any economic argument for hunting so it comes down to an emotional one. It is ironic that the hunting representatives urge everyone not to get emotional about the subject and yet hunters come to Africa to get the (emotional) thrill of killing. Anyone who says that it is for conservation can simply write a check to any of the great NGOs saving wildlife today.”

 

Charity is not sustainable – hunting is.

When hunting is well managed it is extremely good for conservation. Support for legal, ethical hunting of indigenous wildlife within sustainably managed populations, in large open landscapes. Namibia’s trophy hunting model works – private, national parks and especially communal conservancies. Today there is more wildlife in Namibia than at any time in the past 150 years. The game population has grown exponentially – from 500,000 animals in the 1960’s (the low point) to an estimated 3 million animals today. These large landscapes are kept for wild animals rather than taken over by domestic stock.

 

The greatest threat to wildlife conservation in Namibia, and globally is land transformation. Once land is lost to agriculture or other purposes it is a loss to biodiversity and can no longer support wildlife.

 

We need to work together to ensure that land under wildlife derives the greatest possible returns through a multitude of income earning activities.

 

“Roughly 25% of the lions killed today are from trophy hunters. I pick them first because this is something we can restrain ourselves from doing and in a stroke, save 556 male lions of the possibly 2500 males left.” 

 

And who kills the other 75% of lions Mr. Joubert?

 

What about the lion population in Kenya, Sir? Since all hunting stopped in that country, and lions lost all value to the indigenous people. They have been persecuted and are regionally extinct in most areas – islands of protection where they are still welcome.

Have you worked on extending lions range? – or simply just want to stop lion hunting all together and give them even less value?

 

“Value generated by hunting is value created by killing and that sends an even more destructive message, one that states and embeds in cultures that if you want value you kill things.”

 

I disagree with this agreement completely. There is a difference between 1st world vs. 3rd world protection of animals. In the 1st world if there is a threatened species an area is set aside, fenced and protected. People look through the fence and admire what they have done. In 3rd world Africa – anything and everything without a value will be destroyed. Without value animals will be killed, forests felled and wild places destroyed. The principal ‘if it pays it stays’ is of specific application to the 3rd world. We need to give our animals value. An animal that is worth more dead than alive cannot survive in Africa.

 

Mr. Joubert. We all don’t have the benefit of enjoying open access to Botswana’s protected areas. When last did you go to areas where hunters extended animals ranges by pumping water in areas that had none? Areas where no water is being pumped today… These areas dense with mature Mopani where a game drive tourist would not be happy? What about these areas?

 

Have you seen the habitat destruction due to over population by elephant in these ‘protected areas’ in specifically Botswana?

 

Poaching is running rampant in Botswana – multiple reports ““Recent research predicts that about 600 tonnes of bush meat is smuggled out of this district monthly.  I thought the research was over exaggerated but judging by the recent trends, 600 tonnes may be nothing,” Blackbeard said.”

http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=70434&dir=2017/july/24

 

“In progress: A Surge of Poaching in Botswana” by Ron Thomson August 2, 2017: https://www.mahohboh.org/2017/08/02/in-progress-a-surge-of-poaching-in-botswana/

The sustainable use of Africa’s wildlife is what is important. Not protecting them to death.

 

Tourism operators and guides need to educate visitors from urban industrialized countries about conservation in Namibia, and the rest of Africa.

 

The tourism sector should not skirt around the uncomfortable discussion about hunting, but face it head on and explain the importance for conservation.

 

Countries with poor conservation records are keen to influence how Namibia and Africa should manage its wildlife. Examples of countries with terrible conservation records include countries like England and Kenya. Their wildlife and contiguous wildlife areas devastated.

Create a value for these animals within a well regulated, sustainably managed wildlife landscape.

 

There is place for all of us Mr. Joubert – this is not a single sided or easy debate.

 

I thank you for taking time to read this.

 

The thought process of this piece is heavily thanks to the thoughts of Dr. Chris Brown from his article – The role of hunting through the eyes of a non-hunting conservationist published in the 2017 HuntiNamibia.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Rick Nordling says:

    Jofie,

    Wonderfully thought out and brilliantly stated argument for hunting….BRAVO for having the intelligence, knowledge, and experience to combat these anti hunting forces!

  2. Jofie,

    Well written. Thank you for making the effort.

    Namibia and Montana have much in common, in particular needing to educate urban tourists as to why our animals are on the range.

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Photography by: Jofie Lamprecht