By Jofie Lamprecht
“MY JOB IS TO GET YOU CLOSE TO THE ANIMALS,” ARCHER ANNOUNCED TERSELY. “YOURS IS TO DO YOUR PART WELL.”
WHITE HUNTERS – BY BRIAN HERNE
As this classic line from – Arthur H. Neumann (1850 – 1907) – is very fitting, “do your part well”, this phrase could not be more fitting in this day in age. We, the hunters of the world, are tasked with maintaining our primal right to hunt. And yet, hunting in the 21st century is much more than that. Our endeavors into the wilds of the world with our weapons now has a positive effect on wildlife numbers and maintaining contiguous expanses of land. This is in contradiction to years gone by when hunting devastated populations of wildlife and the wild places that they roamed.
It is hunters that proportionately protect more marginal game areas in Africa than any other group. Charity is not sustainable, hunting is – when conducted in the correct, regulated and ethical way which is the modern way of practicing this time-honored sport.
Charity is not sustainable, hunting is.
Hunting reaches some of Africa’s, and is the case on other continents, most impoverished communities. If hunting ceases, so does revenue, employment, social upliftment, job training and provision of vital protein supplied by harvested old animals.
Hunters traverse, often on foot, areas where both photographic tours as well as game rangers never go. Eyes on the ground for tracks of prey – it is inevitable that they will see signs of intrusion as well as come across snares, carcasses and tracks of those with no official or legal reason to be there.
And it is here where the limited environmental impact of hunting as well as unproportionate revenue generated versus photographic tourism comes into its own. Please don’t get me wrong – photographic tourism plays a massive part in the protection of wildlife as well as large and varied habitats around Africa.
Photographic tourism plays a massive part in the protection of wildlife as well as habitat
According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature): “successful tourism relies on a high level of capacity, capital, infrastructure, large wildlife populations, political stability and a scenic environment – all of which may be lacking; and it generally generates considerably greater environmental impact (through roads and infrastructure, water use, rubbish generation etc.) than limited, carefully managed hunting.”
In Namibia it takes an average of 5.4 tourists per day to generate the same revenue as a plains game conservation hunter. What is the ecological and carbon footprint and tourism vs conservation hunting? Camps and lodges need to be 5.4 times bigger to generate the same revenue. Hunting camps are far smaller, hosting far fewer guests to generate proportionately greater revenue. Conservation hunters produce 294 kg (647 pounds) of meat per hunter on average per trip – a total of 1.47 million tons of meat per year. To feed Namibia’s 1.5 million tourists, at an average of 180 grams (6.5 ounces) of meat per day per person one needs = 270 tons (600,000 pounds) of meat per day. An average tourist stay being 9 days on average this is a total of 2.43 million kg of meat for all tourists. With conservation hunting alone, if we only feed tourist’s venison – which a lot of lodges to – there is not enough to go around. Yes, there is commercial meat hunting as well as domestic stock raised for meat consumption – but I think you get the point we are making here.
It is a fact, for the most part, that hunters have been pushed to more and more marginalized areas around the world. The prime areas are kept for photographic tourism. Hunters need to protect these areas for the game numbers to grow. Botswana is a prime example of where water was pumped for elephant by hunters, and as water became permanent other species moved into these areas. Hunting was banned, so to the water paid for by hunters that were no longer welcome in those areas. The wildlife had to move to find water or die.
Sport hunting generates more revenue for the local economy than poaching. In remote areas hunting operations are often the only form of employment available. Meat generated by hunting feeds mouths that would otherwise be filled by indiscriminately poached animals. These poached animals filling stomachs but not pocketbooks. Hunters on the ground are much more effective at patrolling large marginal areas to combat poaching. Photographic operators have a very easy schedule to figure out, making it easy for poachers to work around them.
“POACHING HAS BECOME A DARK LESSON IN SUPPLY-DEMAND ECONOMICS.”
Stop poachers and let these hunters stay in areas for long periods of time, and the results are easily seen. A popular and successful conservation turn around can be seen in Coutada 10 in Mozambique with their incredible wildlife turn-around and their “24 lions” project.
I would like to use one of our big game areas – Mahango National Park – as an example. In the calendar year of 2019, we delivered over 20 tons (40,000 pounds) of protein to the community surrounding the park. Our camp permanently employs six people, with many more employed for camp building as well as helping to skin large game in the field for which they are paid cash. Our mere presence in the park has curbed intrusion, and although we have not found many snares, removed a few dogs, still chase fish poachers – there is a presence and the community know we are watching.
Another striking comparison is the hunting area across the river from Mahango – Bwabatwa West National Park, also known as “Buffalo core,”. This park would need 1000 tourists a day to generate the same amount as hunting – per day. Currently 900 tourists visit the park annually…
Let communities within or surrounding hunting areas benefit with real projects – not promised projects that will never happen. Meat distribution of hunted animals is key. This will further reduce poaching. Positive actions by hunters needs to be publicized as much as possible. Hunters doing good needs to be shouted from the roof tops.
So, what “part” should we – that mean you – do well? This simple, yet hard to understand principal for many, is as follows and is applicable wherever hunting is conducted:
- Keep on hunting – it maintains large tracks of land all over the world, its environments and animal species that live there.
- The provision of protein free of steroids and other growth hormones to your table and if possible, the tables of others and the less fortunate.
- Trophy hunting is defined as “a specific and selective legal form of wildlife use that involves payment for a hunting experience and the acquisition of a trophy by the hunter”. Educate your friends as to the difference between hunting and poaching.
- It is only with a joint effort of both the public and private sectors as well as the hunting and non-hunting communities that we will even start to win this battle against poachers. If we can stop the infighting and conflict between these groups and focus whole-heartedly on the criminals and villains in this situation. The poachers. These heartless souls that just kill for money. Mercenaries that kill and lob off horns and tusks for the insatiable greed of the east. The east that makes this scarce resource more value medicinally and status than it really is.
- It is virtually impossible to convince a non-hunter to become hunters. This is a natural progression of primal instinct that develops at different rates – if at all – in all people. I am convinced that this instinct is inherent in all, particularly men. This instinct has a large and growing following by ladies – this is awesome, we need more of you. It must be acted on – if not by hunting then through other pursuits.
- Poverty and weak governance are key factors identified in poaching trends.
- Modern day hunting is applied conservation.
- Venison as a product = an important source of protein for local communities
So, do your part well. Spread the word. Keep hunting – remember ‘every day is a hunting day, not every day is a shooting day’.
 DAMON TABOR – MARCH 2014 MEN’S JOURNAL
Photography by: Jofie Lamprecht