The benefits of conservation hunting and venison in Namibia

The benefits of conservation hunting and venison in Namibia

By Jofie Lamprecht

Namibia. Land of wide-open spaces. Land of contrasts. Land of the brave. From the oldest desert in the World to sub-tropical climates and wide rivers. Where the sustainable use of our abundant wildlife is enshrined in the country’s constitution. The second least densely populated country on earth.

 

Namibia has had a constant average of over 5000 conservation hunters per year[1]for the last 9 years. This seems like a high number of hunters, right? Well, with our wildlife numbers increasing year on year and the value of these animals increasing due to hunters’ dollars and the increase of wildlife range’s – the answer is categorically NO!

 

5000 conservation hunters per year in Namibia

 

Partly due to our colonial history, German hunters are still the most prevalent, with the USA market share increasing every year – these two countries representing 50% of Namibia’s total international hunting market share. From there the origin of Namibia’s hunter is wide and diverse.

Germany and the USA are dominant in the conservation hunting market

These conservation hunters harvest on average 23,000 animals each year[2]which are then exported to their home countries. Again, you think – this is high right? This is an average of 4.6 animals per conservation hunter! As stated above, Namibia has a firm grasp on wildlife numbers and thanks to the tireless effort of the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism – conservative quotas are set each year on government land and communal conservancies – as well as well-regulated on privately owned land.

Conservation hunters harvest on average 23,000 animals each year or 4.6 animals per hunter

 

Namibia’s conservation hunting contributes N$ 450,000,000[3](almost half a billion N$ OR US$ 32 million) in the primary sector to the Namibian economy a total of 0.24% of the country’s GDP[4]. This is an estimated N$ 1.35 billion (US$ 96 million) total including the secondary and tertiary sectors or 0.75% of the country’s GDP. This includes but is not limited to: airfares, tourism activities, taxidermy, shipping and much more.

 

Hunting contributes N$ 450,000,000 (US$ 32 million) to the Namibian economy in the primary sector to GDP

 

This sector is definitely a significant contributor to Namibia’s “third-world” economy as well as an important source of employment and protein in the form of venison. Using the term “third-world” is really not the case for Namibia as a visitor – it is truly a very poor example of a “third-world” country and is often referred to as the “Switzerland” of Africa. The economic value of conservation hunting in Namibia increases constantly year on year and Namibia has become Africa’s most popular conservation hunting destination.

 

Namibia has become Africa’s most popular conservation hunting destination in Africa

 

If one looks at the diversity of species that are hunted annually, Namibia offers 44 different huntable species.

 

For some of the animals hunted, the venison is not consumed. This accounts for very few animals. The vast majority of animals, including big game like elephant, rhino, hippo and buffalo are a very important source of protein for local communities.

 

Venison as a product = an important source of protein for local communities

 

So how much venison is estimated to be a product of conservation hunting each year?

 

  • From dangerous / big game animals, of which 98% occur in either state or communal lands, 320 tons of meat is harvested each year. The vast majority of this meat – about 80+% goes straight to local communities.
  • On private land this figure is even higher. If at an average of 50 kg (120 pounds) per plains game animal, this equates to 1.15 million tons of meat annually.
  • That is 28,750 18-wheeler trucks loaded to capacity with meat. That is a lot of venison!

 

An estimated 1.47 million tons of venison meat is the product of conservation hunting annually in Namibia

 

If one converts the value of this meat to money, its value would be around N$ 29.4 million (US$ 2.1 million).

 

It is my resilient and dedicated belief that there is both place for conservation hunting as well as tourism in Namibia. The two cater to different markets, a different clientele seeking different experiences.

So how do conservation hunting and tourism sectors compare?

 

Let’s go to the numbers:

  • Namibia’s tourism:
    • Currently (2016) 1.5 million tourists visit Namibia each year[5]
    • Average tourist stay = 9 nights[6]
    • Average spend by a tourist per day = N$ 1,840[7](US$ 132)
      • Tourism contributes N$ 5.2 billion (US$ 371 million) or 3.5% of the country’s GDP in the primary sector and a total of N$ 15.1 billion (US$ 1.07 billion) or 10.2% of the country’s GDP to the secondary and tertiary sectors.
      • Tourism creates 45,000 jobs in Namibia (6.5% of all jobs) per year[8]in the primary sector.
        • Interestingly – there are an average of 33.3 tourists for each job created in Namibia in tourism.

Average spend by a tourist per day = N$ 1,840[9](US$ 132) and equates to 3.5% of GDP in the primary sector

 

 

There are 33.3 tourists for each job created in Namibia

 

  • Conservation hunting:
    • 5000 hunters per year
    • Hunters spend an average of N$ 90,000 (US$ 6,429) per trip[10]
    • Using the same average stay as a tourist this means hunters are spending an average of N$ 10,000 per day. This is five times the value per day that hunters are spending, excluding the venison that they contribute to the Namibian economy:
      • Conservation hunting contributes N$ 450,000,000 towards Namibia’s GDP in the primary sector, which is 0.24% of the country’s GDP[11]
      • This is an estimated N$ 1.35 billion (US$ 96 million) total including the secondary and tertiary sectors or 0.75% of the country’s GDP.
      • N$ 100 million (US$ 7.14 million) goes directly to communal conservancies[12]
        • This accounts for 50% of the revenue earned by communal conservancies annually[13]directly from conservation hunting.
      • Hunting creates 15,000 jobs in Namibia (2.1 % of all jobs) per year[14]in the primary sector.
        • This is significant. This means 3 jobs are created for every 1 conservation hunter coming to Namibia. A much higher employment rate than tourism.

Average spend per conservation hunter per day is N$ 10,000 (US$ 715) and equates to 0.24% of GDP in the primary sector and accounts for 2.1% of all jobs 

3 jobs are created for every 1 conservation hunter coming to Namibia

 

So, what does this mean when we compare the figures?

 

Tourism is obviously the winner by sheer volume, but what about revenue and ecological impact of these numbers as well as employment?

In brief:

  • It takes 5.4 tourists per day to generate the same revenue as a 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.
      • The foot-print of these lodges take away animal habitat
      • Hunting camps are far smaller, hosting far fewer guests to generate the same revenue.
      • Habitat degradation – Roads and foot paths take habitat away from wildlife.
    • Meat
      • Conservation hunters produce 294 kg (647 pounds) of meat per hunter on average per trip – a total of 1.47 million tons of meat
      • To feed 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:
        • For 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.
      • Water
        • Water is an incredibly scarce resource in Namibia. Most water is pumped out of underground reserves.
          • At 100 liters (26 gallons) per person per day (a very low number) just tourism uses 150 million liters (57 million gallons) of water per day = 60 Olympic size swimming pools of water per day for guests only.
        • Vegetables – a vegetarian in the middle of Namibia’s wilderness has a far greater negative ecological effect eating fruit and vegetables transported 1000’s of kilometers to get there than eating venison.
        • Shower and toilet waste
      • Fossil fuels
        • Tourism uses an enormous amount of fossil fuels to get tourists to Namibia, and then onto their destination. Camps and lodges then also need to be supplied as well as the tourists driven around.
        • Electricity needs to be generated. Solar has become a popular option.
      • Trash
        • This needs to be dealt with and is often too expensive to be taken to the nearest town for recycling = it is buried close to the camp or lodge.
      • Employment
        • The huge number of those employed in conservation hunting vs. tourism is significant.

Points to consider:

It takes 5.4 tourists per day to generate the same revenue as one conservation – at what cost to the environment?

All tourists are not vegetarian, and the meat must come from somewhere?

 

Conservation hunting harvests animals in a sustainable manner, and plays a smaller part in the economy, but produces a product of venison

 

Conservation hunting has less impact on the environment all aspects considered

 

The high rate of employment in conservation hunting is significant

  

In conclusion. There is place for all forms of tourism – and yes, conservation hunting is also a form of this. We need to respect each other and understand the crucial role each plays in conservation, ecological impact, contribution to GDP, job creation and the production and consumption of venison.

[1]Ministry of Environment & Tourism – Namibia: Overview of Conservation Hunting 17/09/2018

[2]Ministry of Environment & Tourism – Namibia: Overview of Conservation Hunting 17/09/2018

[3]https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/10/25/namibia-huntings-contribution-to-the-economy/

[4]https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/10/25/namibia-huntings-contribution-to-the-economy/

[5]https://allafrica.com/stories/201712150814.html

[6]http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/uploads/file_uploads/Report_Namibia_Tourist_Exit__survey_2012_2013.pdf

[7]http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/uploads/file_uploads/Report_Namibia_Tourist_Exit__survey_2012_2013.pdf

[8]https://www.namibian.com.na/173740/archive-read/Tourism-sector-largest-earning-industry

[9]http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/uploads/file_uploads/Report_Namibia_Tourist_Exit__survey_2012_2013.pdf

[10]Ministry of Environment & Tourism – Namibia: Overview of Conservation Hunting 17/09/2018

[11]https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/10/25/namibia-huntings-contribution-to-the-economy/

[12]https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/10/25/namibia-huntings-contribution-to-the-economy/

[13]https://economist.com.na/31051/tourism/trophy-hunting-contributes-to-50-of-income-for-communal-conservancies/

[14]https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/10/25/namibia-huntings-contribution-to-the-economy/

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One Response

  1. Garrick Cormack says:

    Hi Jofie, well done, an excellent write up, great facts, figures & research. May I forward this on my platforms?

    Regards, Garrick

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Photography by: Jofie Lamprecht