Hunting in Africa is big business. The African countries depend on hunters, willing to pay extravagant tag fees to the government and spend many thousands of dollars in the local economy, to fund their conservation efforts that preserve and protect these beautiful animals from poachers and extinction. Earlier this week Delta, United, and American Airlines all announced that they will no longer allow the shipment of hunting trophies on their flights. While the reaction from Americans was one of support, the African governments who actually understand the situation are saying that this PR stunt might be single-handedly responsible for eliminating any remaining conservation efforts for these animals.
From the AP:
“The decision by Delta Air Lines to enforce a blanket ban fails to distinguish between the trade in and transportation of legally acquired wildlife specimens, and the illegal exploitation and trade in wildlife specimens,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Africa has been struggling to contain a record surge in rhino poaching, and poachers have slaughtered tens of thousands of elephants annually for their ivory around Africa in recent years.
Neighboring Namibia also warned that a ban by airlines on trophy transportation will hurt its economy and conservation efforts that rely on revenue from hunters.
“This will be the end of conservation in Namibia,” the Namibia Press Agency quoted Pohamba Shifeta, the environment and tourism minister, as saying.
In South Africa alone, the government is estimating that there will be a loss of $500 million from this decision which would have been used to fund conservation efforts and aided in preserving the various endangered animals. Namibia says that there are 80 wildlife conservatories in the country that depend entirely on the revenue generated from hunters to survive, and without that income they will be forced to close.
This is just one more example of a knee-jerk anti-hunting PR stunt that makes the anti-hunting crowd feel all warm and fuzzy, but actually means disaster for the animals they are ostensibly trying to protect.