Hunting is Conservation in Africa
This probably sounds quite controversial, but I will try and clear it up for all you greenies.
Every day, local hunting outfitters and organisations receive hostile e-mails and phone calls decrying their contribution to the deterioration of African wildlife, and begging them to rather focus on animal conservation.
But what many anti-hunting lobbyists do not realise is that, in South Africa, hunting and wildlife conservation have become interchangeable. For example, Kenya banned all hunting in the 70’s and have since lost 85% of their game. This is because there is no incentive for farmers to invest in game and therefore no reason to keep it. In Africa, If something isn’t economically viable, it quickly vanishes and unless wildlife stays a renewable resource its doomed.
According to the latest statistics provided by The Professional Hunting Association of SA, We currently have an estimated 20.5 million head of game. 16 million of these animals are on private property and the rest on state owned national Parks. In 2013 approximately 400 000 game animals were hunted, which is a huge 0.025% of South Africa’s total game population. That figure was untrue, The actual amount of animals hunted was 40000, a minuscule 0,0025% and with the population growing at 30% annually how can hunting, be contributing to the extinction of game.
If the market for hunting disappears, the 16 million game animals on private farms will soon be replaced by crops and cattle resulting in habitat destruction which wouldn’t matter as there would be no more game to occupy the destroyed habitat.
I hunted my first impala at the age of 12. Initially I was very sceptical about the whole idea, I mean this Impala was just chilling there, chowing leaves when I come along and put an en to this peaceful image. This was when I realised that hunting is about so much more than just killing an animal and mounting it on a wall. Its about the challenge, the experience of pitting yourself against mother nature. its about the camaraderie between you and your hunting buddies as you sit around the campfire and share stories from the day. Its about getting away from the modern world and experiencing the silence of the veld as your walking through it.
For example, on a game drive, you sit in the car chatting with your mates, the car stops, you take your photos, and you move on.
Whereas A day of hunting usually starts early, at like 4:30 with coffee and rusks around the fire. You get dropped of at some high ground where you wait for the sunrise and then scout the veld around you. If you don’t see anything you make your way down and try to find some fresh tracks to follow or head in the direction of the animals you spotted. This is where it gets interesting, because its not like you casually walk around bump into an animal and open fire. You walk slowly and quietly with utmost concentration, with each step you risk making a noise that could frighten your prey.
As your walking slowly through the veld you start noticing the tiny fauna and flora you would never see on the back of a bakkie. You notice the small little details that make the veld such an amazing place. Hunting is about trying to beat mother nature and very often being humbled by her. There are so many mistakes you can make that quite often you don’t even realise you’ve cocked it up until you hear something running away in the distance.
So with 80 % of game owned privately and supported by the hunting market, Hunting is necessary and a main contributor to conservation in Africa. If Hunting is banned , the habitat and veld in which these animals live gets destroyed so I ask you is hunting conservation or not.