Africa’s Wildlife needs Hunting
How Africa’s wildlife needs hunting as much as it’s visiting photographers need wildlife!
Africa a continent of limited offering to the global market insofar as tourism opportunity. Socio economic crisis, political instability, corrupt governance, the challenges are almost insurmountable in many cases. However, in all this there is one aspect that drives the worlds travellers to brave all of the above and give this continents economies some reason of hope and that is something the rest of the so called, orderly world, does not have in abundance, generally speaking, wildlife!
The allure of Africa’s fauna and flora is an elixir like no other.
There are few that would not appreciate the roar of a lion, a herd of elephant drinking in a river filled with hippo and crocodile. The rasp of a leopard during a full moon. A sunset of magnificent colour and beauty.
These are the addictive components that bring so many to Africa! This is the last major financial input into Africa by the general public. If the wildlife goes, so does much of what is left of the African continents contact with much of the rest of the world, a hard truth that many decry.
The bottom line is that wildlife in Africa needs to be conserved for the sake of that wildlife and for the sake of employment and all that goes with safari tourism.
To do this there are two very clear forms of conservation methods: the photographic safari and the hunting safari. Both invaluable to the overall conservation goal.
Sadly, although with the same end goal, the two methods cannot find common ground!
Photo safari operators and their clientele are regarded as “conservationists”, those that hunt, as “killers”. Hunters are all branded with the same stigma of wrongdoing! Yet do we decry those that prefer to photograph, no, for we understand that there is a place for this form of conservation.
Areas that are logistically easy, are good for photo tourism. There are very few areas in Africa that are successful photographic areas but there are countless where hunting is the only form of ensuring wildlife security.
The modern photo tourist does not want to “rough it” they want the luxurious lodge and the guarantee of big game sightings. For this to take place, a very specific content is required: areas where visibility is paramount, attractive terrain, easy logistics for camp supply, cost affordability, access for visitors, natural bodies of water, variety of game including the “big five” or at least 4 of them. They want to visit countries that are politically stable (or best possible), airports that work and airlines that are reliable. Not all of Africa offers these necessities!
Africa that does not conform to the photo tourists and the operators idea of nirvana has to have a separate option. Hunting is that separate option, for there is still wildlife that can continue to thrive if funded and sustained.Should this wildlife not be given a chance due to photographic operators lack of interest? Primarily due to lack of financial reward? Should there not be an alternate option for the wildlife in those remote, wild, malaria ridden, tsetse fly infested, cost prohibitive, politically questionable parts of Africa where the average tourist would never ever venture?
The adventurous spirit that form much of a hunters make up will absolutely embark on such a trip to such a part of Africa. They will spend the money required to create our nirvana and in turn we will spent much of it on the sustainability of wildlife and in many cases the support of communities to co operate and co exist with the wildlife.
We are tired of the bigoted manner in which we are dismissed out of hand by so many of these “conservationists”. Try to think beyond the mundane existence of your limited game drive in which you ticked the boxes on what you needed to see, the rush back to camp for a 5 course meal and an air conditioned room. Where the only reality in what you actually did was that which took place in the wilds of where you were and that reality will not be there for your grandchildren should we not make a concerted attempt to work together on saving Africa’s wildlife.
Let’s accept that we differ in how we get there, in that difference, support the end goal, for with out this, your lodge and your 5 course meal will be the only thing left and that you can have anywhere in the world.
Article written by Paul Stones