Arguments for and against trophy hunting in South Africa

The debate centred on trophy hunting and the conservation of wildlife has been thrown into the spotlight following the killing of Cecil the lion.

The face of Cecil the lion was projected on the Empire State building over the weekend, one of many demonstrations sparked by the controversial trophy hunt by US Dentist Walter Palmer in Zimbabwe.

(Also read our article: 'Blood Lions' documentary confronts 'lucrative' SA trade threatening lions)

There are about 8000 lions bred in captivity in South Africa, and about 3000 wild lions in protected areas, in which hunting is prohibited.

In light of the ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals, CapeTalk and 702 presenter Africa Melane spoke with representatives both for and against trophy hunting practices.

Trophy hunting as conservation

According to Hermann Meyeridricks, Chairperson of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA), canned hunting can help conserve threatened species.

The evidence speaks for itself. Without trophy hunting we wouldn't have the number of wildlife that we have in various areas today.

Hermann Meyeridricks, Chairperson of PHASA

Meyeridricks says that the majority of South Africa's wildlife is found outside of national parks. He says there are more game in private ownership than in the national parks.

He says that trophy hunting also contributes to the gross domestic product (GDP) and other economic opportunities such as employment. In 2013 the industry was billed to the value of R10 billion.

Ethics and animal rights

Louise Joubert, Founder trustee of SanWild Wildlife Trust, argues that the practice is inhumane, unethical and degrading to South Africa's conservation standards.

She says that the argument that trophy hunting contributes to conservation is a myth.

Trophy hunting is a big problem. At what cost does it contribute to the economy? The animals on hunting farms are conserved for one purpose only - and that is to be killed and slaughtered.

Louise Joubert, Founder trustee of SanWild Wildlife Trust

According to Joubert, the breeding and hunting of wildlife is unnatural.

Listen to the full conversation, with Africa Melane standing in, on The Redi Tlhabi Show:

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