We start here with our answer to ARA regarding there article "Hunting - South Africa's shame"Â�. This will be the first one in a series of many to follow.
Quote from the article
"Hunting versus eco-tourism
Africa Geographic drew up the following hypothetical comparison between two
averaged sized concessions in the Okavango Delta, one selling hunting safaris and the other selling photographic safaris. This showed that photographic safaris generate more than three times the total revenue than hunting safaris and pay more than 12 times as much in staff salaries."Â�
The article also quotes other sources that confirm that ecotourism is generating more revenue per hectare than hunting places. (Unfortunately the research relied upon by the author is no longer accessible to establish whether the article's conclusion are indeed correct.) The statement might very well be true. But the purported conclusion hides two very vital facts and ignoring a third one.
The first thing that is ignored is that a place like the Eastern Cape can sustain maybe 5 ecotourism venues whilst it can sustain more than a 100 hunting venues. Conservation is firstly about space. The fewer hectares there are, the less conservation takes place. The research does not indicate how many hectares are utilized for ecotourism and how many for hunting. What is certain is that far less land will be utilized for ecotourism than for hunting which means that big chunks of conservation area will simply disappear if hunting is discontinued in favour of ecotourism. It is not a case that ecotourism is fully booked 365 days of the year and that there is a shortage of ecotourism venues. The opposite is in fact true. Previously ecotourism was confined to state subsidized game parks or very exclusive private game reserves and game was simply not available. The substantial increase in the availability of game due to hunting has created the opportunity for affordable ecotourism.
The second fact that the conclusion is hiding is profitability. The conclusion makes wildlife landowners out as fools because they choose for some bizarre reason to rather hunt on their farms than to have eco-tourism. It is a well known fact that the establishment of an eco-tourism venue is capital intensive and its profit margins are lower than that of game ranches.
The third fact totally ignored in the article is the carbon footprint of ecotourism versus that of hunting. The very fact that ecotourism earns more revenue means that there are more feet and more feet mean a much bigger carbon footprint. (See Bonner R (1993), At the hand of man, New York, Alfred A Knopf)
The statement that ecotourism could generate more revenue on a specific area than hunting could on that same area, might be is true but it does not prove that hunting is South Africa's shame. The fact is that hunting has provided more hectares where wildlife is found in 30 years that what ecotourism could do in a 100 years. In fact commercial ecotourism exists thanks to hunting.
Next edition we will deal with the annihilation of Wildlife in Zimbabwe.
(thanks to all of you who sent suggestions - it will be incorporated)
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