International tourists and South African citizens want to see an end to trophy hunting, in favor of wildlife-friendly experiences, new research reveals.
The research has been published as South Africa opens-up consultation on its draft Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity white paper.
World Animal Protection commissioned a survey into public attitudes towards trophy hunting, surveying 10,900 people including international tourists from countries who most frequently visit South Africa, and South African citizens.
The survey suggests there is a universally strong opposition to the blood sport and a desire to finance the protection of the nation’s iconic wildlife through non-lethal alternatives such as responsible wildlife tourism.
84 percent of international tourists agree that the South African government should prioritise wildlife-friendly tourism over trophy hunting.
74 percent of international tourists agreed that making trophy hunting a key pillar of policy will damage South Africa’s reputation, and 72 percent would be put off from visiting the country altogether.
7 in 10 South African citizens agree their country would be a more attractive tourist destination if they banned trophy hunting
74 percent of South African citizens agree that trophy hunting is unacceptable when wildlife-friendly tourism alternatives have not been fully utilized.
Nick Stewart, global head of campaigns for Wildlife at World Animal Protection said: “The white paper seeks to create a prosperous nation, living in harmony with nature where biodiversity is conserved for present and future generations, this is a great start.
“But it falls short on clarity or tangible commitments to end global commercial wildlife trade, which includes captive lion breeding, the use of big cats for traditional medicine and trophy hunting.
“The Republic of South Africa needs to take decisive action to move towards a more wildlife friendly future.”
He added: “It’s not too late for them to grasp the opportunity to make a clear stand, by fully embracing non-lethal wildlife-friendly alternatives, including responsible wildlife tourism, which is clearly what international tourists and local people are seeking.
“It’s time to make public, time bound commitments, starting with killing off trophy hunting – for good.”
Edith Kabesiime, wildlife campaign manager (Africa) at World Animal Protection said: “The life of a wild animal is worth so much more than the trophy it is too often reduced to.
“This is the shared view of tourists, who want to visit the country to see wildlife alive and thriving, and of South Africans who want to see the incredible wildlife on their doorstep, protected properly, in a humane and ethical manner.