Airnam, SAA Urged to Stop Transporting Animal Trophies (allAfrica.com)

A UNITED States-based animal protection agency has petitioned all airlines around the world, including Air Namibia and South African Airways (SAA), to stop transporting hunting trophies.

Humane Society International (HSI) chief executive officer Andrew Rowan in a media statement on Monday urged Namibia and South Africa to abandon trophy hunting “in favour of non-consumptive ecotourism.”

“HSI is petitioning all airlines to end the transporting of hunting trophies of Africa’s big five species: African elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard and buffalo. It is time South Africa and Namibia reconsidered the supposed value of trophy hunting to their economies and the harm it is causing to wildlife populations, the way in which it undermines the rule of law including through corruption, and the vehement disapproval of this activity as demonstrated by the outpouring of concern over Cecil’s killing,” he argued.

Almost 20 major international airlines and carriers, including Delta, United Airlines, Air Canada and Air France have changed their shipment policies to exclude hunting trophies following the international outcry caused by the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe at the hands of an American trophy hunter last month.

Pressure is mounting for a ban on the import of hunting trophies to the European Union and the US. In May this year the world’s largest airline, Emirates, imposed an outright ban on hunting trophy cargo, sending the hunting industry into a tailspin, as South Africa’s national carrier SAA also issued a temporary embargo. SAA has since overturned the decision.

Rowan said trophy hunting contributes a small fraction of the money generated by non-hunting tourism in Africa.

Trophy hunting takes animals out of the population and reduces the experience and interest in wildlife tourism, as with Cecil the lion.

He made reference to a report by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) which states that wildlife-based ecotourism brought an estimated US$34,2 billion (about N$435 billion) in tourist receipts in 2013.

A study of nine countries that offer trophy hunting found that in 2011, tourism contributed on average about 2,4% of gross domestic product (GDP), and trophy hunting only 0,09 per cent of GDP. Meanwhile, the ban on trophy hunting and the shipping thereof will have dire consequences, not only for the Namibian economy, but also for renowned conservation efforts, according to the minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta.

“This will be the end of conservation in Namibia. These anti-trophy hunting campaigns are very serious as many countries are joining the chorus now.

It will also be a disincentive for the hunter if trophies are not to be shipped,” he told the inauguration of the Game Products Trust Fund last week.

– Nampa