From AfricanBusinessReview. Story by Nye Longman.
The world vented its collective scorn via social media when U.S. dentist Walter James Palmer killed Cecil the lion, a popular attraction for international tourists visiting Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
It is now more pertinent than ever to question the economic legitimacy of the global business of endangered-species trophy hunting.
A recent article by National Geographic highlighted that regulated hunting is not only secured by a series of international treaties but is also supported by the likes of the World Wildlife Federation as integral to global conservation efforts.
A piece in the Endangered Species Handbook rightly compares revenues raised from hunting with those raised by eco-tourism and concludes that the latter makes more economic (not to mention environmental) sense.
This has recently been backed up by an interesting study on the economic worth of elephants conducted by iworry, a campaign set up to prioritize cracking down on the illegal ivory trade. “Dead or Alive? Valuing an Elephant” highlights that an elephant brings roughly $23,000 a year to local economies, which totals over $1.5 million over the course of its lifetime.
The Centre for Responsible Travel notes that eco-tourism captures $77 billion of the global market and is predicted to make more gains in the future. Recent research by the International Federation for Animal Welfare suggests that legal hunting contributes just $200 million to African economies and contributes as little as 2 percent to tourism revenues.
Palmer insists that his hunt was conducted within the boundaries of the law and indeed much hunting is carried out legally.
There is certainly a case to be made for controlling populations in the interests of biodiversity, but can the killing of any endangered animal (even legally) truly be justified?
Read more at AfricanBusinessReview.