Just How Big Is Big-Game Trophy Hunting In Southern Africa?

Just How Big Is Big-Game Trophy Hunting In Southern Africa?

Tebogo Mogashoa is a South African game ranch owner who got into the business about a year ago when he saw the opportunities to make money.

An initial investment of $10 million will start a successful wildlife ranching business, he told BBC. Owners can expect returns of 25 percent-to-30-percent.

“We are only on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to growth of wildlife ranching,”  Mogashoa told BBC.

The killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe shines a spotlight on Africa’s big game industry, especially hunting, BBC reports.

African trophy hunting is worth in more than $200 million a year, according to report in the Biological Conservation Journal.

Trophy hunting occurs in 23 African countries, with the largest industries in Southern Africa and Tanzania, where they’re expanding, according to Biological Conservation. Trophy hunting remains flat or is decreasing in Central and West Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, more land is used for trophy hunting than for national parks, the journal reports. “Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism.”

Big game farms breed big game specifically for hunting, occupying at least 1.394 million square kilometers (538,226 square miles) in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, the industry as a whole contributes up to $2 billion a year to the country’s economy.

Ranchers say they’ve grown the wildlife population and are providing jobs. Not everyone thinks this is a great idea.

Animals can change hands for millions of dollars at at auctions. The BBC‘s Jason Boswell went to an auction and shed new light on this controversial topic.