Saai, an organisation that protects the interests of family farmers, which also includes game farmers, recently submitted commentary on the UK government’s consultation on whether to ban the import and export of hunting trophies to and from the UK. The call for evidence and consultation to gather views and expert evidence on trophy hunting was announced by Zac Goldsmith, International Environment Minister. The commentary period ends on 25 January 2020.
Overexploitation and inappropriately managed hunting activity are cited as some of the main concerns, because these are drivers of species extinction and biodiversity loss according to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
“The legal and sustainable use of wildlife, as well as the legal trade in hunting trophies has contributed greatly to the recovery of dwindling species populations – and even saved animals like the bontebok and the roan and sable antelopes from extinction,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.
The wildlife ranching sector not only contributes to the conservation of wildlife, but also makes a considerable contribution to the economy through tourism and the job opportunities that it creates.
“We are aware that South Africa is being used in this debate as a prime example to lobby against trophy hunting. The facts and research used against our wildlife ranching industry are poor and we believe that the wildlife farmers and their representatives should be given the opportunity to state their side of the argument before a decision is made,” Rossouw adds.
Taking note of Defra’s statement – that there will be future policy options to be discussed in terms of trophy hunting – Saai requested a meeting with Defra to make presentations on the wildlife ranching sector in South Africa along with network partners from across the industry.