Game Warden

Other than trophy hunting, what is/are the best form/s of conserving wildlife outside of protected areas?

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Please do leave your thoughts and qualify your answer with why you believe it will work and how such methods can be implemented.

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Other than trophy hunting? Surely the first question is "Can trophy hunting ever be a useful tool in conservation?" Then you have to break it down into a species/area case by case basis. So for example in Namibia livestock farming can help perhaps counter-intuitively preserve cheetahs and leopards, and could do more if more farmers took some simple precautions.

We would prefer a question- can killing something for fun ever by justified? That of course is a moral and ethical choice.

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@@Towlersonsafari No, the question in this discussion relates to what are the alternatives to trophy hunting for conserving wildlife outside of protected areas. For the debate you refer to, please refer to this topic.

 

Matt

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My apologies, it was just that the Question heading, to the casual observer, could be mis-read as seeming to imply a preference for Trophy Hunting-it would be very useful and interesting to hear of wildlife success stories in areas that were not formal game reserves-such as the Namibian example.

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Whatever our personal objections and views on trophy hunting, in some cases, and some locations, trophy hunting is the best form of conserving wildlife outside of protected areas as it is the only form: other arguments I've heard put forward and discussed with various conservation voices is that trophy hunting could be one of the options for conserving wildlife outside of protected areas in other countries.

 

And what happens if hunting stops? Look at the recent report from Botswana since the cessation of trophy hunting. What of the marginal areas?

 

So the question I'm looking to examine in this topic is what are the viable options other than trophy hunting, how can they be applied and who should be responsible for applying them/managing them.

 

Indeed it is a wide open topic taking into account many variables. Starting with country location and security threats in specific countries. So let's examine specific case studies, where trophy hunting is the only form - why is it the only form? Why is there no other conservation being done in said locale?

 

Each country will be different, one cannot make a direct comparison between the issues of South Africa and Cameroon for instance as both are completely different, however, in both, trophy hunting is a form of conserving wildlife outside of protected areas.

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I have seen quite a bit of contradictory information from Botswana. While in some cases they are in denial and will not admit an increase in poaching, and won't admit to any difficulties since the hunting ban, there are a number of articles suggesting that they are considering lifting the ban. We all know that they are trying their best to make the ban work, but it seems that there are problems. I am not sure if this is an appeal for donor funds, or some indecision or miscommunication on the subject. I saw an article the other day on a Facebook page where a number of poachers were claimed to be killed by Botswana military. But reading between the lines - they admitted that the poachers had killed some rhino and didn't want to admit to how many. All this and Bots hasn't admitted to losing any rhino at all yet. Although the article was designed to market their zero tolerance to poaching, it also admitted that poaching was on the increase. When it comes to Botswana - I am not sure what to believe, as the media is tightly controlled.

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If you want to consider conservation and exclude hunting, then you have no choice but to look towards donor funding.

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1. Nature friendly agriculture techniques

2. Government Park Entry, Concession, Trophy & Filming Fees

3. Government Live Sale Auctions

 

2 & 3 generate substantial revenues which tends to disappear into central treasury. In an astute move the Namibian conservation authorities managed to ring-fence some of this wildlife generated income by creating the Game Products Trust Fund (GPTF). This facility has become a vital resource for conservation actions and emergencies both within and outside of Protected Areas

 

As communication technology increases transparency across the world voters will become increasingly vociferous regarding state behaviour. This trend will help to influence authorities to return wildlife generated revenues back into conservation.

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There is another way, and has been proven in kenya : the leasing of land to keep natural biodiversity and to control land use generally. This has proven to be 100% corruption free by not channeling the funds through any intermediary, and is retroactive based on results; if breaches to the agreements occur, then agree amounts are deducted from the total amount so that collective liability and action deals with the individual (s) breaking the deal ( poaching, illegal grazing of domestic stock, cutting trees etc) this system also gives the local folk enough income to have their survival needs taken care of so that thay can put their minds to no land based methods of earning and spending money..much as you and I do in our lives. The question of where to find the money for this leasing rears its ugly head at this juncture, and the answer is that it cannot be from philanthropy alone, and must come financial instruments that make it good business for multinationals , high net worth folks and normal people in the developed invest in AFRICAN biodiversity bonds ( or whatever we call them). These bonds must earn interest, give tax rebates, have carbon sequester value, and be linked to the millenium fund or its replacement. Also, wildlife ngo's should put at least 75% of their takings into leasing, and the tourism industry needs to be completely overhauled so that landowners are the first recipients of revenues, not the last as is currently the case across Africa. We have to think out side the box .

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Human hunting ??

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@@RichB Is that comment really adding something constructive to this discussion?

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Yes Im sorry...I should keep my thoughts to myself..in this respect.

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Biodiversity bonds... That is a super idea, @@Calvin. As is the 75% of all donation receipts from AR orgs and other NGOs. Have you written more about this or expanded on these ideas elsewhere? Who would issue these bonds? Have you discussed this in any detail with financial types?

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Went to Dr Richard Leakey's event at karen club last night where he talked about wildlife, the Serengeti road and the Turkana Basin Institute. As expected he blew everyone away with his wit and humor and his incisive way of thinking ( especially the Adams rib story!)

 

On the situation with wildlife in Kenya, he reckons we are in as bad a state as we were in the 1980's when he started KWS.

 

But he did not offer a clear solution of how to turn around the solution other than standing up to corruption and bad governance.

I asked him how important is the leasing of land conservancy model in addressing the attrition of wildlife for land use change, and his opinion was that because the tourism industry cannot be relied on to pay for it (I.e. Ebola,monopoly etc) and as there is no other source of money available to do this, he is 'ambivelant' about the model.

The thing is, he talked of being able to find free financing for the $1 billion road bridge across the serengeti, and yet almost exactly this amount of money could secure most of the endangered wildlife corridors and wildlife habitats across the country for an entire year using the leasing model that has been pioneered by a few tour operators in the Mara conservancies.

 

Consider that a billion dollars is less than the annual budget of any of the top 10 wildlife NGO 's, or about 2/3 the value of Kenya's tourism industry..why is this money not being put to better use for securing wildlife?

 

The answer of course is to make tourism a more effective conservation finance tool, and to get the wildlife NGO's to allocate the funds they raise purely to leasing land for wildlife.

 

In my view this is just as important ( if not more so) as the ivory / anti corruption issues to secure the future of wildlife in Kenya, and Dr Leakey's non-ambivalent and powerful voice could be key to making this happen.

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Posted (edited)

@@Calvin

 

What examples do you have (leasing schemes) that have been proven, as you say, in Kenya to be effective? I basically agree with your general thesis, but the problem I have is that these leasing schemes and conservancy models break down in times of stress like this year (e.g., rampant livestock incursions during times of drought). How does one perfect a leasing scheme with bonds (they all sound great so far) where economic and peer pressure act to self-police? IMHO, I think the bottleneck is not in coming up with clever schemes OR THE MONEY, but in perfecting the fool-proof system (I have personally seen bond proposals… they are clever, but can one really get the communities to sign on and adhere?). I think donors are tired of seeing constant "breaking of the deal", as you say.

Edited by Safaridude

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Ok, the key to this is that the conservancies in the Mara have reversed subdivision, and are a plan for the future which is more than can be said for any other model ( hunting is at the mercy of importation laws, tourism super sensitive etc).

 

In terms of source of money, donors are just as fickle, which is why it has to be based on business, and if the developed world wants African biodiversity to remain,,met needs to convince its people to pay for it in the long term, and base it on good business such as tax rebates, carbon sequester, linking with the millennium fund etc.. ..the conditions should be created whereby the it is imperative for multinationals to do endowment funds for it....tourism is a side show and nice when you have it,but since it is only done on 5 % of the country it is a non entity in this regard.mwe are just lucky we have it where we are to prove the mechanism.

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Examples? 290,000 acres of the Mara conservancies that have 16, 000 beneficiaries all deciding to use wildlife as a land use. It works, but is the money enough? If wheat prices go up, no. They will revert to wheat . Which is why land use plans have to include the economic threshold to make it work. Is the west going to carry on shouting about elephants and ivory while the land goes at 8% ! per annum In worst hit areas ...10 to 15 years we have max to get these people on board.... Have you got a better idea? There is non. Africans are thinking about survival not about elephants, and if the elephant is not part of their survival its a hindrance and will be killed off.

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@@Calvin

 

No, i don't have a better idea. As I said I basically agree with your thesis.

 

The Mara conservancies example, yes, it is the finest "leasing" model so far. I have written about it. But it has broken down (livestock incursions or "breaking the deal") during hard times (and sometimes even during good times). (And by the way, I empathize with pastoralists. I understand the history of marginalization. But I feel a deal must be a deal.) So, the key will be to somehow perfect a system that is fool-proof. Your idea about having a performance-based payment system with penal provisions in case of violations is both brilliant and a no-brainer. But can one get communities on board with such performance-based/penal system without coercion? (Yes, it will only work if they want it to work) And will the communities stand up to the agreement, given the history of deal breaking? And how do you prevent "intruders" from other communities who can just come in and violate?

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As @@Safaridude has said the leasing 'model' is the best option on the table right now but its vulnerability is the fact that the lessors do not seem to put the same strict interpretation on the terms of the lease as the lessee. They'll stick to it when it suits them and break the deal when it suits them. They can do this because, basically, what sanctions does the lessee have recourse to?

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A Guide to Establishing Community Conservancies - The NRT Model reports Northern Rangelands Trust on their Facebook page.

 

We have published the NRT Guide to Establishing Community Conservancies! The aim of this Guide is to describe the process of establishing successful Community Conservancies in Kenya using the NRT model; to draw on NRT’s experience and to document some examples of successes, challenges, and best practices in different areas of conservancy development.

 

You can read the full guide here, (PDF webpage).

 

And visit NRT's website here - www.nrt-kenya.org

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a friend of mine sent me this comment from an hunter ( i do not have a link, hope it is fine to reproduce it as it is):

 

To hunt or not to hunt.

The question which, if we get it wrong will determine the future of the wildlife in Zimbabwe, and probably other African nations.

History.
I hunted professionally for 10 years in an era when the wildlife was abundant and on the increase. The farmers were practicing game farming and encouraging wildlife instead of cattle on many properties and the wanton destruction of animals eating crops was coming to a close. All in all the wildlife industry was booming and was following similar success to what exists in South Africa today. Examples of this are the big conservancies, Save, Chiredzi River, Bubi and the Malilangwe Trust as well as many others.
The land reform program put an end to many of these areas and destruction on a massive scale took place in almost all wildlife areas. That’s a different issue and will not be part of this discussion!
Although there are a lot of positives to take out of this time, there are also huge lessons to be learned. The hunting fraternity has to answer for a lot of their actions, and to a lesser degree some of the photographic operators.

Concessions were abused and communities were not receiving the full benefits of their wildlife. Some hunting operators increased quotas for financial gain without any form of scientific studies to back up their numbers. It was and to some degree remains a period of rape of wildlife and the communities who own the areas. CAMPFIRE could be considered a failure due to the mismanagement of the original policies laid down to safeguard the wildlife and natural resources.
At this juncture one needs to note that I am discussing two very different fields of wildlife conservation. The private land on one hand and the community wildlife areas on the other. Although the private land holders were not fully aware (in the beginning) of what was required to run game farms, they quickly got up to speed and regulated their off takes and species stocking rates, similar to cattle ranching in some instances. The communities on the other hand relied on external influence. It was never personal and the belief was that the wildlife was being conserved for other people’s benefits. Poaching decreased in the initial stages but soon escalated again. At no juncture was there any input into the wildlife conservation for the benefit of the animals. The money generated was given to central councils and then used for the development of the district; in most cases in areas far removed from where the wildlife occurred. This led to the people who lived with animals such as elephants eating crops receiving little to no support and the animals were considered pests which needed to be destroyed.

The current situation
Wildlife has been put in the background and people are concentrating on survival. The private landholders who are still on their farms are not spending money on development or wildlife security as they should be due to the very real threat of losing the land to the continued land reform program. There are pockets of animals in places which can be used to restock areas once a stable environment has been achieved. There is hope! One needs to note here that I mentioned “pockets”, most of the smaller game farms are gone and even some of the really big conservancies have folded to a larger degree. We still have a couple of intact areas which are thriving and have the required protection and it is my belief that most of our wildlife for restocking will come from these properties.
On the communal land side of wildlife conservation it is a totally different story. Where I began in 1994, there is no wildlife area remaining. CAMPFIRE projects, while still trying to achieve what was laid out initially have failed. I know of only two areas who still have viable wildlife populations and even there the numbers are way down from what they were 20 years ago. I also know of 3 areas where positive investment is being made on a long term lease to revive the wildlife. One of those is my area which I hope will come to fruition soon. If compared to 20 years ago the picture looks bleak to say the least. Millions of hectares have been lost and millions more are threatened, and in an environment where there is very little stability or positive direction one can only assume these areas will also be lost in the short term. What one really needs to note here is the fact that these areas are bordering our national parks. With no buffer zone in place the natural resources within the parks are under tremendous pressure and the ecology within these parks is changing rapidly.

The parks boundary in this picture is clear.
One needs to bear in mind that when the land reform began most of the people who came onto the private land came from the communal areas where there was a distinct lack of respect for the wildlife. The CAMPFIRE policy was not on the agenda and the wildlife suffered as a result.
The hunting operators have been calling for cuts in their off take quotas for many years; but with the pressure of the economy these efforts have been largely ignored. I know of areas where animals are still being paid for that no longer exist in the field, and other instances where the very last of a species within an area was hunted because the operator figured that if it was not him who hunted it, it would have been poached anyway.

I have heard told that during the 2010 world cup in South Africa we had 22000 zebra poached in Zimbabwe. I saw the Gokwe North area become a poacher’s paradise for these skins.
Professional hunters are forced into situations where they have to shoot very young animals for their clients and we all know the end result of shooting out the breeding stock. Prices have increased to the clients due to the lack of income and this has made Zimbabwe a very expensive destination; and in truth not very good one. I say this in a broad sphere, there are still good areas to go to but they are becoming few and far between and one needs to bear in mind that I have not traveled to every concession in the last few years!

Young buffalo shot as a trophy. There are no words!
All in all – the picture looks bleak.

The Future?
I feel we as a country have reached ground zero. The policies we implement now will determine our direction and our children will judge us by them. Do we dogmatically follow our historical trends and try and resuscitate the hunting industry; which we know will probably save the wildlife and the national parks or do we adopt the international anti-hunting agenda and try something new. I personally do not think there are enough clients in the world who will visit the outlying areas where access is near impossible when we have places like Mana Pools and Hwange to keep them busy. As can be seen from the photos, the pressure on the National Parks is tremendous and if further buffer zones were to be lost then the whole system will collapse. Can the photographic operators save them? If we look back to the ‘90s we quickly realize that the photo safaris were in fact on the increase and they were operating in communal areas far removed from the beaten track. Although the politics influenced many clients to stay away I believe there can be a turnaround in this regard and its pure arrogance to say that the non-consumptive sector cannot achieve this goal.
I also think the hunting fraternity needs to wash its face in many respects, and take a more professional approach to the wildlife management and the industry. In my opinion the greatest chance the wildlife has is for the hunting industry to take the lead again, but with some serious consideration as to direction and longevity of the industry. If current trends continue then this sector should not be given any opportunity to partake in our future.

What kind of future are we going to leave the next generation?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Summary
There is a dire need to take stock of the situation and pave a way forward which will have a lasting effect. There can be no room for emotions and trendy statements. The hippie era seems to have moved into anti this and anti that, and there seems to be many, many wildlife couch conservationists who all believe they have the solution. We have a situation where a call has been made to boycott tourism to Zimbabwe. Really? If we all got behind that then we can forget about the wildlife and all consider going into cattle farming. Yes – in the National Parks! Uncompromising men are easy to follow, and all too soon we find ourselves at the cliff face. We all need to stop, think and listen. Nature is trying to talk to us but we are too busy fighting each other. The very soul of what we love is being ripped out and I for one do not want to be in a place where there is nothing left to appreciate.
I don’t have the answer – I still do not know if I really want to have my area hunted in the future. I would like to believe there is a place for it but the bigger picture determines I have to think before I act. I just hope all who consider themselves wildlife orientated do the same.
In all this; the animals, the biodiversity and the ecology must take first consideration. If we fail there then we may as well not begin!

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this is an incredible complex question and an interesting topic to be sure - a very simple statement and a very complicated task - the simple statement - the wildlife needs to have value - complicated task - giving it that value - for a moment lets stay level headed and look at a well controlled hunting model - it should include the following well regulated factors

1/carefully monitored and maintained quota of off take to ensure the population of each species on the list can sustain that offtake

2/well managed distribution of the funds generated by the above off take to ensure that local communities see the value

3/strict meat distribution regulations so that local communities get the protein generated

 

where this model fails is when these three simple factors are not maintained and end up with overshooting , corruption with regards to payments and irregular and unfair meat distribution.

 

i am not asking anyone to identify with the shooter or trigger puller - i am asking you to look at the simple $$$ value that this gives the wildlife on the ground -

 

bear in mind many of the non protected areas of africa have very scarce wildlife or in a lot of cases across the continent the wildlife is tough to see due to terrain and bush - its easy to sit here and say "well build a lodge and sell trips" but given the choice of magnificent destinations across our continent its a tough sell in a marginal area thats been attempted many many times ...especially when one looks at the logistics and competition -

 

in several countries local people get some money from each and every tourist that visits an area - sounds in principle like a great plan and yes indeed they see the value of the wildlife - in the case of the hardcore pastoralists what do they use the money for - buying cattle - then there becomes such a surge in the number of cattle because of this new found wealth that we see the cattle displacing the game and its the game that made the money for the cattle in the first place ..

 

areas like the mara, ngorongoro conservation area and several others are unique from a couple of perspectives

1/incredible wildlife reserves and in a very "visible natural terrain" -

2/the massai that inhabit both these places do not traditionally eat much game meat -

yet in the same breath give them some income from their wildlife and they will buy cattle -

 

very different to say for example the niassa province of northern mozambique with exceptional scenery but scarce wildlife , very limited infrastructure and a lot of villages who see every animal as their next meal.

 

so to turn the question around , rather than saying what alternatives are there for giving wildlife value in non protected areas , the question should be , what can we do to make local people not just understand the value but directly see the value in the form of income from their wildlife so that these areas by virtue of the valuable resource they contain actually end up becoming protected -how do we turn more unprotected land into protected land ?

 

calvin raises an excellent model that in a controlled game rich area can most certainly work where people are penalized for breach of the contract - this can and does work in several areas but requires tremendous setup

 

the human element in africa is growing at an alarming rate and the vast %age of those people are living literally hand to mouth - any man will stop at nothing to try and feed his family and so without viable well thought out alternatives they will simply eat the wildlife when they get hungry or displace it to graze their ever important and growing herds -

 

so the simple answer is

1/non consumptive (non hunting) tourism where the local communities benefit from the gain and are penalized for poaching or herding onto the land in question- this can and does work in many many areas

2/more $ on the ground from NGOs rather than spent on the billions of dollars of administration marketing and other costs- it takes a lot of $$ to set these models up and also help local communities build out infrastructures such as schools and clinics with "wildlife income"

3/any pursuit whose end result is giving wildlife value thats attainable by local communities -

 

two quotes to end off on

 

"appreciating the simple beauty of wildlife is a concept that can only be understood by people with a full belly"- Ivan Carter

"a hungry man will use wildlife to fill his belly where its the easiest alternative"-Ivan Carter

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@ Ivan Carter:

 

I think this is a well expressed and excellent post and I endorse your conclusions 100%.

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@@Ivan Carter, you should have been a poet, not a hunter ;-)

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I agree that Ivan's post is spot on and well written... Hunting works where there's governance, and little alternative land use competition, lower population densities, etc.

 

But in areas like this, where hunting is not possible ( prohibition etc) then wildlife has to be valued by 'soft' proxy such as community benefits, lime building schools, bursaries, security (NRT. Model) but this does not put money in the pockets of the landowners for livelihood income,many the success of these things can actually backfire by encouraging landowners to invest in the primary livelihood resources that makes them the income....domestic livestock etc.

 

Which is why 'hard' proxy value is so important - the payment for environmental services ( (PES) on a per ha per year basis that is at the opportunity cost value for these poor people NOT to impose any alternative land uses or monoculture..

 

 

The key is to make the leasing of land ( PES) to be a profitable undertaking by all business, - it is clear that wildlife cannot rely on tourism,, certainly not on the wildlife NGO's ,many mostly not on hunting as the market are being closed down by Animal rights pressure ( despite their own countries all - without fail - having wildlife management programs that include hunting.

 

Thoughts?

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