Hunting and Poaching: One in the Same?
By Zig Mackintosh
Poaching and hunting are words that anti-hunting activists liberally interchange. The mainstream media have slurped up their chicanery for one purpose:
Playing on people's emotions is a great way to raise funds through donations for any "Save the (fill in the blank)" campaign. And for the media, it's an effective way to get eyeballs in front of news reports.
Their logic is simple, poachers kill animals, and so do hunters, so they must be one and the same. Bastards. Please help us fight them by opening your wallet.
But there is a huge difference.
Poaching is indiscriminate, wasteful, unsustainable, cruel, and environmentally destructive.
Controlled, selective, sustainable hunting protects wildlife and, more importantly, habitat. Those who sustainably use a natural resource will most likely want to conserve it.
Consider these African countries where sustainable-use safari hunting is a part of the conservation strategy.
Zambia's Protected Areas cover over 77,000 sq. miles or 30% of the country's total landmass in the form of 19 National Parks and 36 Game Management Areas.
Namibia currently has over 50% of its land under formally recognized wildlife management, including its entire coastline. The country has more wildlife than ever in the past 150 years, and the national wildlife herd stands at around 3 million animals.
Private game ranches and wildlife conservancies in South Africa cover 50 million acres, more than five times the size of the country's national park system.
Zimbabwe has 25 100 sq. miles dedicated to safari hunting outside formally protected areas.
A total of 94 700 sq. miles of Botswana (over 37%) is dedicated to wildlife conservation, with 17% designated as protected national parks and game reserves.
Mozambique has over 31 750 sq. miles of hunting wilderness.
Over 40% of Tanzania is under some form of wildlife management. There are 140 hunting concessions covering 96 500 sq. miles.
These African countries are evidently, committed to conserving wildlife and habitat.
A report by lion researcher Dr Peter Lindsey et al. in 2006 estimated the total area of sub-Saharan Africa devoted to safari hunting at least 540 000 sq. miles. By contrast, England's total land area is 50 300 sq. miles.
To appreciate the importance of safari hunting, read the story about the history of Coutada 9 in Mozambique and how poachers use bicycles in Tanzania in this report. Watch the short documentaries about the WOW Africa group and the establishment of the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe, and then browse through the photo essay on the horrific realities of poaching with gin traps.
Then forward the report to an anti-hunter that you might know.