Alan Murphy
Australia AU
Jul 8, 2014 July 8, 2014

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

Categories: Alan Murphy's Column, Conservation & Sustainability

Alan pokes his nose into the contentious issue of hunting this week. A topic which raises hackles and tempers. Is it possible that hunting safaris do more good than harm?

The great thing about writing a blog is that you don’t have to be objective. You can give your opinion, spew propaganda or nail a topic with your cutting intellect and brazen wit. Or...you  just can tell it like it is.

Hunting makes me angry, frustrated, scared and most of all...shocked. It is unfathomable to me that there could be any justification for putting a bullet between the eyes of Africa’s magnificent animal species.

Arguments for Blowing away Wildlife
One pro-hunting argument is that the exorbitant fees (around US$15,000) to shoot an animal get ploughed back into conservation. But this does not wash with me. Find another way to raise the money – that is no reason!
And then of course you hear the line that that it’s all about the hunt, the tracking of the beast and not the bullets...so use a camera instead of a gun then!! It ain’t rocket science people.

Canned Hunting
Pictures of fat white guys standing over the dead carcass of a magnificent animal, such as a rhino, make me feel ill. And as for canned hunting...do you know what this disgusting practice is?

Canned hunting is the raising of animals from young for the specific purpose of being hunted. Having never lived in the wild, and having been cared for by humans, they do not sense danger from a fat white guy holding a gun a few metres away. So, it’s just a slaughter. The poor animal makes no real attempt at escape and the hunter gets the ‘thrill’ of putting a bullet straight between its eyes. Now, does that turn your stomach?

Hunting Money is Blood Money
I have heard of a place in Zimbabwe which has hunting safaris with the profits ploughed back not only into conservation, but also the local community, which is very poor.

That money is sorely needed. Easy for me to say it’s wrong when I live in relative comfort, but, the fact is – it is wrong. Some things just are. There must be, and are, better income-generation schemes for local communities. Tikondane (www.tikondane.org; in Zambia) is a good example of a small ngo utilising income generation schemes for the benefit of the local community.

And if you think, there’s no way this horrendous practice could be popular, just pop ‘hunting Africa’ into Google. It’s an eye opener. Botswana recently outlawed hunting and hopefully other countries will come to their senses. But, while there’s a market for it, it’s difficult to see how things will change.