Covid-19, Africa’s Conservation and Trophy Hunting Dilemma

With tourism revenue drying up due to COVID-19, the debate surrounding trophy hunting of wildlife species like African lions is more relevant now than before. Alex Braczkowski, Author provided

Wildlife conservation hasn’t escaped the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is largely due to the fact that tourism funding, which supports the conservation of wide swaths of Africa and some 23 million livelihoods, has all but dried up.

Wildlife-based tourism in Africa is worth approximately US$71 billion annually. Much of this funds the management of protected areas. For example, the protection of just one white rhinoceros at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy costs about US$10,000 each year.

Since the start of the pandemic there’s been a cut to funds for anti-poaching, surveillance and fence line management in most African reserves. Trophy hunting is a key source of this funding. It contributes an estimated $200 million to economies across the continent annually.

Trophy hunting takes place across much of sub-Saharan Africa with South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania holding the lion’s share of the market. The debate over its utility as a source of conservation revenue takes on a new urgency in the light of Covid-19. Read more…

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