Abstracts of Recently Published Wildlife Papers
December 2015, Volume 13-6

COMPLEMENTARY BENEFITS OF TOURISM AND HUNTING TO COMMUNAL CONSERVANCIES IN NAMIBIA by Robin Naidoo, L. Chris Weaver, Richard W. Diggle, Greenwell Matongo, Greg Stuart-Hill and Chris Thouless. Conservation Biology (2015). DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12643


Tourism and hunting both generate significant revenues for communities and private operators in Africa, but few studies have quantitatively examined the tradeoffs and synergies that may result from these two activities. Here, we evaluate financial and in-kind benefit streams from tourism and hunting on 77 communal conservancies in Namibia from 1998 to 2013, where community-based wildlife conservation has been promoted as a land-use that complements traditional subsistence agriculture. Across all conservancies, total benefits from hunting and tourism have grown at roughly the same rate, although conservancies typically start generating benefits from hunting within 3 years of formation as opposed to after 6 years for tourism. Disaggregation of data reveals the main benefits from hunting are income for conservancy management and meat to the community at large, while the majority of tourism benefits are salaried jobs at lodges. A simulated ban on trophy hunting significantly reduced the number of conservancies that were able to cover their operating costs, whereas eliminating income from tourism did not have as severe an effect. Given that the benefits generated from hunting and tourism typically begin at different times (earlier versus later, respectively) and flow to different segments of local communities, these two activities together can provide the greatest incentives for conservation. Notably, a singular focus on either hunting or tourism would likely reduce the value of wildlife as a competitive land-use option, and have serious negative implications for the viability of community-based conservation efforts in Namibia, and possibly in other parts of Africa.

BONES OF CONTENTION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADE IN AFRICAN LION PANTHERA LEO BONES AND OTHER BODY PARTS by Vivienne Williams, David Newton, Andrew Loveridge and David Macdonald. TRAFFIC, Cambridge, UK & WildCRU, Oxford, UK (2015) ISBN: 978 1 85850 383 7. Download the complete report HERE

Executive Summary

In the 1990s, images of tigers on some manufactured Chinese medicines were replaced with lions, leading to suspicions that parts from Tigers were being substituted with Lions. In 2005, evidence emerged that African lion bones were indeed being substituted for tiger in “bone strengthening wine”, thus confirming the presence of Lion derivatives in “tiger” products. “Anger over lion bones sales” was the first South African newspaper headline in December 2009 publicly to proclaim the existence of a legal trade in African Lion bones to supply the substitute “tiger bone” market in East–Southeast Asia. It emerged that a CITES permit had been issued to a local lion breeder to export the skeletons – however permits to export lion bones had been issued a year earlier in 2008. The sharp increase in the export of lion skeletons from South Africa to Southeast Asia (especially Lao PDR and Viet Nam) from 2008 led to concerns that bones from wild lions were being sold into the Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) trade and thus negatively affecting vulnerable wild lion populations. Accordingly, it became necessary to investigate the trade in Lion bones to: (1) examine the extent to which bones were available through legitimate and illegitimate sources within South Africa; (2) determine the source of the bones and parts (wild or captive bred); and (3) assess the potential impacts on wild populations.

Editor’s Note: South Africa’s wildlife ranchers have done a lot for the repopulation of vast tracts of the country with wildlife, in particular ungulates, but also white and black rhino. However, during the last years or decade the practices of a few conflict with biodiversity conservation and their actions provide the anti-use community with heavy ammunition. Canned lion shooting is the best example. PHASA distanced itself on its 2016 General Assembly in of such practices. It remains to be seen how the PHASA decision will influence the booming canned lion industry. The 127-page booklet (written prior to the PHASA decision and also using figures which are obviously dated) contains ample information on the canned lion industry – breeding and shooting. This industry is the main source of carcasses once the “hunter” has taken skin and skull. 1,160 skeletons (about 10.8 tons of bones), were legally exported with CITES permits between 2008 and 2011; 573 in 2011 (91% destined for Lao PDR). North West, Free State and Eastern Cape provinces were the only provinces to issue export permits.

Compiled by Gerhard R Damm