The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) held its Convention and Annual General Meeting at the Protea Hotel Ranch Resort near Polokwane from 16 to 18 November.
At the 38th PHASA AGM the most significant and intensive discussions centered on captive bred lion hunting. Immediately before the PHASA conference, Matthias Kruse, editor of the German language hunting magazine Jäger, had announced that as of 2016, Germany’s leading hunting show in Dortmund will not allow safari operators the advertising or selling of canned hunts and the marketing of hunting for unnatural ungulate color variations. This came in the wake of information received from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that lion import permits will only be issued if the hunt of that specific lion contributes to the enhancement of the species. After an intense debate, the PHASA members present passed a motion “to distance the association from captive-bred lion hunting” with 147 votes in favor and 103 against.
The PHASA Position Paper on Captive-Bred Lion Hunting published on the Association’s website on December 7th 2015 and signed by the new PHASA president Stan Burger, “reversed [PHASA’s] 2013 position on the hunting of captive-bred lions and [the association] will no longer tolerate this form of hunting. This decision was taken at the association’s 2015 annual general meeting (AGM), where the majority of PHASA members voted to take a stand against the practice. The official resolution adopted reads as follows:
PHASA distances itself from all captive-bred lion breeding and hunting until such time as the South African Predator Association can convince PHASA and the International Union for Conservation of Nature that captive-bred lion hunting is beneficial to lion conservation.
[This] decision is effective immediately and is binding on all PHASA members. If any evidence arises implicating a PHASA member as having participated in the hunting or marketing of a captive-bred lion, such member will be subjected to PHASA’s internal disciplinary process, which will include expulsion if found guilty.”
PHASA launched Hunters Care, a new humanitarian program, at the Empowerment and Conservation Fund AGM. The initiative is aimed at consolidating the existing social responsibility initiatives of all members under a single umbrella with a view to providing a fuller understanding and account of the professional hunting industry’s contribution to community development, food security and rural education. Fund chairman Johann Combrink said the total contribution of professional hunting to community upliftment in South Africa had been significantly understated and the ability to give a full assessment of the industry’s humanitarian impact had been hampered as a result of the diverse nature of its members’ contributions. PHASA intends now to give the public a proper account of the positive impact of professional hunting on rural development.
Compiled from various reports by African Indaba editors