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Trophy Hunting in Namibia: Controversial but Sustainable? A Case Study of “Hunters Namibia Safaris”



The international outcry and indignation which followed the killing of " Cecil the Lion " in Zimbabwe in July 2015 opened a Pandora's Box on the ethical and economic implications of trophy hunting, especially in African countries. Private trophy hunting operators such as Hunters Namibia Safaris, a Namibian company, more than ever before, had to justify their business. No easy task when your trade is often described as being controversial, unsustainable and, in many instances, cruel. While the debate on trophy hunting was always intense internationally and locally, the death of " Cecil the Lion " only escalated it. Governments, trophy hunting operators, professional hunters, communities impacted by trophy hunting, and national and international NGOs all had a point of view in the heated debate over whether or not trophy hunting is indeed a sustainable and worthwhile activity. Some countries such as South Africa and Namibia tout the success of the industry in terms of economic gain and wildlife conservation. Botswana took another direction and banned trophy hunting in 2013. But now the country faces the loss of income that hunters provided, as well as growing instances of wild animals such as lion and elephant threatening rural communities. So who is right and who is wrong about the sustainability of the industry? Some say that a well-regulated trophy hunting industry plays an important role in the conservation of wildlife and guarantees immediate and long-term economic benefits for communities (as well as the country as a whole). Others say the opposite – according to this view, trophy hunting is an unsustainable and unethical practice which wreaks havoc amongst big cat populations, elephants and endangered species such as black rhino.
Trophy Hunting in Namibia: Controversial but Sustainable?
A Case Study of Hunters Namibia Safaris
Working Paper, November 16, 2015
The ESC Rennes School of Business
By Tom McNamara, Cyrlene Claasen and Irena Descubes
The international outcry and indignation which followed the killing of “Cecil the Lion” in
Zimbabwe in July 2015 opened a Pandora’s Box on the ethical and economic implications of
trophy hunting, especially in African countries. Private trophy hunting operators such as Hunters
Namibia Safaris, a Namibian company, more than ever before, had to justify their business. No
easy task when your trade is often described as being controversial, unsustainable and, in many
instances, cruel. While the debate on trophy hunting was always intense internationally and
locally, the death of “Cecil the Lion” only escalated it. Governments, trophy hunting operators,
professional hunters, communities impacted by trophy hunting, and national and international
NGOs all had a point of view in the heated debate over whether or not trophy hunting is indeed a
sustainable and worthwhile activity. Some countries such as South Africa and Namibia tout the
success of the industry in terms of economic gain and wildlife conservation. Botswana took
another direction and banned trophy hunting in 2013. But now the country faces the loss of
income that hunters provided, as well as growing instances of wild animals such as lion and
elephant threatening rural communities. So who is right and who is wrong about the sustainability
of the industry? Some say that a well-regulated trophy hunting industry plays an important role in
the conservation of wildlife and guarantees immediate and long-term economic benefits for
communities (as well as the country as a whole). Others say the opposite according to this view,
trophy hunting is an unsustainable and unethical practice which wreaks havoc amongst big cat
populations, elephants and endangered species such as black rhino.
A Brief Introduction to Trophy Hunting
Hunting has often been portrayed as a romantic and brave adventure in dangerous Africa. For
example, in King Solomon’s Mines, novelist H. Rider Haggard caught the imagination of
Victorian England with the account of a fearless hunter, the famous big-game hunter Frederick
Selous who ventured to Africa. The impact of the novel was immediate and resulted in the much
idolized figure of the white hunter - colonial-minded, aristocratic Englishmen who made their
living shooting game and leading wealthy travelers on hunting safaris. In the years leading up to
World War I, which some consider the golden age of big game hunting, other legendary hunters
joined Selous most of them European, rich and bored by the constraints of life back home
(Time Line, 2015).
Other important figures elevated the romanticized status of the white hunter even further. For
example, in 1909, just after completing his second term, US President Theodore Roosevelt and a
250-strong expedition party came to Africa for a nearly year-long hunting excursion. Traveling
through East Africa, the Belgian Congo and Sudan, Roosevelt and his son killed 512 animals,
including lions, elephants and rhinos. Roosevelt published an account of his travels, arguing that
hunting played a role in saving species and habitat. He also warned against a “craze” of hunting
trophies, calling the quest “absurd”. The president’s trip garnered wide spread attention, further
glamorizing the hunting safari and prompting a flow of wealthy Americans to the continent
(Time Line, 2015).
More recently, trophy hunting became the object of furious debate and even a call for banning the
industry worldwide with the killing of “Cecil the Lion” by American dentist Dr. Walter Palmer
back in July of 2015 (BBC, 2015). The term “trophy hunting, which can be used
interchangeably with “safari’ or ‘sport’ hunting, normally refers to tourists who pay to engage in
a hunt, usually in the company of a professional guide, with the objective being to obtain a
“trophy” (i.e. horns, tusks, skin, etc.) from a rare or exotic animal (Lindsey et al., 2007; Novelli
& Humavindu, 2005). Cecil was a major tourist attraction for visitors to Zimbabwe’s Hwange
National Park. The large 13 year old male with a distinguished black mane, the leader of two
prides containing six lionesses, 12 cubs and one other adult male, was reportedly friendly towards
sightseers and a crowd favorite. That is until he was shot and killed by Dr. Palmer who used a
crossbow to shoot the animal outside of the protected confines of the Park. But it wasn’t enough
to immediately kill him. The hunting party reportedly had to track the wounded lion for almost
two days before Dr. Palmer was able to finally kill him with a gun, whereupon the lion was then
skinned and beheaded. The outrage was furious and almost immediate. Once the details of
Cecil’s death had become known, the anger was even more intense (Rogers, 2015; Thornycroft,
Complicating matters further was the fact that Cecil had been closely monitored by a group of
researchers at the University of Oxford for almost seven years. Ironically, the scientists were
studying the “decline in Africa’s lion population.” As a result of Cecil’s death, the researchers
postulated that the cubs in the two prides would most likely be killed by other male lions in an
effort to establish their dominance (Capecchi & Rogers, 2015). Dr. Palmer, for his part, said that
all of his paper work was in order and that he used licensed guides whose expertise he was
relying on to ensure that the hunt was legal. He announced his “regret” over killing an animal that
was a “local favorite” and part of a scientific study (DeLong, 2015).
The licensed professional guide who was overseeing the hunt, Theo Bronkhorst, says that nothing
illegal or unethical was done. Contrary to claims that they had lured Cecil out of the National
Park, Mr. Bronkhorst argued that the lion was already outside of the park and feeding on an
elephant carcass when they came upon him. The fact that the lion had a GPS collar and was being
tracked is irrelevant, since, according to Mr. Bronkhorst, lions with tracking collars are shot and
killed all the time in Zimbabwe, with five large cats being killed in the first 10 months of 2015
alone. The Zimbabwe government has dropped charges against Dr. Palmer but plans to prosecute
Mr. Bronkhorst (Saburi, 2015).
The killing of Cecil the lion has only increased the ongoing debate over the value, ethics and
sustainability of big game hunting (otherwise known as safari or trophy hunting). Proponents of
trophy hunting argue that, when well managed and regulated, it is a sustainable activity which
helps to protect the environment and maintain biodiversity (Hofer 2002; Novelli and Humavindu,
2005, Novelli, Barnes, & Humavindu, 2006). Opponents usually make an ethical argument
against trophy hunting on the grounds of its cruelty, the questionable motivation of self-
satisfaction on the part of the hunter, and the belief that killing for sport is something that is
fundamentally wrong (Finch, 2004; Hofer, 2002). More troubling is the perception by some that
the majority of the economic benefits in Africa go to White landowners who hold a privileged
position in the economy due to the past injustices of colonialism and Apartheid (Duffy, 2000;
Lindsey et al., 2013). Chances that the average person in a country like Namibia will ever be able
to benefit equally from the industry are slim as Lindsey et al (2012) shows that the amount of
money needed to start a trophy hunting operation varies from $US 57 000 to $US 440 000.
Wildlife biologists and big game hunters argue that trophy hunting in Africa brings cash into
local economies (see Table 1), as well as resources to help restore habitat and animal populations.
Hunters also help cull dangerous or old animals. But critics say the cash doesn’t always end up in
the right hands and that efforts to correct this are thwarted by corrupt officials and hunting
guides. They also note that trophy hunters sometimes kill the healthiest, most dominant animals,
upsetting social structures. In Cecil’s case, wildlife biologists believe other males will kill cubs
he sired. Whichever way, the numbers do not look good for big cats: A hundred years ago, the
lion population in Africa was about 200,000. Now it’s 30,000. While some conservationists
believe trophy hunting boosts conservation efforts, a study authored by one of the world’s top
lion experts found that doesn’t hold true for lions (Packer, et. al, 2011). The study focused on
lion-rich Tanzania, and found that trophy hunting, both in and out of protected areas, hastened a
decline in the number of lions.
Of the average of 665 African lions killed each year (Cronin, 2015) for sport more than 60% are
hunted by Americans, many of whom pay tens of thousands of dollars to do so (Packer et. al,
2011). In 2011, outraged conservation groups petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list
the lion as “endangered,” which would make it illegal to bring lion trophies into the country. The
agency listed the lion as “threatened” instead, allowing imports to continue. Safari Club
International (SCI), which promotes big game hunting and maintains a website where hunters
tally points for killing big game, applauded the decision. SCI suspended Dr. Palmer’s
membership after Cecil’s death. Its website lists Dr. Palmer’s 43 kills.
Other industries such as the commercial airline industry were also affected in the aftermath of the
death of Cecil the Lion. For example Delta Airlines, America’s largest carrier, released the
following statement in August of this year: “Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban
shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.
Before this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all
government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of
other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting
legal shipments (The Economist, 2015).
Earlier in May, the world's largest airline, Emirates issued an outright ban on hunting trophy
cargo, sending the hunting business into a nosedive, as national carrier South African Airways
(SAA) also issued a short-term restriction. SAA has since overturned its decision, citing the
Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) implementation of "additional compliance
measures for permits and documentation". According to the Economist (2015), the Professional
Hunters' Association of South Africa, played an active role in convincing SAA to overturn its
ban. In the meantime, British Airways also issued a statement asserting its standpoint against the
transportation of hunting trophies of endangered species.
At the time of the Emirates and SAA decision, Chris Green, Chair of the American Bar
Association’s Animal Law Committee created a petition calling for the End the
Transport of Exotic Animal Hunting Trophies, specifically requesting the CEO of US- Atlanta-
based Delta Airlines, Richard Anderson, to join the airlines refusing to carry hunters’ exotic
trophies. More than 400 000 signatures were collected resulting in a number of other airlines
following suit. These include Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar, Etihad, Iberia, Singapore and Brussels
Airlines (The Economist, 2015).
The problem is that if both Delta and South African Airlines ban the export of taxidermy, some
hunters might decide not to travel to South Africa or Namibia. Animal rights activists would
welcome this outcome, but perhaps not if they were aware of all the possible negative
consequences as a result, such as the loss of money said to be raised for wildlife conservation,
jobs and the meat some operators donate to feed children in poor rural areas.
In countries such as Namibia where unemployment is high and wildlife is considered a common
resource, trophy hunting is seen as an important way to optimize benefits for all stakeholders,
especially the local communities, the government and private operators.
The Management of Natural Resources in Namibia
When it comes to the administration of natural resources and biodiversity, Namibia is today seen
as being at the forefront (Weaver and Peterson, 2008), with its Constitution having a special
provision for their sustainable development and use (Article 95, Section L). However, before
independence from South Africa in 1990, for years, Namibia was under military occupation and
control by Apartheid South Africa, with the main result being that any economic benefits to be
had from the natural environment, including wildlife, would automatically accrue to a privileged
minority. In addition, before Namibia gained independence, natural wildlife was often seen as a
nuisance (Pietersen, 2011), and prior to 1970, wildlife population figures were on a downward
trajectory (Weaver & Skyler, 2003). The general low regard for nature at the time was clearly
illustrated by a 1960s advertisement for a farm that was for sale in which it was proudly
proclaimed that the property was free of wild animals (Schalkwyk, 2014).
Eventually, by the late 1960s, politicians, as well as local landowners and entrepreneurs, saw the
advantages to be had from protecting, promoting and exploiting the natural beauty and resources
that Namibia had to offer. Legislation passed in the late 1960s and early 1970s gave farmers and
ranchers conditional rights over certain wildlife located on their lands, thus providing them with
an incentive (arguably, for the first time) to ensure that they were managed and used in a proper
and sustainable manner. Further regulations established rigorous requirements and standards for
the trophy hunting industry. It is the implementation of this legislative framework which was
credited with bringing about an increase in wildlife numbers on commercial farms as well as
creating an extremely valuable, and sustainable, trophy hunting industry in pre-independent
Namibia (Barnes & de Jager, 1995; Barnett & Patterson, 2006; Bojö, 1996; Bond et al, 2004;
Lamprecht, 2009; Weaver & Petersen, 2008; Weaver, Petersen, Diggle & Matongo, 2010).
Since independence Namibia has shown itself to be a role model when it comes to local
community empowerment, doing more than almost any other sub-Saharan African country in
terms of transferring administrative rights for the management of wildlife and the environment at
the communal level (Bollig & Schwieger, 2014; Davis, 2008; Roe, Nelson & Sandbrook, 2009).
In the interest of extending the relative success of wildlife preservation already seen from giving
commercial wildlife rights to freeholders in 1967 (Barnes & De Jager, 1996), in 1995 the
Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) introduced a policy entitled “Wildlife
Management, Utilization and Tourism in Communal Areas.” The primary goal of this initiative
was to create a more equitable playing field by trying to provide the same opportunities to local
communities that were previously given to freeholders by a colonialist government (Barnett &
Patterson, 2006; Weaver & Skyler, 2003). Shortly thereafter, in 1998, for the first time, four
communal conservancies were established and registered in Namibia, providing a way for local
communities to manage and profit from the associated native wildlife (Weaver, Petersen, Diggle
& Matongo, 2010).
Trophy Hunting in Namibia
Organized trophy hunting is believed to have started in Namibia in 1962, when a few industrious
game farmers allowed professional hunters on to their property (Novelli & Humavindu, 2005).
According to the Namibia Tourism Board, today a miniscule 0.18% of registered trophy hunting
operators in Namibia are what can be considered as previously disadvantaged peoples (Abbiati et
al., 2013). But the net effect of all of these regulatory efforts, both pre- and post-independence,
on conservation is believed to have been positive, with wildlife numbers increasing by an
estimated 70%, and their diversity increasing by some 44%, on private lands between 1967 and
1995 (Barnes & de Jager, 1996). Namibia though, like almost every other African country, is not
immune from the effects of Global public opinion. The debate for or against trophy hunting has
only become more intense due to the media highlighting stories of unethical or illegal hunting
methods, which generally portray hunting in a negative light (Barnes and Novelli, 2008; Lindsey,
Hunting in Namibia is officially controlled and regulated by the MET. The trophy hunting season
lasts for 10 months each year, starting on February 1 and ending on November 30, with
authorized hunting hours being 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. All
trophy hunting expeditions require the use of a licensed / registered guide (or “hunting
professional”) as well as a valid permit issued by the MET. Trophy hunting parties are required to
use a tour operator that is registered and in good standing with the Namibia Tourism Board
(NTB) as well as with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). A hunting professional is
limited to escorting only two clients for any given hunt and must be present at all times. Parties in
search of large cats, i.e. cheetahs, leopards and lions, require that an additional hunting permit be
obtained before the hunt commences. Hunts are limited to areas where permission has been given
by a property’s owner, with individual hunters being limited to a maximum of two trophies per
species for each permit. Namibia would have an advantage over rivals in that it is one of only two
countries (the other being South Africa) that authorizes the hunting of the “Big 5,” i.e. buffalo,
leopard, lion, elephant and White / Black rhinoceros, with the largest percentage of income being
derived from elephants. An estimated 75% of hunting takes place on communal conservancies
with the remaining 25% taking place on private lands (a fraction takes place on concessions in
State Parks) (Lamprecht, 2007, Lindsey et al., 2007, Lindsey et al., 2012; NAPHA; Novelli &
Humavindu, 2005).
One of the groups most responsible for promoting trophy hunting in Namibia is the Namibian
Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA). Created in 1974, its self-stated mission is to
“promote Namibia as a hunting destination internationally and protect the right to hunt locally.” It
is the hunting industry’s main lobbying group, describing itself as having an “excellent working
relationship with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism” as well as being
“instrumental in forming new legislation” (source: NAPHA).
Today, trophy hunting is a vital part of Namibia’s economy, with an estimated 4,000 to 6,000
safari hunters visiting Namibia each year, mainly wealthy individuals from the USA and Europe
(Lindsey et al., 2013; Novelli and Humavindu, 2005). Between 2004 and 2007, the value of the
trophy hunting industry in Namibia as a whole is believed to have gone from $US 28.5 million to
almost $US 45 million (Lamprecht, 2009), a positive trend which should only continue given the
estimates that travel and tourism in Namibia is expected to grow by over 7% a year in the next
decade (WTTC, 2015).
The MET says that trophy hunting is, “one of the most important industries in Namibia in terms
of its strong contribution to the Gross Domestic Product; the employment it creates; and the well-
being and social upliftment it offers Namibians in rural areas” (Sikopo, 2014). It is believed that
each (Namibian) dollar expended on hunting makes a direct contribution of $0.47 to Gross
National Product (GNP) and an indirect contribution of $0.43 by way of an income multiplier
(Novelli and Humavindu, 2005). An estimated 21% of the total income generated by trophy
hunting goes to the government, with 40% going to local communities and low income wage
earners (Samuelsson & Stage, 2007). Trophy hunting reportedly provides more jobs, at higher
salaries, than commercial agriculture or any other land utilization scheme found in communal
conservancies in Namibia (Lamprecht, 2009). This revenue is extremely important in a country
that is still working to undo the legacy of unequal wealth distribution brought about by
Apartheid, and is often recognized as the impetus for the expansion of wildlife conservancies and
conservation efforts on land that is communally owned (Ashley & Barnes, 1996; Weaver and
Skyer, 2003).
The Controversy Surrounding Trophy Hunting in Namibia
There is research suggesting that trophy hunting, once it is recognized as having financial and
economic benefits to local populations, engenders a positive and protective attitude towards
wildlife in those populations, resulting in a positive impact on conservation (Baker, 1997; Barnes,
2001; Humavindu and Barnes, 2003, Barnes et al., 2002; Novelli and Humavindu, 2005). This
would be especially true for Namibia, where the revenue generated by trophy hunting is seen as
being a major factor in the increased development of wildlife conservancies on communally
owned land (Lindsey, 2008). There is also evidence that governments, in an effort to promote and
protect trophy hunting, try to engage in more constructive and responsible policies and initiatives
with regard to wildlife conservation (Hofer 2002; Novelli and Humavindu, 2005). That said,
there is still the perception that private farms in Namibia are more efficient and more adept when
it comes to conservation efforts, with there being an estimated 21 to 33 times more wildlife
located on private property than in nominally Government protected areas (Lindsey et al, 2013).
All in all, an estimated 80% of wildlife in Namibia resides outside of protected areas (Lamprecht,
Experts argue that a well-regulated trophy hunting industry plays a key role in wildlife
conservation efforts, in that, normally, it is aged males (ideally beyond the age of breeding) who
are targeted for killing, with an average of no more than 2 to 5% of the population being
harvested in any one year. These rates are generally considered as being less than the
reproduction rates for most trophy species and as such are deemed to be sustainable if maintained
(Bond et al., 2004; (Lindsey et al., 2007a). In the case of Namibia, historically speaking, trophy
numbers have usually been below the official stated quota, sometimes substantially (Lindsey et
al., 2007).
But just as with any industry, there are unscrupulous operators willing to engage in unethical if
not outright illegal behaviour. Some of the more egregious practices would be hunting from
mechanized vehicles, shooting young or extremely rare animals, using bait or artificial lights to
attract quarry, luring animals out of protected areas or National Parks, engaging in “canned-
hunting,” i.e. killing captive-bred animals in extremely small fenced in areas (Lindsey et al.,
In addition to ethics, there are also ecological and biological issues as well. Some game farms
have been known to introduce species that are not indigenous to an area in order for them to be
hunted, with the importation of the black wildebeest into Namibia being just one example.
(Lindsey et al., 2006). There are also instances of game farmers manipulating the genetics of
certain species in order to promote some desired trait, as well as the questionable practice of the
cross breeding of species in order to create new varieties of exotic animals to hunt (Hamman et
al., 2003; Lindsey et al., 2009).
In Namibia, it is illegal to engage in trophy hunting at night and/or with artificial light.
Additionally, it is illegal to engage in practices that violate the Fair Chase principals as
delineated in the NAPHA Code of Conduct. Fair chase, as outlined by NAPHA, states that
hunters should only pursue quarry considered to be, a free roaming animal or enclosed roaming
animal possessed of the natural behavioural inclination to escape from the hunter and be fully
free to do so.” Hunters should not use any form of motorized transport and should refrain from
killing females with dependent young (source: NAPHA). Encouragingly, a survey of trophy
hunting clients reported that the vast majority would be unwilling engage in a hunt in which
fundamental principles of conservation and sustainability were not respected (Lindsey et al.,
In Namibia, trophy hunting takes place mainly in three ways; 1) through private operators on
private land, 2) in conservancies which are operated by local communities on public land and 3)
in some cases through partnerships between the private operators and local communities.
Arguments for and against are made for all three cases. For private operators, there is the
criticism that they have a hereditary privileged position since they operate on land which they
obtained under Apartheid, basically for free. Furthermore, they have more resources than local
communities and do not necessarily share their wealth with employees by paying fair salaries. On
the other hand, private trophy hunting operators are considered to be more efficient and effective
in profiting from the industry as a whole, resulting in regular tax payments to the government and
continuous jobs in a country where unemployment is a problem. A common complaint with local
communities and conservancies is that they don’t have enough resources to pay proper salaries to
game wardens, an important expense since poaching takes place on most conservancies.
However, not all conservancies lack the money to pay guards as many have income from other
types of tourism such as photographic tourism due to their abundant wildlife and stunning
Some conservancies, such as Otjituuo Conservancy, also face human-wildlife problems. Farmers’
animals are sometimes killed by cheetah, wild dogs and jackals. Mr. John Kasaona, a director at
the Kunene conservancy, said that he supports trophy hunting. This is mainly due to the fact that
the number of dangerous animals in areas where people live is increasing and could be lowered
through hunting (while at the same time adding economic value to conservancies). According to
him, other African countries that criticize Namibia are jealous of its nature conservation record,
and that anti-hunting lobbies from overseas “do not understand what we are doing they are
just tweeting”. He urges the government to stand up to pressure from these groups (Felton, 2015).
Mr. Raymond Kwenani from the Salambala Conservancy believes that anti-trophy hunting
groups and individuals from abroad don’t fully appreciate the importance of the consumptive use
of wildlife, which provides meat and trophy hunting income for conservancies. “We have
benefits now jobs in the safari camp: skinners, trackers, meat from the trophy hunt and income
from the hunter” Mr. Kwenani notes, but wonders who will pay for people’s expenses if there is
no income and who will be responsible if a person is killed by an elephant? “They should come
here and see … if we stop hunting, it will spell disaster for the conservancy” he insists. Another
conservancy director, Mr. Joh Kamwi, insists that wildlife is harvested in accordance with strict
quotas and on a sustainable basis.(Felton, 2015).
However, there are those proven cases which show the dark side of trophy hunting, with some of
Namibia’s wildlife species bearing the brunt of trophy hunting. For example, a study titled
“Spotted Hyaena Ecology and Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Caprivi Region” conducted by the
Caprivi Carnivore Project found that the spotted hyaena population was fragmented and unstable
due to trophy hunting which, in this case, “cannot be practiced sustainably due to the population
dynamics. It is likely that trophy hunting of spotted hyaena in conservancies is impacting on clan
structure (Lise Hansen, Project Leader). The report concluded that the present method of
setting trophy-hunting quotas per conservancy to maximize the benefits to the members rather
than the sustainability of the hyaena population should be reassessed. The spotted hyaena is a
unique and vital component of most African ecosystems.
Tourists visit Namibia for mainly two reasons the country’s magnificent wildlife and its scenic
splendor. Sectors such as the trophy hunting industry need to be well-regulated if these rich
resources are to be preserved for future generations. If wildlife numbers dwindle and whole eco-
systems are damaged because of irresponsible practices, then it will be a loss for all, and tourist
numbers will decrease accordingly. The MET has an extremely important role to play in
regulating the industry and ensuring that Namibia’s wildlife resources are protected through clear
hunting guidelines for conservancies, especially when it affects endangered species. Also, many
Namibians, especially those on conservancies, are concerned about human-wildlife conflict.
Unfortunately, there are many examples of local communities experiencing difficulty in
balancing their own needs against those of natural conservation. These communities must be
assisted in order to maintain this delicate balance, as both need protection and support to live in
Private trophy hunting operators such as Hunters Namibia Safaris generally face different
challenges. These often have to do with the perceptions and ideas people have about the industry.
In this industry extreme opinions are at the fore-front while various attempts have been made to
adequately address the pros and cons.
Hunters Namibia Safaris
General Background
Hunters Namibia Safaris was founded by Joof and Marina Lamprecht in 1984 and is situated in
the beautiful Camelthorn Kalahari of eastern Namibia, a 45-minute drive from Windhoek
International Airport, and an hour from the city of Windhoek. The company explains that they are
widely respected as Namibia's premier hunting safari outfitter, offering exceptional trophy
hunting, luxurious accommodations and uniquely Namibian hospitality. They also have a
Facebook page on which they display the trophies and their hunters. Hunters Namibia Safaris
offers packages to different groups of hunters - first-time African hunters, experienced well-
travelled hunters as well as non-hunting observers and family groups. Please see Table 2 for a list
of prices. They explain that theyoffer a full range of exciting options for the hunter, the
observer, and the entire family in our completely safe, progressive and hunter-friendly country on
the coast of southwestern Africa.
The hunting range covers an area of approximately 80 square miles of wilderness and is
populated only by free-ranging game with no domestic stock or ‘camps’. “When we started
building this outfitting company many of the cattle ranchers told us we’d be out of business in a
season,” said Ms. Marina Lamprecht. “But in the years since, thanks to travelling hunters, we’ve
bought many of those ranchers out and let our now 80 square miles return to its natural state
there are no cattle or men worrying about their cattle on our wild lands. We now tell hunters
they’ll see a minimum of 500 animals per day.” Adjoining properties add another 40 square
miles. 23 species of huntable game as well as an impressive variety of game birds (depending on
the season) are available for trophy hunters and wing-shooting enthusiasts. Many additional
species can be viewed and photographed. A minimum of 500 head of game will be seen per day
while hunting.
The operator says that “over 90% of our trophies qualify for entry into the record books. They
host only one group at a time, whether a single hunter, a couple or a group of up to 10 family and
friends. They tailor every safari to suit the requirements of each party, so that they have the
exclusive use of all facilities on the game-rich hunting area of 80 square miles. Over 50% of
visiting hunters are return clients. By Namibian hunting law a Professional Hunter may guide
only 2 hunters at any time.
Hunters Namibia Safaris also offer activities other than what they classify as legendary hunts to
non-hunters. These activities include exclusive, customized photographic, sightseeing and fishing
safaris throughout Namibia. Destinations include the Namib Desert, the mysterious Skeleton
Coast, the charming seaside resort of Swakopmund, Namibia’s cosmopolitan capital city of
Windhoek, the Desert Elephant in Damaraland, the Himba people of Kaokoland, game-rich
Etosha, the unexpected tropical beauty of the Caprivi Strip, and the San people of Bushmanland.
These customised trips can be undertaken by either chartered private plane, or in a comfortable,
air-conditioned vehicle, as requested. A personal guide will host you on these exclusive
Responsibility and Sustainability
The company has “a real passion for wildlife, local communities and the environmentand have
been on their property, Camelthorn Kalahari, for almost 30 years. They often welcome two and
three generations of families and enjoy passing on the hunting and conservation tradition.
Marina Lamprecht stated, We are proud of our pristine, game rich and diverse eco-system here
in eastern Namibia, which embodies selective, ethical and sustainable trophy hunting as the
ultimate conservation success in Africa, and truly enjoy sharing it with our esteemed international
clients. Marina is also a widely published writer, and presents talks throughout the world on
Namibia’s conservation successes due the country’s policy of selective, ethical and sustainable
utilization of wildlife resources, for which she has won international awards. Mr. Joof Lamprecht
was a registered Professional Hunter since 1979, and is highly respected in international
conservation circles for his dedication to fair-chase, ethical and sustainable trophy hunting as the
ultimate conservation tool.
The Lamprechts state, Our family is twelfth-generation African, and we are passionate about
our country and continent”. On the one hand, they show their dedication to wildlife, the
environment and local communities in various ways through their business - the family is
actively involved in the Namibian Professional Hunting Association- NAPHA, as well as with
the Namibian government at every level. They support a number of educational projects in
Namibia. For example, Marina Lamprecht is a founding member of the Hunters Namibia Safaris
Education Foundation, which strives to improve the quality of education at marginalized rural
schools throughout Namibia by providing books and other essential equipment. They also
donate meat from the hunt to feed 320 children at a local school. When addressing the meeting on
‘The Image of Hunting’ in 2011, Marina Lamprecht said that selective, ethical, fair-chase trophy
hunting is a proven conservation success in Namibia. Through hunting we have given our
wildlife a value far greater than that of their meat, and the meat still utilized by the
communities/landowner/communal conservancies (The Republikein, 2011).
The couple were also involved in other wildlife causes such as the dangers from an increase in
poaching in Namibia. They supported NAPHA’s Big Game Committee which joined forces with
other Namibians by hosting a formal dinner and live auction to raise funds towards anti-poaching
initiatives in September 2015. All proceeds raised from the auction went to a Trust whose
members are made up of representatives from NAPHA, the Namibian Ministry of Environment
and Tourism (MET), as well as an independent legal practitioner and auditor.
Internationally, Marina Lamprecht annually presents seminars on hunting in Namibia at the
controversial Safari Club International Convention, and regularly addresses workshops on trophy
hunting as a lucrative form of land utilization. She also holds a degree in political science. In
2011, the World forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA) at its annual general meeting in
Nuremberg, Germany, presented its prestigious Shooting Ambassador Award to MET Minister at
the time, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Marina Lamprecht.
On the other hand, Marina Lamprecht was a guest at the much criticized Dallas Rhino Hunt
Auction Convention in 2014. The gathering is billed as The Greatest Hunters Convention on the
Planet and the FBI confirmed that it was investigating death threats against members of the
Dallas Safari Club. Ms. Lamprecht explained that the government owns all of the country’s
rhinos so the money made from killing them will help protect and grow its herds. “In Namibia we
have found that the single greatest conservationist tool that we have is trophy hunting, because
through trophy hunting we have given our wildlife a value far greater than their meat. And
therefore local communities as well as landlords are taking care of their wildlife.” But both the
International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Animal Legal Defense Fund denounced the
auction, saying it is not conservation, but rather a “sad joke.” They further claim, in part,
“Although the group [Dallas Safari Club] claims its primary intent is conservation of the
critically endangered black rhino, fundraising proceeds from the Convention consistently go
towards hunting and political advocacy of hunting interests (CBS Local, 2014).
While almost all stakeholders in the trophy hunting industry claim that the industry is well
regulated, poaching, the illegal killing of trophy animals, is still a problem in Namibia. In June of
2015, five people were arrested on suspicion of poaching in the Kunene region of Namibia after
they were found with a rhino horn believed to have been taken from a 13 year old black rhino
female (SRT, 2015). In the first seven months of 2015 a reported 40 Namibians (plus one
Angolan) were arrested in connection with rhino poaching in Etosha National Park, Namibia’s
largest. The gravity of the situation is highlighted by the fact that a reported 95 black rhinos and 8
white rhinos were lost to poaching between 2005 and 2015 (Kaira, 2015).
But activists demanding a ban on trophy hunting might want to be careful for what they wish for.
A review of history provides a disturbing picture. Bans on trophy hunting in Kenya in 1977,
Tanzania from 1973 to 1978, and Zambia from 2000 to 2003 were all associated with an increase
in the rate at which wildlife was lost. The argument given for this phenomenon was that local
communities lost their economic incentive to be proactive in conservation efforts (Baker, 1997;
Leader-Williams & Hutton 2005; Lewis & Jackson, 2005; Lindsey, 2005). Large scale organized
poaching in Namibia is considered as theft from the local community. As a result, those taking
part would most likely be ostracized by their neighbours. In fact, it was reported that in recent
cases of rhino poaching, the illegal hunters were arrested with the help and cooperation of local
residents (Denker, 2014). Some also make the argument that the mere presence of legal hunters
can deter poachers as well (Baker, 1997).
The example of Botswana is instructive. In 2013, after reporting a serious decline in wildlife
numbers in its Northern region over a period of 15 to 20 years, the country banned trophy
hunting, with the Environmental Ministry stating that “The shooting of wild game for sport and
trophies is no longer compatible with our commitment to preserve local fauna” (Boyes, 2013).
Unfortunately, since the ban took effect, the reported number of conflicts between local residents
and wild animals has increased. More concerning, many remote villages have suffered as a result
of the loss of the valuable income that trophy hunting had brought in. Quite often, hunting
revenues were used to provide much needed improvements, like indoor plumbing and toilets, the
construction of houses for the needy and scholarships for students (Onishi, 2015). From a
conservation standpoint, there is now the risk that unemployed professional hunting guides will
use their skills to poach endangered species in order to generate income and feed their families
(Boyes, 2013). In what may become a trend, Zambia recently announced that it plans to reverse a
two year ban on the hunting of lions and leopards. The Minister for Tourism and Arts said that
the ban had negatively impacted conservation efforts and the livelihoods of people who were
directly and indirectly connected to the hunting industry (Smith, 2015).
Complicating matters further, trophy hunting represents a viable option for people living in
isolated and disadvantaged areas to generate revenue, since hunters are very often willing to hunt
in areas that ecotourists might not be interested in visiting due to a lack of picturesque landscapes
or an abundance of wildlife (Lindsey et al., 2006). Also, the fees per client generated by Trophy
hunters are usually greater than those to be had from tourists in general (Baker, 1997; Lewis &
Alpert, 1997). This means that fewer visitors are required to generate a given level of income,
possibly reducing the related environmental impact (Gössling, 2000; Mayaka et al., 2004).
Research has also shown that operators overestimate the importance a client places on obtaining a
trophy while underestimating the importance that a client places on the hunt actually benefiting
the people living in the local community (Lindsey et al., 2006). The economic and social impact
from a ban on big game hunting should not be underestimated.
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Supplementary resource (1)

Full-text available
Contemporary theoretical accounts of common pool resource management assume that communities are able to develop institutions for sustainable resource management if they are given security of access and appropriate rights of management. In recent years comprehensive legal reforms of communal rural resource management in Namibia have sought to create an institutional framework linking the sustainable use of natural resources (game, water, forest) and rural development. The state, however, ceded rights to rural communities in an ambiguous and fragmented manner, creating a number of instances of overlapping property rights and different legal conditions for different natural resources. Nowadays communities grapple with the challenge of developing institutions for these resource-centered “new commons”. This paper describes the process of local institutional development, focusing on the challenges arising from the necessity to define group boundaries, the issues arising from monitoring and sanctioning within newly defined institutions, and the ideological underpinnings of different trajectories of communal resource management.
Full-text available
Legislative changes during the 1960s–1970s granted user rights over wildlife to landowners in southern Africa, resulting in a shift from livestock farming to wildlife-based land uses. Few comprehensive assessments of such land uses on private land in southern Africa have been conducted and the associated benefits are not always acknowledged by politicians. Nonetheless, wildlife-based land uses are growing in prevalence on private land. In Namibia wildlife-based land use occurs over c. 287,000 km2. Employment is positively related to income from ecotourism and negatively related to income from livestock. While 87% of meat from livestock is exported ≥ 95% of venison from wildlife-based land uses remains within the country, contributing to food security. Wildlife populations are increasing with expansion of wildlife-based land uses, and private farms contain 21–33 times more wildlife than in protected areas. Because of the popularity of wildlife-based land uses among younger farmers, increasing tourist arrivals and projected impacts of climate change on livestock production, the economic output of wildlife-based land uses will probably soon exceed that of livestock. However, existing policies favour livestock production and are prejudiced against wildlife-based land uses by prohibiting reintroductions of buffalo Syncerus caffer, a key species for tourism and safari hunting, and through subsidies that artificially inflate the profitability of livestock production. Returns from wildlife-based land uses are also limited by the failure to reintroduce other charismatic species, failure to develop fully-integrated conservancies and to integrate black farmers sufficiently.
Wildlife utilization in Botswana was studied to find out (1) whether it generates positive contributions to national income, and (2) which combinations of uses can generate most income. Financial and economic models of different land uses were combined in linear programming and cost-benefit analyses. Results show that the wildlife resource in Botswana can contribute positively to national income, and this justifies government investment in the sector. The sector is economically efficient, and contributes to Botswana's economic development. Wildlife uses need to be fully developed in ways that maximize their economic contributions. Non-consumptive tourism on high-quality wildlife land will give the greatest economic returns, and should get priority. Safari hunting, community-based wildlife use (where viable), and limited intensive ostrich and crocodile production should also be given priority for investment. Other uses should get lower priority, but all should be developed. On about a third of wildlife land, wildlife uses have a clear economic advantage over livestock uses. The remaining two thirds of wildlife land has poor capacity to generate use value. Here, commercial livestock ranching is not an economic threat, but traditional livestock keeping is. A ban on consumptive wildlife uses in Botswana would significantly exacerbate this threat.
Data derived from several sources were used to determine basic economic values for the trophy hunting industry in Namibia for the hunting season in 2000. Some 3640 trophy hunters spent 15 450 hunter-days, taking 13 310 game animals. Trophy hunting generated at least N$134 million (US$19.6 million) in direct expenditures, or gross output. Gross value added directly attributable to the industry was conservatively estimated at some N$63 million (US$9.2 million). Trophy hunting constitutes at least 14% of the total tourism sector and is a significant component of the Namibian economy. Some 24% of the income earned in the trophy hunting industry accrues to poor segments of society in the form of wages and rentals/royalties. About 21% of income generated is captured by the government, through fees and taxes. Trophy hunting is an important contributor to development. More research on the economics of the industry is needed.
In this chapter, much of which is drawn from a paper by Lindsey, Roulet and Romañach (2007) in the journal Biological Conservation (volume 134), I review available information on the economic and conservation significance of the trophy hunting industry in Africa. 2. Scale of the trophy hunting industry Trophy hunting occurs in 23 sub Saharan African countries, and generates at least USD 201 million/year from ~18,500 international hunting clients. Approximately 1.4 million km 2 is used for trophy hunting, which is an area 22% larger than, and in addition to the area encompassed by national parks (i.e. protected areas where hunting is not permitted). 2.1 Southern Africa South Africa has the largest hunting industry. There are also well developed hunting industries in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, and to a lesser extent Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland. The southern African hunting industry has grown during recent years due partly to a major increase in game ranching in place of traditional livestock ranching (Figures 1-2). Dangerous species such as elephants, buffaloes Syncerus caffer, lions Panthera leo and leopards Panthera pardus can be hunted in all southern African countries (except Swaziland). South Africa, and Namibia are the only countries where both black (Diceros bicornis) and white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum) can be hunted as trophies by tourists. 2.2 East Africa Trophy hunting in East Africa is limited primarily to Tanzania, which has a large and growing hunting industry using about a quarter of the land surface (Figures 1-2). More buffalo, leopard and lion are hunted in Tanzania than anywhere else, and these species are typically used by operators to attract clients to the country. Trophy hunting was banned in Kenya in 1977 due to overshooting and corruption, costing the country approximately USD 20-40 million/year in lost revenues and contributing to a loss of about 70% of all wildlife since then. During the 1970s, trophy hunting was also conducted on a large scale in Ethiopia, though since then, increasing human populations, political instability and encroachment on wildlife habitat have resulted in a 95% decrease in the area used for trophy hunting. The mountain nyala Tragelaphus buxtoni is the species most commonly used by operators to attract visiting hunters to Ethiopia. Trophy hunting was banned in Uganda in 1979, though the Uganda Wildlife Authority operates now successfully pilot schemes for trophy hunting in an attempt to create incentives for wildlife conservation. Abstract. After a short historical overview this paper shows the current status and characteristics of the trophy hunting industry in sub-Saharan Africa. Trophy hunting is generally self-regulating because low off-take is required to ensure high trophy quality and marketability in future seasons. Trophy hunting creates crucial financial incentives for the development and/or retention of wildlife as a land use over large areas in Africa, including in areas where ecotourism is not viable. Hunting plays an important role in the rehabilitation of degraded wildlife areas by enabling the income generation from wildlife without affecting population growth of trophy species. Furthermore, hunting operators often conduct anti-poaching to protect the wildlife resource on which they depend. However, there are problems associated with trophy hunting from a conservation perspective. The article describes these problems and outlines several potential solutions aimed at maximizing the conservation value of the industry.
The purpose of this study is to analyse the economic impacts of hunting tourism in Namibia. The economic impacts of hunting that takes place in communal land conservancies and on private lands, respectively, are studied, as well as the distribution of these impacts between different sectors and groups in the country. The study is based on data from a survey of hunters who visited Namibia during a five-year period. The income generated by hunting tourism, and the distribution of this income, are analysed using a recently developed Social Accounting Matrix (SAM). In aggregate, an extra N$ in spending by survey respondents translates into approximately one extra N$ in national income, and an average survey respondent's spending raised overall national income by an amount corresponding to two to three years' income for an average Namibian. The additional income generated by hunting tourism and associated tourism benefits rural households and urban wage earners to a greater extent, and capital owners to a lesser extent, than the average income distribution in the economy.