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Analysis of trends on trophy quality of African elephant, lion, buffalo and stakeholders perceptions in Sengwa Wildlife Research Area, Zimbabwe from 2003 to 2013

Authors:
  • Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

Abstract and Figures

Trophy quality (size) coupled with stakeholders " perceptions on elephant (Loxodonta africana), lion (Panthera leo) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in Sengwa Wildlife Research Area (SWRA), Zimbabwe were analysed so as to determine the trends for the period 2003 to 2013. Trophy quality data were obtained from hunting records kept at station level in SWRA and Hunting Return Forms (TR2) database kept at Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority headquarters. Thirty key stakeholders " perceptions were determined using a questionnaire survey consisting of both closed and open-ended questions. The stakeholders interviewed were Safari Operators, Professional Hunters and Wildlife Rangers. The questionnaires were aimed at determining whether these perceptions were in line with the trophy quality trends observed from scientific data synthesized from the records. A One Way non-parametric analysis of variance (Kruskal Wallis) test, of the trophy quality data showed that from 2003 to 2013, there were significant annual variations for elephant and buffalo trophy quality (p < 0.01), while for lion, the variations were not significantly different (p > 0.395). The perceptions of stakeholders with more than four years hunting experience in SWRA corroborated the observed changes in trophy quality obtained from field measurements. The results revealed that elephant and buffalo trophy quality has significantly declined over the years. The study recommends that, where quantitative data on trophy quality are unavailable, information from experienced hunters can provide a useful insight on trophy quality trends which can help to make robust decision making processes for sustainable utilisation through consumptive tourism.
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Analysis of trends on trophy quality of African elephant, lion,
buffalo and stakeholders perceptions in Sengwa Wildlife
Research Area, Zimbabwe from 2003 to 2013
Ngorima Patmore a, Mhlanga Wilson a and Tafangenyasha Clifford b
patngorima@gmail.com, wmhlanga63@gmail.com & cliffordtafa@gmail.com
a. Department of Environmental Science. Bindura University of Science Education. P. Bag 1020. Bindura,
Zimbabwe
b. Scientific Services Department. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority P. Bag CY 140
Causeway. Harare, Zimbabwe
ABSTRACT
Trophy quality (size) coupled with stakeholders‟ perceptions on elephant (Loxodonta
africana), lion (Panthera leo) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in Sengwa Wildlife Research
Area (SWRA), Zimbabwe were analysed so as to determine the trends for the period
2003 to 2013. Trophy quality data were obtained from hunting records kept at station
level in SWRA and Hunting Return Forms (TR2) database kept at Zimbabwe Parks
and Wildlife Management Authority headquarters. Thirty key stakeholders‟
perceptions were determined using a questionnaire survey consisting of both closed
and open-ended questions. The stakeholders interviewed were Safari Operators,
Professional Hunters and Wildlife Rangers. The questionnaires were aimed at
determining whether these perceptions were in line with the trophy quality trends
observed from scientific data synthesized from the records. A One Way non-
parametric analysis of variance (Kruskal Wallis) test, of the trophy quality data
showed that from 2003 to 2013, there were significant annual variations for elephant
and buffalo trophy quality (p < 0.01), while for lion, the variations were not
significantly different (p > 0.395). The perceptions of stakeholders with more than
four years hunting experience in SWRA corroborated the observed changes in
trophy quality obtained from field measurements. The results revealed that elephant
and buffalo trophy quality has significantly declined over the years. The study
recommends that, where quantitative data on trophy quality are unavailable,
information from experienced hunters can provide a useful insight on trophy quality
trends which can help to make robust decision making processes for sustainable
utilisation through consumptive tourism.
Key words: Trophy quality, Safari Operator, Perceptions, Sengwa Wildlife Research
Area
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INTRODUCTION
Trophy hunting, also known as sport hunting, game hunting and safari hunting,
involves the practice of pursuing any living organism usually wildlife or feral
animals for sport or recreation (Lovelock, 2008). Trophy hunting is the selective
hunting of wild game animals and parts of the animal may be kept as hunting
trophy or memorial (Barnett and Patterson, 2005). A hunting trophy is a horn, ivory,
tusk or skull prepared from the body of a wild animal killed by a hunter and is kept
as a souvenir of the successful hunting expedition (Barnett and Patterson, 2005).
Trophy hunting is now a major industry in Africa generating substantial revenue
from wildlife over vast areas (Baldus and Cauldwell, 2004) hence continuous
monitoring and assessment of trophy size and quotas is just inevitable (Grobbelaar
and Masulani, 2003). It is also increasingly becoming the engine that is driving many
country‟s community-based programs, especially in Zimbabwe, Botswana and
Namibia (Chimuti et al., 2000). Therefore, analysing trophy quality trend is vital for
effective quota setting which is the cornerstone for sustainable trophy hunting
(Baker, 1997).
There has been an increasing concern about the possible long-term effects of trophy
hunting in Africa (Darimont et al., 2009). Such effects have been linked to strong
selection pressure on the morphological traits exhibited by the animals but no
general consensus has been reached because of lack of information (von-Brandis and
Reilly, 2007). Adams (2004) propounded that sport hunting is often considered as a
necessary part of wildlife protection, management and has been the driving force in
conservation since the early 20th century but there is need for continuous monitoring
to ensure its effectiveness because without monitoring, it can also lead to wild game
population declines.
In Zimbabwe, trophy hunting is a monitored form of wildlife utilisation which is
controlled through the participatory quota setting process system and is subjected
to very strict legal and scientific requirements guided by the Parks and Wildlife Act
(Chapter 20:14) (ZPWMA, 2013) Unpublished report. Although hunting in Zimbabwe
is a well-developed industry, trophy quality trends have been little studied hence
lack of information to make informed management decisions. Henceforth, the focus
in of this paper was to analyse trophy size trends of elephant, buffalo and lion from
2003 to 2013 in SWRA, to establish stakeholders‟ perceptions on trophy size of
elephant, buffalo and lion in SWRA and to determine whether stakeholders‟
perceptions on trophy size were in line with the observed trends from quantitative
data.
Sengwa Wildlife Research Area annual report for the year 2013 indicated that, there
was a decline in trophy size of elephant and buffalo (Moyo, 2013) Unpublished report.
The trophies were less than satisfactory as the average trophy sizes were below the
recommended Safari Club International (SCI) and Rowland Ward (RW) average size.
Although, several studies have been conducted in SWRA, few studies have been
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conducted on trophy quality trends coupled with stakeholders‟ perception on big
game animals since the inception of hunting in in the year 2003, yet these are key
species in the hunting industry hence there is lack of information on which to base
informed management decisions on trophy hunting. Therefore this study aimed at
analysing trophy quality trends and stakeholders perceptions on elephant, lion and
buffalo in SWRA for the period 2003 to 2013.
Objectives
1. To analyse trophy size trends of elephant, buffalo and lion from 2003 to 2013 in
SWRA.
2. To establish stakeholders perceptions of trophy size of elephant, buffalo and lion
in SWRA.
3. To determine whether stakeholders perceptions of trophy size were in line with
the observed trends from quantitative data.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Study Site and Population status
Sengwa Wildlife Research Area (SWRA) is situated in north-western Zimbabwe,
about 100 km south of Lake Kariba (Tafangenyasha, 2000). It covers approximately
373km² and is situated about 96 km west of Gokwe. It lies between 28° 03′ and 28°
20‟E and 18°0′and 18°13′S.The 2013 population status for elephant were 1 015,
buffalo 915 and lion 13 (Moyo, 2013) Unpublished report.
Research design
Purposive random design was used in the study. The selected animal species
(elephant, buffalo and lion) were chosen on their proven economic importance in the
hunting industry (high prices obtained for their trophies) and due to their iconic
status as members of the „big-five‟. Key stakeholders (Safari Operators, Professional
Hunters and Wildlife Rangers) were purposively selected due to their knowledge in
the hunting industry. The stakeholders were further randomly selected during
administration of the questionnaires.
Data collection methods
The study used three techniques to collect data which included review of secondary
sources on trophy size (quantitative), key informant interviews and questionnaires
(qualitative). This logic supports a well-known qualitative research technique called
“triangulation”. Triangulation was used to cross check and at the same time increase
the strength of the inquiry by compensating any existing loopholes that may result
due to the use of one particular method (Oka and Shaw, 2000).
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Trophy quality data
Secondary sources of data were used since there is a systematic way of recording all
hunts taking place in SWRA ever since the inception of hunting in the year 2003.
Information on trophy size is properly recorded and documented. Data on trophy
size were obtained from hunting records kept at station level in SWRA and Hunting
Return Forms (TR2) database kept at ZPWMA headquarters. Trophy size
measurements were conducted using the (Safari Club International) SCI for
(elephant and lion) and the Rowland Ward method for (buffalo). The data were
recorded in inches for buffalo and lion but converted to centimetres using a scale of
(1 inch = 2.54 cm). For elephant the measurements were recorded in pounds but
converted to kilograms using a scale (1 pound = 0.4536 kg). The following variables
were recorded for each species, year, trophy size, allocated and utilised quota per
species from the year 2003 to 2013 (Appendix 1).
Questionnaires and interviews
Questionnaires consisting of a list of pre-set questions (closed and open ended) were
used to solicit for views on the key stakeholders‟ perceptions on trophy quality of
elephant, buffalo and lion in SWRA (Appendix 2). Stakeholders in the hunting
industry who were interviewed included Professional Hunters (PH), Wildlife
Rangers (WR) and Safari Operators (SO). Key stakeholders (PH, WR and SO) were
purposively selected due to their knowledge in the hunting industry. The
stakeholders were further randomly selected during administration of the
questionnaires survey, which was personally administered in English. Time was
given to explain the purpose of the survey and any clarification were provided. All
respondents were assured of anonymity to increase chances of providing reliable
information.
Data Analysis
Data on trophy quality were captured in Microsoft Excel and later exported to
Statistix version 10 (Analytical Software, 2012) were it was analysed. Data were first
tested for normality using the ShapiroWilk test for normality. Data were not
normally distributed because the significant value of the Shapiro-wilk test was (p <
0.05) for all the three high value trophy animals. Therefore, an attempt was made to
transform data to normality using the Log-transformation and Squareroot
transformation. However, the Log-transformation and Squareroot transformation
were not successful in transforming the data to meet the conditions of normality.
Since the data were not normally distributed, it was necessary to identify the
appropriate test based on normality. Therefore, A One Way non-parametric analysis
of variance (Kruskal Wallis) test, was used to test for significant difference in trophy
sizes across the years from 2003 to 2013 per each species. This test was chosen
specifically because it is a non-parametric test that can analyse more than two
independent variables. The results from the test revealed that, there were significant
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annual variations for elephant and buffalo trophy quality, while for lion the
variations were not significantly different (p >0.05).
It was therefore necessary to establish which pairs were significantly different across
the years as per species (elephant and buffalo). For this reason, Tamhane post hoc test
was used since it does not assume equality of variance in the test variables. The
Tumhane post hoc test was conducted particularly to identify the years (pairs) with
significant difference for elephant and buffalo. In all the scenarios, statistical
significance was inferred to at alpha level of 0.05. Using the confidence intervals of
each proportion it was later possible to establish the pairs (years) that were
significantly different.
Data presentation for the Tamhane post-hoc test on elephant and buffalo were
executed in Microsoft Excel and the year (pairs) with significant difference were
shown by the different superscript letter. Allocated and utilised quotas as well as
questionnaire data on key stakeholders‟ perceptions on trophy quality for the three
high value trophy animals were coded and presented on graphs and tables in
Microsoft Excel.
RESULTS
Table 1: Kruskal Wallis test on trophy size of elephant, buffalo and lion from 2003 to
2013 in SWRA.
Animals
d.f.
Sig/P_value
Elephant
10
0.001
Buffalo
10
0.001
Lion
10
0.395
The Kruskal Wallis test revealed that from 2003 to 2013, there were significant annual
variations for elephant and buffalo trophy size (p < 0.05), while for lion, the
variations were not significantly different (p > 0.05).
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Figure 1: Mean annual trophy size trends for a) elephant, b) buffalo and c) lion from
the year 2003 to 2013 in SWRA displaying years with significant difference for
elephant and buffalo after a Tamhane post-hoc test as shown by different superscript
letter.
a) Elephant trophy size trend indicated a downward pattern since the inception of
hunting in the year 2003. For the years 2012 and 2013 the trend shows a positive
increase in mean annual trophy size. b) Buffalo trophy size trend displays a decline
in mean annual trophy quality with 2009 showing the least mean annual trophy size.
c) Lion mean annual trophy size has been gradually declining from the year 2003 to
2005. However, the years 2006, 2008 to 2011 recorded no hunts, with the exception of
the year 2012 allocated no lion quota.
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Figure 2: Percentage of quota uptake for a) elephant, b) buffalo and c) lion from the
year 2003 to 2013 in SWRA.
a) Percentage quota uptake for elephant ranged from 57% to 100% (Figure 3a). The
years 2003 to 2006, 2008 and 2009 recorded 100% quota uptake. The average quota
uptake for elephant were 90% for the study period. b) Buffalo percentage quota
uptake ranged from 75% and 100% for the study period (Figure 3b). The years 2004,
2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 recorded 100% quota utilisation. The average quota uptake
for buffalo were 91% c) Lion percentage quota uptake ranged from 0 and 100% in the
study period (Figure 3c). For the years 2006, 2008 to 2011 there were no hunts with
the exception of the year 2012 allocated no lion quota. The average quota uptake for
lion were 45% for the study period.
A perceptions map of respondents targeted a wide variety of occupations. The
interviewed respondents consisted of 56% Wildlife Rangers, 40% Professional
Hunters and 4% Safari Operator. An examination of respondents‟ experience in the
hunting industry of SWRA varied from one (1) year to eight (8) years indicating a
variety of conceptual opinions.
Table 2: Respondents satisfaction with current trophy quality
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Response
Elephant
lion
Percentage (%)
Percentage (%)
No
Yes
Nil returns
93
7
-
36
20
44
About 93% of the respondents raised a concern that they were not satisfied with the
current trophy quality for elephant and buffalo. For lion, only 36% of the
respondents indicated that there were not satisfied (table 2).
Table 3: Percentage of respondents‟ perceptions on trophy quality status
Response
Elephant
Lion
Percentage (%)
Percentage (%)
Decline
Increase
No change
Nil returns
100
-
-
-
20
-
30
50
All the respondents (100%) agreed that, elephant trophy quality was on the decline.
For buffalo, 93% of the respondents indicated a decline in trophy quality and 7%
reported that, there was no change in trophy quality. For lion trophy quality, 50% of
the respondents did not provide any answers, only 20% indicated that there was a
decline and 30% indicated that there was no change in lion trophy quality (table 3).
Table 4: Respondents‟ perceptions on perceived factors contributing to decline in
trophy quality
Respondents perceptions on factors
contributing to changes in trophy
quality
Percentage (%)
Poaching
73
Trophy hunting
14
Seasonal migration
6
Habitat fragmentation
4
Habitat loss
3
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The majority of the respondents (87%) attributed the decline in trophy quality to
poaching and trophy hunting (table 4).
Table 5: Percentage of respondents‟ perceptions on types of poaching
Response
Elephant
Lion
Percentage
Percentage
Commercial
Subsistence
Commercial/
subsistence
Nil returns
80
-
20
-
7
-
-
93
Table 5 revealed that, about 80% of the respondents identified commercial poaching
of elephant as the major factor causing trophy quality decline. For, buffalo about
80% of the respondents identified subsistence poaching as a factor negatively
impacting trophy quality, whilst only 7% of the respondents indicated that
commercial poaching of lion is contributing to trophy quality decline.
About 80% of the respondents‟ shared the perception that Problem Animal Control
(PAC) and Human/Wildlife Conflict (HWC) were also factors to consider
contributing to the decline in trophy quality of elephant and buffalo.
DISCUSSION
The significant difference in trophy quality for elephant and buffalo as revealed by
the test can be attributed to strong hunting selection pressure of certain qualities or
morphological traits exhibited by the trophy animals. Crosmary et al, (2013) noted
that, hunters preferentially harvest older bulls because they generally have
exceptional trophy quality than younger ones. Therefore species exposed to higher
hunting pressure and higher trophy selectivity such as elephant and buffalo are
more likely to experience a decrease in trophy quality. A decrease in trophy size may
not only be detrimental to the viability of harvested trophy animals but also to the
sustainability of trophy hunting as a conservation tool (Crosmary et al, 2013).
The African elephant mean annual trophy quality trend showed a downward
pattern from 2003 to 2013. This can be attributed to hunting as a disturbance factor,
thus from the inception of hunting, elephants were adjusting to the disturbance until
2011 revealing significant difference across the years. Hunting as a disturbance factor
exerts remarkable interference on the hunted populations especially on spatial
behaviour hence some animals may be forced to “temporarily or permanently”
abandon their home-range as a reaction to the disturbance (Allendorf and Hardd,
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2009). Therefore, mature elephants of quality trophy with experience of safer places
such as Chizarira where hunting is not conducted might have migrated to such areas
leaving behind young elephant bulls of low trophy quality.
The results for buffalo mean annual trophy quality showed significant annual
variance across the years. Therefore, it can be argued that from the onset of hunting
in the year 2003 there was a huge preference for large pounders since hunters tend to
be selective for large individual game animals as revealed by high trophy quality
during the initial years of hunting in SWRA. However, by selecting animals with the
largest trophy it bears an impact on sustainable wildlife management because of
targeting heritable traits (Coltman et al., 2003). This phenomenon usually results in
scarcity of the most preferable buffaloes of quality trophies, causing gradual decline
in trophy quality leading to significant difference across the years if long term
monitoring is not implemented. Garel et al, (2007) noted that, sport hunting is one of
the most pervasive and potentially intrusive human activity that affects wild game
population if unmonitored.
Lion trophy quality were gradually declining from 2003 to 2007 but was above the
average 23 inches (58.4 cm) for the SCI unit. (Grobbelaar and Masulani, 2003) noted
that lion populations are sensitive to hunting hence they are easily affected and this
may cause undesirable changes over a short period of time. Lion populations are
more sensitive due to social disruption due to the potential for infanticide by
incoming males following the removal of pride males. Riggio et al, (2012) states that,
lion have declined over the last century and particularly in recent decades. Amongst
other potential threats the effect of trophy hunting on lions is controversial as it is
said to confer both positive and negative impacts which can lead to population and
trophy quality decline.
The results revealed that SWRA may be populated by immature low value trophy
animals in the long term if measures are not put in place to improve the supply site
of trophy quality animals especially for elephants and buffaloes. More valuable
trophy animals such as elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and sable require special
attention because they may be exposed to higher hunting pressure hence more likely
to experience a decrease in trophy quality (Crosmary et al, 2013). The decline in
trophy quality may potentially affect income for the hunting industry if hunters
choose to travel to areas where trophy quality is attractive (Crosmary et al, 2013)
hence this may create little or no impetus to conserve wildlife species thereby open
the door for poaching.
Fixed Hunting Quotas (FHQ) can also cause trophy quality dynamics and in most
cases decline (Baker, 1997). The decline in trophy quality leading to the downward
trend for elephant and buffalo can also be attributed to fixed allocated hunting
quotas from 2005 to 2011 for elephant as well as from 2003, 2005 to 2011 for buffalo.
Lindsey et al, (2013) noted that, fixed quotas encourage over harvesting of trophy
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animals hence lower population density and alter trophy quality. Baker (1997) states
that, establishment of quotas which are not sustainable and accurate may contribute
negatively to trophy quality and harvested populations hence causing trophy
hunting to be detrimental to wildlife conservation than beneficial.
The respondents attributed the decline in trophy quality to anthropogenic factors
mainly poaching and trophy hunting. Seasonal migration, habitat fragmentation and
habitat loss were viewed as minor contributory factors to trophy quality decline.
High Poaching Pressure (HPP) was identified as the major factor causing trophy
quality decline. Poaching of elephant was identified as largely driven by external
markets (commercial poaching) whilst for buffalo it was seen as being driven by
internal factors including illegal bush-meat trade (subsistence poaching).
The respondents during the questionnaire survey also identified habitat
fragmentation as an important factor affecting trophy quality. Elephant and lion
need larger home ranges than any other sympatric terrestrial mammals, as a result
they are the first to be affected and eliminated by human encroachment (Disteguno,
2004). The human population in Sengwa is growing rapidly hence a key threat to
wildlife conservation include competition for land.
Problem Animal Control (PAC) is also another factor which was identified as
affecting trophy quality. The response to PAC usually does not discriminate mature
from immature animals due to the need to eliminate the problem at hand. Problem
Animal Control off-takes often results in large bulls being shot as they may be the
predominant crop raiders (Grobbelaar and Masulani, 2003). About 80% of the
respondents were of the view that PAC is an issue of concern affecting trophy
quality of elephant and buffalo. An increase in agricultural activities by the local
communities living on the edge (periphery) of SWRA usually attracts wild animals
which cause crop damage, human injuries and in some cases human and livestock
loss thus Human and Wildlife Conflict (HWC).
Lack of long-term security of tenure over many hunting concessions has prompted
unsustainable over-hunting of certain lucrative species, resulting in inferior trophy
quality animals usually in state and communal land concession areas (Chimuti et al.,
2000). One of the Safari Operators who is also a Professional Hunter at SWRA
recommended that, Safari Operators should be given hunting leases for ten years
with options for roll-over for further five to ten years as this encourages long term
attitudes to wildlife management and conservation because shorter duration of
leases usually results in unsustainable trophy hunting
The results of the study during the questionnaire survey revealed that, the
perceptions of stakeholders with more than four years hunting experience in SWRA
corroborated the observed variations in trophy quality of elephant and buffalo
obtained from field measurements.
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CONCLUSION
The results of the study revealed a significant variance for elephant and buffalo
trophy quality per species, while for lion the variations were not significantly
different. The hypothesis that there is no significant difference in the trophy quality
of elephant, buffalo and lion from 2003 to 2013 in SWRA per species is therefore
rejected and accept the alternative hypothesis, whilst for lion the null hypothesis is
retained. The perceptions of stakeholders with more than four years hunting
experience in SWRA corroborated the observed changes in trophy quality obtained
from field measurements. Therefore, where quantitative data on trophy quality are
unavailable, information from experienced hunters can provide a useful insight on
trophy quality trends.
RECOMMENDATIONS
Wildlife managers at SWRA should continue measuring and analysing trophy
quality trends because such data is essential for decision making processes to attain
sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources through consumptive tourism. There is
need to regularly undertake population estimates of the three species as a
management tool. It is proposed to reduce quotas to sustainable level and ensuring
that quotas are realistic and based on accurate population estimates. There is also
need to determine the home ranges of the trophy species as they may be utilised in
other nearby areas where there is trophy hunting (e.g. the Gokwe CAMPFIRE area).
Duration of hunting leases should be reviewed. It is recommended that
consideration should be made for the granting of ten years leases, with an option for
roll-over for further five to ten years as this encourages long term attitudes to
wildlife management and conservation. This will also create the impetus for Safari
Operators to make long-term investments such as establishment of anti-poaching
units in the trophy hunting industry, thereby contributing to the sustainable
utilisation of these species.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thanks to: the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) for
all the research funding and inputs that were required. We are grateful to the Acting
Director Conservation Mr G. Matipano, Chief Ecologist Ms O. Mufute, Senior
Ecologist Mrs R. Chikerema-Mandisodza and Senior Ecologist Mr N. Simukai. The
assistance of Mr H. Ndaimani during data analysis is greatly acknowledged as well
as Ecologist Mr N. Musanhi during field work for the questionnaires survey.
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APPENDICES
APPENDIX 1: Data sheet showing years, mean annual trophy size, allocated and utilised quota for buffalo, elephant and lion in
SWRA from 2003 to 2013
Trophy size measurements were recorded in inches (buffalo and lion) and pounds (elephant) using the Safari Club International
(SCI) for (elephant and lion) and the Rowland Ward method for (buffalo).
buffalo elephant lion
Years Mean annual trophy size
Allocated quota
Utilised quota Years Mean annual trophy size
Allocated quota
Utilised quota Years Mean annual trophy size
Allocated quota
Utilised quota
2003 39.50 20 16 2003 52.44 8 8 2003 25.21 5 5
2004 38.65 17 17 2004 47.67 6 6 2004 25.19 3 3
2005 38.06 20 18 2005 55.89 9 9 2005 24.88 2 2
2006 38.67 20 15 2006 46.67 9 9 2006 No_hunt 2 0
2007 38.50 20 20 2007 44.75 9 8 2007 24.50 2 1
2008 38.50 20 16 2008 48.56 9 9 2008 No_hunt 2 0
2009 35.70 20 20 2009 41.78 9 9 2009 No_hunt 2 0
2010 36.40 20 20 2010 42.38 9 8 2010 No_hunt 1 0
2011 37.16 20 19 2011 36.63 9 8 2011 No_hunt 1 0
2012 36.00 14 14 2012 40.50 7 4 2012 No_hunt 0 0
2013 35.67 14 12 2013 45.00 6 4 2013 15.00 1 1
... Our results showed a declining trend in trophy size in Cape buffalo trophies over time in Malapati Safari Area. Similar declines in Cape buffalo trends were also reported in Sengwa Wildlife Research Area, northwest Zimbabwe [32], as well as in Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, and South Africa [12]. The declines in Cape buffalo trophy size could be attributed to the harvesting regimes and trophy hunting pressure [8]. ...
... This presupposes the existence of source and sink dynamics in trophy individuals, where Malapati Safari Area acts as a sink with the GNP being the source of big tuskers over time [39]. However, our findings were contrary to those found in Matetsi Safari Area, Zimbabwe [8], in Sengwa Wildlife Research Area, Zimbabwe [32], and Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania [40], where declining African elephant trophy sizes were reported. Nonetheless, African elephant trophy sizes were below the minimum SCI score of 90 pounds. ...
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Developing harvest management strategies in designated hunting areas requires systematic and robust monitoring. We assessed the trophy size, quota utilization, and distribution of kill sites of African elephant, Cape buffalo, greater kudu, and leopard for the period 2007-2014 in Malapati Safari Area, southeast Zimbabwe. Trophy sizes for African elephant significantly increased over time albeit being below the expected minimum Safari Club International (SCI) score. Cape buffalo trophy sizes declined significantly over time but were not different from the SCI minimum score. However, greater kudu trophy sizes were higher than the SCI minimum score despite being constant over time. Leopard trophy sizes were higher than the SCI minimum score and increased with time. Quota utilization for African elephant and Cape buffalo increased while that of greater kudu and leopard did not change between 2007 and 2014. Some kill sites, in particular, for the African elephant and Cape buffalo, were within the buffer area with the state protected area, i.e., Gonarezhou National Park. Increased hunting pressure likely leads to poor trophy quality and hunting within the protected buffer areas. In contrast, effective adherence to hunting ethics and scientifically and conservatively set quotas largely does not compromise the trophy quality of harvested species. The observed trophy size patterns and kill sites distribution suggest the possible existence of source and sink dynamics of trophy species occurring in a protected area complex within the Zimbabwe’s component of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. To ensure sustainable trophy hunting in the study area and similar ecosystems the following are recommended: (i) scientifically robust, adaptable, and participatory quota setting process, (ii) enhanced adherence to good practice in terms of ethical hunting conduct, and (iii) development of a robust hunting monitoring system covering all elements of hunting for adaptive wildlife management.
... Rangers who participated in trophy hunting admitted there was a significant decrease on trophy quality of elephants. This was supported by finding by Ngorima [19] who did an analysis on trend in trophy quality from 2003 to 2013 on elephants in SWRA and reported a significant decrease on trophy quality for elephant and further indicated that hunting success rate declined with each passing hunting season. Analysis on annual trophy hunting also indicated poor utilization of allocated trophy quota with constant review downwards. ...
... The authors have studied trophy hunting in SWA from a distance and from inside it for years.The trophy quality (aesthetic appeal of the horn, tusk, ivory, skull or tusk) of the key animals such as buffalo and elephant being hunted in SWRA is hanging precariously in the balance [7]. This can be attributed to a number of reasons such as unsustainable trophy hunting, poaching, poor management, human encroachment, habitat fragmentation and loss hence this exerts strong pressure on wildlife animals causing undesirable life-history changes over shorter periods of time than expected leading to a spectacular decline in trophy quality [2]. ...
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This study aimed at examining local ranger-based knowledge and perceptions on explaining contributing factors to variations on elephant fluctuations seasonally and over a long period in Sengwa Wildlife Research Area following a massive decline of elephants by nearly 76% after the 2014 National Aerial Survey done in Sebungwe Region, Zimbabwe. Data were collected between 1st and 20th August 2020 using a purposive sampling approach administered to questionnaire to resident SWRA rangers (n = 25). Our results show that rangers considered a combination of factors that may have affected elephant fluctuations in SWRA including poaching, migration, settlement and impact of climate change. However, our results suggest that rangers had inadequate knowledge about elephant migration destinations. Moreover, mixed perceptions about the impact of trophy hunting, poaching and climate change-induced factors were recorded from the participants. The results contribute to a growing understanding of poaching, climate change, trophy hunting and human settlement on elephant behaviour. The study recommends improvement in elephant monitoring through investments in elephant collars and radio tracking to better understand elephant daily and seasonal dispersal movements.
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The trophy hunting of lions Panthera leo is contentious due to uncertainty concerning conservation impacts and because of highly polarised opinions about the practice. African lions are hunted across at least ∼558,000 km(2), which comprises 27-32% of the lion range in countries where trophy hunting of the species is permitted. Consequently, trophy hunting has potential to impart significant positive or negative impacts on lions. Several studies have demonstrated that excessive trophy harvests have driven lion population declines. There have been several attempts by protectionist non-governmental organisations to reduce or preclude trophy hunting via restrictions on the import and export of lion trophies. We document the management of lion hunting in Africa and highlight challenges which need addressing to achieve sustainability. Problems include: unscientific bases for quota setting; excessive quotas and off-takes in some countries; fixed quotas which encourage over-harvest; and lack of restrictions on the age of lions that can be hunted. Key interventions needed to make lion hunting more sustainable, include implementation of: enforced age restrictions; improved trophy monitoring; adaptive management of quotas and a minimum length of lion hunts of at least 21 days. Some range states have made important steps towards implementing such improved management and off-takes have fallen steeply in recent years. For example age restrictions have been introduced in Tanzania and in Niassa in Mozambique, and are being considered for Benin and Zimbabwe, several states have reduced quotas, and Zimbabwe is implementing trophy monitoring. However, further reforms are needed to ensure sustainability and reduce conservation problems associated with the practice while allowing retention of associated financial incentives for conservation.
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A database of approximately 9000 trophy measurements of ungulates hunted in South Africa between 1993 and 2001 was analysed in order to detect monotonic trends in trophy quality over time. In a species-specific analysis, declines were found for impala (Aepyceros melampus), springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) and mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula). In an area-specific analysis, a decline was found in the Northern Cape Province. Conversely, blesbok (Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi) (species-specific) and the Free State Province (area-specific) showed increases in trophy quality. As an economic indicator, the monitoring of trophy quality allows agencies to potentially evaluate the quality and sustainability of their 'huntable' ungulate resources.
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Human harvest of phenotypically desirable animals from wild populations imposes selection that can reduce the frequencies of those desirable phenotypes. Hunting and fishing contrast with agricultural and aquacultural practices in which the most desirable animals are typically bred with the specific goal of increasing the frequency of desirable phenotypes. We consider the potential effects of harvest on the genetics and sustainability of wild populations. We also consider how harvesting could affect the mating system and thereby modify sexual selection in a way that might affect recruitment. Determining whether phenotypic changes in harvested populations are due to evolution, rather than phenotypic plasticity or environmental variation, has been problematic. Nevertheless, it is likely that some undesirable changes observed over time in exploited populations (e.g., reduced body size, earlier sexual maturity, reduced antler size, etc.) are due to selection against desirable phenotypes-a process we call "unnatural" selection. Evolution brought about by human harvest might greatly increase the time required for over-harvested populations to recover once harvest is curtailed because harvesting often creates strong selection differentials, whereas curtailing harvest will often result in less intense selection in the opposing direction. We strongly encourage those responsible for managing harvested wild populations to take into account possible selective effects of harvest management and to implement monitoring programs to detect exploitation-induced selection before it seriously impacts viability.
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The observable traits of wild populations are continually shaped and reshaped by the environment and numerous agents of natural selection, including predators. In stark contrast with most predators, humans now typically exploit high proportions of prey populations and target large, reproductive-aged adults. Consequently, organisms subject to consistent and strong 'harvest selection' by fishers, hunters, and plant harvesters may be expected to show particularly rapid and dramatic changes in phenotype. However, a comparison of the rate at which phenotypic changes in exploited taxa occurs relative to other systems has never been undertaken. Here, we show that average phenotypic changes in 40 human-harvested systems are much more rapid than changes reported in studies examining not only natural (n = 20 systems) but also other human-driven (n = 25 systems) perturbations in the wild, outpacing them by >300% and 50%, respectively. Accordingly, harvested organisms show some of the most abrupt trait changes ever observed in wild populations, providing a new appreciation for how fast phenotypes are capable of changing. These changes, which include average declines of almost 20% in size-related traits and shifts in life history traits of nearly 25%, are most rapid in commercially exploited systems and, thus, have profound conservation and economic implications. Specifically, the widespread potential for transitively rapid and large effects on size- or life history-mediated ecological dynamics might imperil populations, industries, and ecosystems.
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Trophy hunting in ungulates may favour individuals with smaller horns. A decrease in horn/antler size may jeopardize the conservation potential of hunting areas, which would be a major concern in Africa where hunting zones represent over half of the total area of protected lands. We investigated horn length trends of harvested male impalas Aepyceros melampus, greater kudus Tragelaphus strepsiceros and sable antelopes Hippotragus niger, from 1974 to 2008 in Matetsi Safari Area, Zimbabwe. Horn length declined by 4% in impalas, partly because male harvest age decreased. In greater kudus, surprisingly, horn length increased by 14%, while mean age of harvested male greater kudus increased during the study period. Reduced hunting pressure on this species during the study may have allowed males to live longer and to grow longer horns before being harvested. Horn length declined by 6% in sable antelopes, independent of age, suggesting that trophy hunting selected male sable antelopes with smaller horns through time, provided that horn length is heritable. Hunting pressure and trophy value were higher for sable antelopes than for impalas and greater kudus. Accordingly, the decline of horn length in this species was more pronounced. More valuable trophy species, such as sable antelopes, require special attention because they may be exposed to higher hunting pressure, and are therefore more likely to experience a decrease in horn size.
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Preserving wildlife in a pristine state on a large scale is no longer feasible in view of continued human population increases, economic development, habitat fragmentation and degradation, the introduction of nonnative species, and commercialisation of wildlife products. The wise use of the planet's remaining wildlife resources will depend on management practices which recognise that indigenous people are integral parts of ecosystems. Community-based conservation, which attempts to devolve responsibility for the sustainable use of wildlife resources to the local level, can include consumptive activities, such as trophy hunting, as well as nonconsumptive forms of tourism. The trophy hunting management systems of six countries of eastern and southern Africa are profiled and critiqued, demonstrating a number of essential conditions for obtaining optimal wildlife conservation and community benefits.
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Behavioural and demographic changes in animal populations resulting from exploitation are of conservation significance if they affect population growth rates. In this study, demography and behaviour of 19 larger mammals in conservation areas where legal and illegal hunting occurred were compared to that in a fully protected non-hunted area in western Tanzania. Results showed that there were few differences in species' demography between exploited and unexploited areas, but that, in general, mammals were more flighty outside protected areas and that these tended to be species that were more heavily exploited. Nevertheless, there were few differences in other behaviour patterns between the two areas. These findings question the supposition that behaviour and demography of mammals necessarily changes in areas of exploitation, and that population growth rates or monitoring strategies need be affected in anthropogenically disturbed habitats.