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Trophy hunting is the subject of intense debate and polarized positions, with controversy and deep concern over some hunting practices and their ethical basis and impacts. The controversy has sparked moves at various levels to end or restrict trophy hunting, including through bans on the carriage or import of hunting trophies. In March 2016, for example, a group of members of the European Parliament called (unsuccessfully) for the signing of a Written Declaration calling for examination of the possibility of restricting all imports of hunting trophies into the European Union. Although there is a pressing need for the reform of hunting governance and practice in many countries, calls for blanket restrictions on trophy hunting assume that it is uniformly detrimental to conservation; such calls are frequently made based on poor information and inaccurate assumptions. Here we explain how trophy hunting, if well managed, can play a positive role in supporting conservation as well as local community rights and livelihoods, and we provide examples from various parts of the world. We highlight the likely impact of blanket bans on trophy hunting and argue for a more nuanced approach to much needed reform.
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An internat ional journal of fore stry and forest ind ustries Vol. 68 2017/1
ISSN 0041-6436
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
There is substantial evidence that the controversial practice of trophy
hunting can produce positive outcomes for wildlife conservation and
local people. T
rophy hunting is the subject of
intense debate and polarized posi-
tions, with controversy and deep
concern over some hunting practices
and their ethical basis and impacts. The
controversy has sparked moves at various
levels to end or restrict trophy hunting,
including through bans on the carriage
or import of hunting trophies. In March
2016, for example, a group of members
of the European Parliament called (unsuc-
cessfully) for the signing of a Written
Declaration calling for examination of
the possibility of restricting all imports of
hunting trophies into the European Union.
The baby and the bathwater:
trophy hunting, conservation and rural livelihoods
R. Cooney, C. Freese, H. Dublin, D. Roe, D. Mallon, M. Knight, R. Emslie, M. Pani,
V. Booth, S. Mahoney and C. Buyanaa
Rosie Co oney is Chair of t he Internationa l Union
for Conservation of Natu re (IUCN) Com mission
on Environmental, Ec onomic and Social Policy
(CEESP)/Species Surv ival Commission (SSC)
Sustainable Use a nd Livelihoods Special ist
Group and Visiting Fel low at the University of
New South Wales, Australia.
Curtis Frees e, Marco Pa ni and Verno n Booth
are independent consu ltants and members of
the IUCN CE ESP/SSC Sustainable Use and
Livelihoods Spe cialist Group.
Holly Dublin is Chair of the I UCN SSC African
Elephant Specia list Group, Senior Advisor at
the IUCN Ea st and Southern Af rica Regional
Ofce, and a member of the IUCN CEESP/SSC
Sustainable Use a nd Livelihoods Special ist
Dilys Roe is Pr incipal Researcher a nd Team
Leader ( Biodiversity) at the Internationa l
Institute for Envi ronment and Development and
a member of the IUC N CEESP/SSC Sustainable
Use and Livelihoods Sp ecialist Group.
David Mallon is Co- chair of the IUCN SSC
Antelope Spec ialist Group and a membe r of
the IUCN CE ESP/SSC Sustainable Use and
Livelihoods Spe cialist Group.
Michael Kn ight is Co-chai r of the IUCN SSC
Africa n Rhino Speci alist Group and a membe r
of the IUCN CE ESP/SSC Sustainable Use and
Livelihoods Spe cialist Group.
Richard Emslie is Scientic Ofcer with the
IUCN SSC Afr ican Rhino Sp ecialist Group.
Shane Mahoney is Chief Executive Ofcer at
Conservation Visions a nd Deputy Chai r for North
Amer ica of the IUC N CEESP/SSC Sustainable
Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group.
Chimeddorj Buyana a is Conservation Dir ector
at the W W F Mong ol i a Pr o g r a m m e Of c e.
Above: Elephants bathe in the
Chobe River, Botswana
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
Although there is a pressing need for the
reform of hunting governance and practice
in many countries, calls for blanket restric-
tions on trophy hunting assume that it is
uniformly detrimental to conservation;
such calls are frequently made based on
poor information and inaccurate assump-
tions. Here we explain how trophy hunting,
if well managed, can play a positive role
in supporting conservation as well as local
community rights and livelihoods, and we
provide examples from various parts of the
world. We highlight the likely impact of
blanket bans on trophy hunting and argue
for a more nuanced approach to much-
needed reform.
Here we dene trophy hunting as hunting
carried out on a recreational basis (i.e. not
“subsistence” hunting carried out as part
of basic livelihood strategies) targeting
animals with specic desired characteris-
tics (such as large size or antlers). Trophy
hunting generally involves the payment
of a fee by a foreign or local hunter for
an (often guided) experience for one or
more individuals in hunting a particular
species with desired characteristics. The
hunter generally retains the antlers, horn,
tusks, head, teeth or other body parts of
the animal as a memento or “trophy”,
and the local community or the hunter
usually uses the meat for food. Trophy
hunting takes place in most countries of
Europe, the United States of America,
Canada, Mexico, several countries in
East, Central and South Asia, around
half the 54 countries in Africa (Booth and
Chardonnet, 2015), several countries in
Central and South America, and Australia
and New Zealand.
We note, however, that the term “trophy
hunting” can be misleading. Hunting takes
many forms, and hunters have diverse
motivations. Gaining trophies may be a
minor or incidental motivation for some
hunters, who may also be motivated by,
for example, the prospect of obtaining
food; managing a population in order to
conserve other species of plants or animals
or to enable forest regeneration; being in
nature; continuing a culturally important
or traditional set of practices; and inter-
acting with family and friends. In many
contexts, trophy hunting overlaps substan-
tially with hunting for food. Many deer
hunters, for example, may hunt animals
with larger antlers if encountered, but will
hunt others (for meat) should the desired
animal not be found.
A wide variety of species is subject to
trophy hunting, from common to threat-
ened. Most are native, but some (e.g. deer
in Australia and New Zealand) are intro-
duced. The hunting of introduced species
constitutes a small proportion of hunting
and raises different conservation issues
to those associated with the hunting of
native species; it is not discussed further
in this article.
Although there is a tendency for the
media and decision-makers to conate
“canned” hunting (hunting of usually
captive-bred animals in enclosures from
which they are unable to escape, or of
recently released animals unfamiliar with
the area) with legitimate trophy hunting,
canned hunting is a limited practice (pri-
marily involving lions in South Africa)
and is condemned by major professional
hunting organizations. It raises different
issues to those associated with the hunt-
ing of free-ranging animals and is not
discussed further in this article.
Trophy hunting is also frequently (and
incorrectly) conflated with poaching
for the organized international illegal
wildlife trade that is devastating many
species, including the African elephant
(Loxodonta africana) and African rhinos
(black – Diceros bicornis – and white –
Ceratotherium simum). Trophy hunting
typically takes place as a legal, regulated
activity under programmes implemented by
government wildlife agencies, protected-
area managers, indigenous or local
community bodies, private landowners or
conservation or development organizations,
whereas poaching for the illegal wildlife
trade is – by denition – illegal and un-
managed. Poaching for the illegal wildlife
trade is generally far more damaging in
both scale and demographic impact, with
breeding females and calves often killed.
In Africa, for example, 1 342 African rhi-
nos (including both species) were reported
poached in 2015 – almost 20 times more
than the 69 that were hunted legally that
year (Emslie et al., 2016). All revenue from
poaching for the illegal wildlife trade ows
to criminals; on the other hand, revenues
from legal hunting are used in a number of
cases to fund law enforcement or provide
community benets that counter the incen-
tives to engage in illegal wildlife trade (see,
for example, case studies 1, 2 and 4 later
in this article).
In some contexts, all decisions on hunt-
ing quotas, species and areas are made by
government wildlife agencies (for example
in the United States of America – case
study 3). In many trophy-hunting gover-
nance systems, however, local landowners
and community organizations participate
alongside governments in deciding these
questions and sometimes are the key
decision-makers, at least for some species
(e.g. in Namibian communal conservan-
cies – see case study 5).
This is not to say that no illegal practices
take place – as, to a certain extent, they
do in most sectors. Widespread anecdotal
reports indicate that regulatory weak-
nesses and illegal activities exist in the
trophy-hunting sector in some countries,
sometimes at a very serious scale and
sometimes involving ofcial corruption.
Such activities include hunting in excess
of quotas or in the wrong areas, the tak-
ing of non-permitted species, and “pseudo
hunting” (case study 1).
The prices paid for trophy hunts vary
enormously, from the equivalent of hun-
dreds to hundreds of thousands of United
States dollars; at a global scale, such hunts
involve a substantial revenue ow from
developed to developing countries (e.g.
Booth, 2009; Saayman, van der Merwe
and Rossouw, 2011). In developing coun-
tries, landowners and land managers often
negotiate with hunting operators (or “con-
cessionaires”) to decide who will get the
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
hunting right or concession on their land,
and on what terms. Terms may include
(and, in some countries, must include, if
on state land) obligations to carry out anti-
poaching and community development
activities. The operator, in turn, secures
contracts with foreign clients and runs the
hunting trips. The fees paid by hunters
generally include three things:
the operator’s costs (where applicable);
payments to the local entity (e.g. com-
munity, private or state landowner or
land manager) with which the opera-
tor has the contract; and
official government payments of
various types (e.g. permits and fees),
which typically help nance wild-
life management and conservation
In developing countries, generally 50–90
percent of the net revenues (excluding
operator costs) are allocated to local
entities, with the remainder going to gov-
ernment authorities. The local community
benet can be as high as 100 percent and
as low as nearly zero. Meat from hunts is
often donated or sold to local community
members and can be highly valued locally
(Naidoo et al., 2016). In most countries
in Europe and North America, a share of
hunters’ fees usually goes to governmental
wildlife authorities to help nance wildlife
management and conservation activities.
Trophy hunting takes place in a wide
range of governance, management and
ecological contexts and, accordingly, its
impacts on conservation vary enormously,
from negative through neutral to positive.
Good evidence on the impacts is lacking or
scarce in many contexts, making it impos-
sible to fully evaluate the overall effect of
trophy hunting.
Negative conservation impacts of poorly
managed trophy hunting may include over-
harvesting; articial selection for rare or
exaggerated features (e.g. abnormal colour
morphs); genetic or phenotypic impacts
(such as reduced horn size); the intro-
duction of species or subspecies beyond
their natural ranges (including into other
countries); and predator removal.
It is clear, however, that, given effective
governance and management, trophy hunt-
ing can and does have positive impacts
(as shown in the six case studies in this
article). Habitat loss, fragmentation and
degradation, driven primarily by the
expansion of human economic activities,
is the most important threat to terrestrial
wildlife populations (Mace et al., 2005),
along with other threats such as poaching
for bushmeat and illegal wildlife trade and
competition with livestock. Demands for
food, income and land for development
are rising in many biodiversity-rich parts
of the world, exacerbating threats to wild-
life and increasing the urgency of nding
viable conservation incentives.
Well-managed trophy hunting can be a
positive driver of conservation because
it increases the value of wildlife and the
habitats it depends on, providing crucial
benefits that can motivate and enable
sustainable management approaches.
Trophy-hunting programmes can have
the following positive impacts:
Generate incentives for landowners
(e.g. government, private individu-
als and communities) to conserve
or restore wildlife on their land.
Benets to landowners from hunting
can make wildlife an attractive land-
use option, encouraging landowners
to maintain or restore wildlife habitat
and populations, remove livestock,
invest in monitoring and management,
and carry out anti-poaching activi-
ties. Policies enabling landowners
to benet from sustainable wildlife
use have led to the total or partial
conversion of large areas of land
from livestock and cropping back
to wildlife in, for example, Mexico,
Namibia, Pakistan, South Africa,
the United States of America and
Zimbabwe (case studies 1 and 3–6).
This benet applies to state protected
areas as well as to private lands. In
sub-Saharan Africa, lands set aside
for wildlife in hunting concessions
cover as much land (or more) as
national parks (Lindsey, Roulet and
Romañach, 2007) and are often part
of national protected-area systems
(usually in IUCN categories IV and
VI).1 Given the intense and escalat-
ing pressures on land in developing
countries, particularly to produce
food, the future of these lands and the
wildlife that inhabit them would be
highly uncertain without the benets
owing from wildlife management.
Generate revenue for wildlife man-
agement and conservation, including
anti-poaching activities, for gov-
ernmental, private and communal
landholders (see case studies 1–6).
In most regions, government agencies
depend at least in part on revenues
from hunting to manage wildlife and
protected areas. State wildlife agen-
cies in the United States of America,
for example, are funded primarily by
hunters (both trophy and broader recre-
ational hunting) through various direct
and indirect mechanisms, including
the sale of trophy-hunting permits
(Heffelfinger, Geist and Wishart,
2013; Mahoney, 2013). The extent of
the world’s gazetted protected areas,
many of which are in IUCN catego-
ries IV and VI and include hunting
areas, could decline signicantly if
hunting areas were to become inop-
erable. Private landowners in South
Africa and Zimbabwe and com-
munal landowners in Namibia also
use trophy-hunting revenues to pay
guards and rangers, buy equipment,
and otherwise manage and protect
1 The aim of IUCN Protected Area Category IV
areas (“habitat/species management areas”) is
to protect particular species or habitats, and
management reflects this priority. The aim
of IUCN Protected Area Category VI areas
(“protected areas with sustainable use of natu-
ral resources”) is to conserve ecosystems and
habitats together with associated cultural values
and traditional natural resource management
systems (IUCN, 2 017).
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
wildlife (case studies 1 and 5). Reve-
nues from trophy-hunting operations in
Mongolia, Pakistan and Tajikistan are
used to pay local guards to stop poach-
ing and to improve habitat for game
animals (case studies 2 and 6). Trophy-
hunting operators and the patrols they
directly organize, nance and deploy
can reduce poaching (Lindsey, Roulet
and Romañach, 2007).
Increase tolerance of wild-
life and thereby reduce illegal
wildlife killings and human–wildlife
conicts. Retaliatory killings and
local poaching are common when
wildlife imposes serious costs on local
people – such as the loss of crops and
livestock and human injury or death
– and there are no legal means for
pe ople to benet from it. This is a pa r-
ticularly important factor in Africa,
where elephants and other species
destroy crops and where large cats
kill humans and livestock.
The incentives and revenues from trophy-
hunting programmes are not just important
for the conservation of hunted species:
site protection exercises a “biodiversity
umbrella” effect and may help conserve
non-hunted species, too. Populations of
African rhinos and the African wild dog
(Lycaon pictus) in the Savé and Bubye
conservancies in Zimbabwe are not hunted,
but proceeds from trophy hunting sup-
port their conservation (case study 4). In
the Pamirs in Tajikistan, trophy-hunting
concessions for argali (Ovis ammon) and
ibex (Capra ibex) (wild sheep and goats)
are showing higher densities of the threat-
ened snow leopard (Panthera uncia) than
nearby areas without trophy hunting, likely
due to higher prey densities and reduced
poaching (Kachel, 2014). High densities
of snow leopard have also been recorded
in a markhor (Capra falconeri) conser-
vancy (Rosen, 2014). In the United States
of America, the threatened grizzly bear
(Ursus arctos) population in the Yellow-
stone National Park region has beneted
from the retirement of areas of land
from livestock grazing and thus reduced
bear–livestock conicts, paid for partly by
revenues from trophy hunting for bighorn
sheep (Ovis canadensis) (K. Hurley, per-
sonal communication, 25 February 2016).
Concern is frequently expressed that
trophy hunting is driving declines of
iconic African large mammals such as
the elephant, rhino and lion (Panthera
leo). Although there is evidence in a small
number of cases – particularly concerning
the lion – that unsustainable trophy hunting
has contributed to declines (e.g. Loveridge
et al., 2007; Packer et al., 2011), it is not
considered a primary threat to any of
these species and is typically a negligible
or minor threat to African wildlife popula-
tions (Lindsey, 2015). The primary causes
of current and past population declines
Hunting for food and trophies
overlaps for species such as
red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
of the large mammals subject to trophy
hunting – such as the African elephant,
African buffalo, white rhino, black rhino,
zebra (Equus zebra and E. quagga), arga li,
ibex, bighorn sheep and various deer and
bear species – are habitat loss and degrada-
tion, competition with livestock, illegal or
uncontrolled poaching for meat and trade
in animal products (e.g. ivory and horn),
and retribution killings in human–wildlife
conicts (Schipper et al., 2008; Ripple
et al., 2015). For lions, the most important
causes of population declines are indis-
criminate killing in defence of human life
and livestock, habitat loss, and prey-base
depletion (usually from poaching) (Bauer
et al., 2015). For many of these species, as
noted in the case studies, well-managed
trophy hunting can promote population
recovery and protection and help in main-
taining habitats.
The contributions of trophy hunting to the
livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local
communities vary enormously by context
and region. In many cases, trophy hunting
takes place without meaningful community
participation in decision-making around
wildlife management, without adequate
respect for community rights and consent,
and with insufcient or poorly functioning
benet-sharing mechanisms, with most
value captured by hunting operators or
government agencies. In a significant
number of trophy-hunting programmes,
however, it is clear that indigenous peoples
and local communities have freely chosen
to use trophy hunting as a way of generat-
ing incentives and revenues for conserving
and managing their wildlife and improving
their livelihoods (case studies 2, 3, 5 and
6). In many other cases, communities have
less decision-making power over trophy
hunting but nevertheless gain a share of
hunting revenues (see Lindsey et al., 2 013).
Communities can benefit from trophy
hunting through hunting-concession pay-
ments or other hunter investments, which
typically provide improved community
services such as water infrastructure;
schools and health clinics; jobs as guides,
game guards, wildlife managers and other
hunting-related employment; and greater
access to game meat. Typically, indigenous
and local communities in and around hunt-
ing areas are very poor, with few sources
of income and sometimes no other legal
source of meat.
In the intense ongoing debate over trophy
hunting, broad statements are often made
suggesting that all trophy hunting threatens
conservation or is driving declines in spe-
cies. For this reason, and because many
of these examples are not widely known,
we set out here a number of case studies
where trophy hunting is generating positive
benets for conservation and community
rights and livelihoods. Although examples
of poor approaches to trophy hunting also
exist and deserve similar scrutiny, these
typically involve illegal or non-transparent
behaviour, making veriable information
difcult to obtain.
Case study 1. Rhinos in Namibia and
South Africa
The history of rhino hunting in Namibia
and South Africa demonstrates clearly its
sustainability in terms of population num-
bers. Since trophy-hunting programmes
were introduced for white rhino in South
Africa, numbers have increased from
around 1 800 individuals in 1968 to just
over 18 400 today (Emslie et al., 2016;
Figure 1), with many more individuals also
reintroduced to other countries in the spe-
cies’ natural range. Since the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Lions: trophy hunting is not
conside red a primary threat
to their conservation and can
generate benets
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
approved limited hunting quotas for black
rhino in late 2004, the number of indi-
viduals in Namibia and South Africa has
increased by 67 percent, from about 2 300
in 2004 to about 3 900 today (Figure 1).
As of the end of 2015, Namibia and South
Africa hosted 90 percent of Africa’s total
black and white rhino population.
Hunting has played an integral role in
the recovery of the white rhino by provid-
ing incentives for private and communal
landowners to maintain the species on their
lands; generating income for conservation
and protection; and helping manage and
promote the recovery of populations.
In South Africa, the limited trophy hunt-
ing of rhinos, combined with live sales and
tourism, has provided an economic incen-
tive to encourage more than 300 private
landowners to build their collective herd
to about 6 140 white rhinos and 630 black
rhinos on 49 private or communal land-
holdings, representing around 1.7 million
hectares of conservation land – equiva-
lent to almost another Kruger National
Park (Balfour, Knight and Jones, 2016;
Emslie et al., 2016). The contribution of
trophy hunting to increasing the range and
numbers of these iconic species, therefore,
is signicant (and increasing).
Many private reserves rely heavily on
trophy hunting and the sale of white rhinos
(to other reserves) to cover operating
costs. For example, one self-funded South
African reserve manages an increasing
population of 195 white rhinos and many
other species.2 An analysis of eight years
of data showed that only about 18 percent
of that reserve’s total operating costs was
generated from tourism, with trophy hunt-
ing generating the bulk (63 percent) of
income needed to fund operations. The
reserve allocates all the proceeds from
rhino hunting to rhino protection and
conservation management. The reserve
manager has noted that a recent ban on
lion-trophy imports by the United States of
America has already caused the cancella-
tion of some hunts, with a negative impact
on income for conservation (M. Knight,
R. Emslie and K. Adcock, personal com-
munication, 18 March 2016).
Increasing security costs and risks due
to escalating poaching and declining
economic incentives have resulted in a
worrying trend, in which some private
landowners and managers are no longer
keeping rhinos; if this trend continues,
it could threaten the expansion of the
species’ ranges and numbers. Import
restrictions that threaten the viability of
hunting would likely further reduce incen-
tives and exacerbate the trend.
Hunting may also directly contribute to
population growth by removing males that
might (for example) kill or compete with
calves and females. The hunting of small
numbers of specic individual “surplus”
male black rhinos is approved in South
Africa only if criteria set out in the coun-
try’s black rhino biodiversity management
plan are met to ensure that hunting furthers
demographic and genetic conservation.
Generating revenue for conservation is
a bonus rather than the main driver of
this hunting.
In recent years, “pseudo hunters” have
used legal trophy hunting to access rhino
horn for illegal sale in Southeast Asia,
driving a spike in the number of individu-
als hunted to a high of 173 in 2011. The
introduction of control measures in South
Africa in 2012, however, has brought the
number of white rhinos hunted back down
to previous levels (Emslie et al., 2016).
Case study 2. Argali in Mongolia
Trophy hunting became legal in Mongolia
in 1967, with argali, particularly the Altai
argali (Ovis ammon ammon), the coun-
try’s most highly valued trophy animal.
An inadequate management framework,
2 The identity of this reserve is k nown to the IUC N
SSC African Rhino Specialist Group (a highly
credible and trusted authority), but we do not
reveal it here for rhino security reasons.
Estimated number
of white rhi nos
in South Africa
(left) and black
rhinos in South
Africa an d Namibia
(right) before
and after trophy
hunting started ()
in 196 8 and 20 05,
Year Year
1978 19891993 1994 19992008 2004 2009 2014196 31948
2 900
3 400
3 900
2 400
1 900
1 400
Sou rce: Redrawn from Emslie et al. (2 016).
20 000
12 000
14 000
16 000
18 000
10 000
8 000
6 000
4 000
2 000
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
however, led to largely unmanaged,
open-access hunting. Argali populations
decli ned signi cantly, possibly with addi-
tional pressure arising from competition
with a rapidly growing domestic goat
population (Page, 2015; Wingard and
Za hler, 2006).
WWF Mongolia initiated a community-
based wildlife management project in the
Uvs administrative region in northwest
Mongolia in 2007. The objective was to
replace uncontrolled open-access use with
community wildlife management by seven
local groups, with revenues to be gener-
ated by trophy hunting, mainly of the Altai
argali. The 12.7 million-hectare Gulzat
Local Protected Area was established
and an initial ban on hunting was put in
place to enable population restoration.
With protection from local herders, the
population grew from about 200 in the
years immediately preceding the ban to
more than 1 500 in 2014 (Figure 2). This
growth continued as managed hunting
was initiated. Twelve Altai argali were
harvested in the four years following
the lifting of the ban, generating around
US$123 400 in income at the local level
(C. Buyanaa, personal communication,
2 March 2016).
Hunting is managed by the Gulzat
Initiative, a non-governmental organization
formed entirely of local community mem-
bers, with guidance from experts in wildlife
management, including certain hunting
companies. Trilateral contracts between
hunting companies, the Gulzat Initiative
and the district governor enhance trans-
parency and accountability (C. Buyanaa,
personal communication, 28 January 2016).
Recent legal developments in Mon-
golia have established a sound basis for
community-based wildlife management,
informed by experiences from communal
conservancies in Namibia (see case study 5).
Case study 3. Bighorn sheep in
North America
Euro-American settlement and the cor-
responding surge in livestock numbers and
uncontrolled hunting led to a rapid decline
in bighorn sheep in North America, from
roughly 1 million individuals in 1800 to
fewer than 25 000 in 1950. Since then,
based primarily on more than US$100 mil-
lion contributed by trophy-hunting groups
through fees and donations, hundreds of
thousands of hectares have been set aside
for bighorn sheep and other wildlife, and
the bighorn population has more than
tripled from its historic low to roughly
80 000 today (Hurley, Brewer and
Thor nton, 2 015).
Restoration of the bighorn sheep popu-
lation in Canada and the United States
of America was brought about largely
by hunters working with provincial and
state wildlife agencies to support research,
habitat acquisition and management. In the
American state of Wyoming, for example,
auctions of bighorn sheep hunting tags
yield approximately US$350 000 annually,
of which 70 percent goes to conserving
bighorn sheep and 10 percent goes to the
conservation of other wildlife. These funds
were used to cover approximately one-
third of the more than US$2 million paid to
producers of domestic sheep to voluntarily
remove sheep from 187 590 hectares of
public grazing lands (with the other two-
thirds of the cost met from fees paid by
other hunt ing, sh ing and wildl ife groups;
K. Hurley, personal communication,
23 February 2016).
Indigenous-managed trophy hunting has
also driven recoveries of bighorn sheep
in Mexico. In 1975, 20 individuals were
reintroduced to Tiburon Island in the Sea
of Cortez, an island owned and managed
by Seri Indians. The original cause of the
extinction of the species on the island is
unknown, but the population grew quickly
after reintroduction to around 500, prob-
ably the island’s carrying capacity. In 1995,
a coalition of institutions initiated a pro-
gramme to fund bighorn sheep research
and conservation while providing needed
income for the Seri through the interna-
tional auctioning of exclusive hunting
permits on the island.
Initially, perm its oft en garnered 6-gure
bids (in US dollars). From 1998 to 2007,
the Seri Indians earned US$3.2 million
from bighorn sheep hunting permits and
the sale of young animals for transloca-
tion – funds that were reinvested in Seri
Population counts fo r Altai arg ali in the
Gulzat Lo cal Protected Area , Mongoli a
1 800
1 600
1 400
1 200
1 000
Not e: Population gures are the numbers of an imals observed in an nual transect and poi nt surveys, with a
low likeliho od of animals being counted more tha n once; gures therefore represent minimu m estimates.
Sou rce: Chimeddorj Buyanaa, WWF Mongolia, unpublished data.
2003 2004 20 05 2007 2008 2009 2010 20 1220 11 2014
No. of individuals
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
community projects, the management of
the bighorn sheep population, and the
maintenance of the island in an undis-
turbed state. The funding of the island’s
conservation through trophy hunting
continues, with the Seri recently selling
permits for US$80 000–90 000 each. The
island has also been an important source
population for the re-establishment of
bighorn sheep populations in the Sonoran
Desert and elsewhere on the mainland.
Many ranchers in the Sonoran Desert have
greatly reduced or eliminated livestock to
focus on wildlife because of the substantial
revenues that can be generated from trophy
hunting for bighorn sheep and mule deer
(Odocoileus hemionus) (Valdez et al.,
2006; Wilder et al., 2014; Hurley, Brewer
and Thornton, 2015).
Case study 4. Private wildlife lands in
In Zimbabwe, the devolution of wildlife
use rights to landholders in 1975 resulted
in a transition in the wildlife sector from
game ranching as the hobby of a few dozen
ranchers to, by 2000, some 1 000 land-
owners conserving 2.7 million hectares
of wildlife land, with trophy hunting a
primary driver of this change (Child, 2009;
A bighorn sh eep,
New Mexico, United
States of America
No. of individuals
Not e: The privately owned Bubye Valley Conservancy is on land previously used for farming and depends
on trophy hunting to fund wildlife conservation. Samanyanga is an area in the east of the conservancy on
the banks of the Bubye River.
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 200 4 20092008200720062005 2 0 112 010 2012
Original lion monitoring data
1999 13 lions introduced into Samanyanga
(+ 4 young mal es break in )
2001 Lion monitoring ceases
2009 Conservation research initiated:
WildCRU te am from Ox ford
Oxford WildCRU Predator Sur vey data
The lion po pulation i n the privately
owned Bubye Val ley Conser vancy,
Zimbabwe, 1999–2012
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
Lindsey, Romañach and Davies-Mostert,
2009). The number of landholders involved
and the area of wildlife land conserved
have since declined signicantly under
the land reform programme; neverthe-
less, despite the challenging economic
conditions in the country today, private
conservancies continue to play a crucial
role in conservation. The two conservan-
cies described below both rely on trophy
hunting as the primary source of revenue
and would be unviable without it. Both
have made efforts to attract nature-based
tourism that does not include hunting
(often referred to as photographic tourism),
but this does not contribute signicant
revenue (Zimbabwe’s political instability
has had far more impact on photographic
tourism than on hunting tourism).
The Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC),
covering 344 000 hectares, was created
in the 1990s by livestock ranchers who
agreed that wildlife management could
be a better use of the land than livestock.
Cattle-ranching operations had eliminated
all elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and lions
(among other species) in the area. Today,
SVC has around 1 500 African elephants,
121 black and 42 white rhinos, 280 lions
and several packs of African wild dog.
Hunting on the Sango Ranch, SVC’s largest
property, yields around US$600 000 annu-
ally and employs 120 permanent workers,
who represent more than 1 000 family
members (Lindsey et al., 2008; W. Pabst
and D. Goosen, personal communication,
9 February 2016; Sango Wildlife, undated).
The 323 000-hectare Bubye Valley
Conservancy (BVC), also a converted
cattle ranch, now has roughly 500 lions
(Figure 3), 700 African elephants,
5 000 African buffaloes, 82 white rhinos
and, at 211, the third-largest black rhino
population in Africa. Trophy fees in 2015
generated US$1.38 million. BVC employs
about 400 people and invests US$200 000
annually in community development proj
ects (BVC, undated; B. Leathem, personal
communication, 17 January 2016).
Note that the revenues generated by
trophy hunting protect and benet many
non-hunted species in these ranches, such
as the black rhino, white rhino and African
wild dog.
Case study 5. Communal
conservancies in Namibia
In the early 1990s, many residents of
Namibian communal lands viewed wildlife
species as detrimental to their livelihoods
because they destroyed crops and water
installations and killed or injured livestock
and people. In 2015, 82 communal conser-
vancies managed 1.6 million hectares for
conservation, lands that are also home to
around 190 000 people, including indig-
enous and tribal communities (NACSO,
Trophy hunting has underpinned
Namibia’s success in community-based
natural resource management. Recent
analysis indicates that if revenues from tro-
phy hunting were lost, most conservancies
would be unable to cover their operating
costs; they would become unviable, and
wildlife populations and local benets
would both decline dramatically (Naidoo
et al., 2016; Figure 4).
Overall, conservancies generate around
half their benets (e.g. cash income for
individuals or communities; meat; and
social benets like schools and health
clinics) from photographic tourism and
half from hunting. Much of the revenue
is reinvested into the management and
protection of wildlife. Around half the
conservancies gain their benets solely
from hunting, with most of the rest deriv-
ing parts of their incomes from hunting
alongside tourism. Only 12 percent of
conservancies specialize in tourism
(Naidoo et al., 2016). Revenues from
trophy hunting for 29 wildlife species in
conservancies totalled NAD36.4 million
(about US$2.7 million) in 2015 (NACSO,
2015). Communities directly receive
payments of about US$20 000 for each
elephant hunted, plus about 3 000 kg of
meat (Chris Weaver, personal communica-
tion, 18 January 2016).
White rhino: und er threat from
poaching, but trophy hunting can
be benecial for conservation.
This rhino is in the Thanda Private
Game Reserve, South Africa
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
Wildlife populations have shown dra-
matic increases in Namibia since the
beginning of the communal conservancy
programme. On communal lands in the
northeast, the population of the sable
antelope (Hippotragus niger) increased
from 724 in 1994 to 1 474 in 2011, and
the impala (Aepyceros melampus) popula-
tion grew from 439 to 9 374 over the same
period. In the conservancy region in the
northwest, the population of the threatened
Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus zebra
hartmannae) increased from fewer than 1
000 individuals in the early 1980s to an
estimated 27 000 in 2011, and the number
of black rhinos more than tripled, mak-
ing it the largest free-roaming population
in Africa (conservancies are unfenced).
The growth of communal conservancies
and protection offered by national parks
has led to an increase in the population
of elephants from around 7 500 in 1995
to more than 20 000 today. The Kunene
Conservancy’s lion population grew from
roughly 25 in 1995 to 150 today, and
Namibia now has a large free-roaming
lion population outside national parks
(NACSO, 2015; C. Weaver, personal com-
munication, 18 January 2016).
Case study 6. Markhor and urial in
In Pakistan in the mid-1980s, local
Pathan tribal leaders were concerned
that uncontrolled illegal hunting for
food had greatly reduced populations
of both the Suleiman (straight-horned)
markhor (Capra falconeri megaceros)
(<100 individuals) and the Afghan urial
(Ovis orientalis) (around 200 individu-
als). After unsuccessfully petitioning the
government to protect these two species,
the Pathan leaders developed the Torghar
Conservation Project based on a simple
concept: that community members would
give up hunting in exchange for being
hired as game guards to prevent poaching,
and the project would be nanced by rev-
enues derived from a limited trophy hunt
of markhor and urial by foreign hunters.
The project covers about 100 000 hect-
ares inhabited by 4 000 people. Between
1986 and 2012, hunting of the two species
generated US$486 400 for the provincial
government and US$2.71 million for the
local community, the latter covering the
salaries of more than 80 game guards,
funding various community projects,
including schools and healthcare facilities,
and supporting actions to reduce graz-
ing competition with livestock. Illegal
hunting declined dramatically: by 2012,
the markhor population had grown to an
estimated 3 500 individuals, while a 2005
survey of urial estimated the population
at 2 541 (Woodford, Frisina and Awun,
2004; Frisina and Tareen, 2009; Mallon,
Similar examples exist elsewhere in
Pakistan and in Tajikistan (and see also
the article on page 17 of this edition). Such
developments have contributed to a recent
improvement in the conservation status of
markhor in the IUCN Red List, where it
is no longer listed as Threatened. Outside
protected areas, stable and increasing
populations are found only in areas where
there is sustainable hunting (Michel and
Rosen Michel, 2015).
Outright bans on trophy hunting, as
well as import or transport restrictions
on high-value species, especially in the
European Union and the United States
of America, could end trophy hunting
by making programmes economically
unviable (see Figure 4). The case stud-
ies presented here make it clear that, in
the absence of effective and sustainable
Revenue generated by tr ophy hunting
underpins the success of the Nami bian
communal conservancy programme. The
maps illustrate the economic viability of
communi ty conservancie s in Namibi a
under (a) the status quo; and ( b) a
simulated trophy-hunting ban
Sou rce: Reproduced from Naidoo et al. (2016 ).
Unprofitable Unprofitable
Break-even Break-even
Profitable Profitable
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
alternatives, removing the incentives and
revenue provided by trophy hunting would
likely cause serious population declines
for a number of threatened or iconic
species, potentially stopping and revers-
ing the recovery of (for example) some
populations of African elephant, black and
white rhino, Hartmann’s mountain zebra
and lion in Africa, markhor, argali and
urial in Asia, and bighorn sheep in North
America. Populations of threatened species
not subject to trophy hunting – such as the
snow leopard and African wild dog – could
also be negatively affected.
For some indigenous and local com-
munities, making trophy hunting illegal
or unviable would mean the loss of cash
income from hunting concessions on their
land, less access to meat, and lost employ-
ment options. The indigenous Khwe San
and Mbukushu (around 5 000 people) in
Bwatwata National Park, who are among
Namibia’s poorest people, have earned
around NAD2.4 million (US$155 000)
per year from trophy hunting in recent
years (R. Diggle, personal communica-
tion, 18 March 2016); stopping trophy
hunting would be an enormous setback
for them because of both a loss of income
and reduced access to meat (and living in
a national park means they cannot graze
livestock or grow commercial crops). If
trophy hunting became unviable, thou-
sands of rural Zimbabwean households that
directly benet from CAMPFI RE
collectively lose about US$1.7 million per
year (already reduced from US$2.2 million
by import bans on elephant trophies in
the United States of America) (C. Jonga,
personal communication, 27 August 2015).
These are substantial amounts of money
in countries where the average income of
rural residents is a few dollars or less per
day. Even more fundamentally, perhaps,
unilateral trophy restrictions by import-
ing countries would reduce the power of
already-marginalized rural communities
to make decisions on the management of
The CAMPFIRE [Communal Areas Manage-
ment Progra mme For Indigenous Resources] is
Zimbabwe’s community-based natu ral resource
management programme, one of the rst such
program mes globally (Mutandwa and Gad zirayi,
Photo tourism:
rarely a full
substitute for trophy
hunting in Africa
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
their lands and wildlife in ways that respect
their right to self-determination and that
best meet their livelihood aspirations.
Trophy hunting is not the only means of
increasing the economic value of wild-
life and generating local benets. It is
often assumed that photographic tourism
could replace trophy hunting: this is cer-
tainly a valuable option in many places
and has generated enormous benets for
conservation and local people, but it is
viable in only a small proportion of the
wildlife areas now managed for trophy
hunting. In contrast to trophy hunting,
photographic tourism requires political
stability, proximity to good transport
links, minimal disease risks, high-density
wildlife populations to guarantee viewing,
scenic landscapes, high capital investment,
infrastructure (hotels, food and water sup-
plies, and waste management), and local
skills and capacity. Photographic tourism
and trophy hunting are frequently highly
complementary land uses when separated
by time or space. Where photographic
tourism is feasible in areas also used for
trophy hunting, it is typically already being
pursued (e.g. case studies 4 and 5). Like
trophy hunting, photographic tourism – if
not carefully implemented – can have seri-
ous environmental impacts and return few
benets to local communities, with most
value captured offshore or by in-country
elites (Sandbrook and Adams, 2012).
To be effective, alternatives to trophy
hunting need to provide tangible and effec-
tive conservation incentives. They need
to make wildlife valuable to people over
the long term, and they should empower
local communities to exercise rights and
responsibilities over wildlife conserva-
tion and management. Various forms of
payment schemes for ecosystem services
(PES schemes) have considerable potential
for mobilizing investments or voluntary
contributions from governments, philan-
thropic sources and the private sector and
motivating the conservation of species and
habitats. An example – albeit limited by
the difculty of obtaining stable funding
– is the land-leasing scheme carried out
by Cottar’s Safari Service with Maasai
communities in Olderkesi, Kenya (IUCN
SULi et al., 2015). REDD+4 can provide
incentives and revenue ows to local com-
munities in some areas, although with
many caveats. PES schemes are difcult
options and risk donor dependency. A
crucial challenge is ensuring that revenue
ows are sustainable over the long term
and not contingent on highly changeable
donor priorities.
Despite the positive examples outlined
here, we are fully aware that, in many
countries, trophy-hunting governance and
management have many (typically undocu-
mented) weaknesses and failures, and
action by decision-makers to support effec-
tive reform should be strongly supported.
Import restrictions are often attractive
interventions for remote decision-makers
because they are easy to implement and
can be carried out at low cost to decision-
making bodies, which do not bear formal
accountability for the impacts of their deci-
sions in affected countries. Conservation
success, however, is rarely achieved by
single decisions in distant capitals; rather,
it typically requires long-term, sustained
multistakeholder engagement – in-country
and on the ground.
As an alternative to unilateral, blanket
restrictions or bans that would curtail
trophy-hunting programmes, decision-
makers could consider whether specic
trophy-hunting programmes meet require-
ments for best practice (IUCN SSC, 2012;
Brainerd, 2007). Where there are gover-
nance and management problems, it would
be most effective to engage with relevant
countries in addressing, for example,
transparency in funding ows, commu-
nity benets, the allocation of concessions
and quota setting; the rights and respon-
sibilities of indigenous peoples and local
communities; and the monitoring of popu-
lations and hunts. Hunting stakeholders
– importing countries, donors, national
regulators and managers, community
organizations, researchers, conservation
organizations, and the hunting industry
and hunter associations – have important
roles to play in improving standards.
In certain cases, conditional, time-
limited and targeted moratoria aimed
at addressing identied problems could
help improve trophy-hunting practices.
Bans, however, are unlikely to improve
conservation outcomes unless there is a
clear expectation that improved standards
will lead to the lifting of such bans and
the country has the capacity and political
will to address the problem. It is crucial,
at least in developing countries, therefore,
that moratoria are accompanied by funding
and technical support for on-the-ground
management improvements and by a plan
to review the status of the initial problem
after a specied period.
Trophy hunting is increasingly under
intense scrutiny and facing high-prole
and often-effective campaigns calling for
broad-scale bans. There are valid concerns
about the legality, sustainability and ethics
of some hunting practices, but calls for
bans or import restrictions risk “throw-
ing the baby out with the bathwater”,
undermining programmes that are having
substantive and important positive effects
on species recovery and protection, habitat
retention and management, and commu-
nity rights and livelihoods.
In some contexts, there may be valid and
feasible alternatives to trophy hunting that
can deliver the above-mentioned benets,
but identifying, funding and implementing
these requires genuine consultation and
engagement with affected governments,
the private sector and communities. Such
REDD+ is the term given to the efforts of coun-
tries to reduce emissions from deforestation
and forest degradation and foster conserva-
tion, sustainable management of forests, and
enhancement of forest carbon stocks (www.
Unasylva 249, Vol. 68, 2017/1
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vagaries of donor funding and, crucially,
they must deliver equal or greater incen-
tives for conservation over the long term.
If they do not, they could hasten rather
than reverse the decline of iconic wildlife,
remove the economic incentives for the
retention of vast areas of wildlife habitat,
and alienate and undermine already-
marginalized communities who live with
wildlife and who will largely determine
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... Therefore, trophy hunting can still be regarded as a conservation tool (Hurt and Ravn, 2000;Cooney et al., 2017). It is undeniably that trophy hunting provides an incentive for conservation if hunting operations are wellregulated (Lindsey et al., 2006). ...
... This might be true, mainly if trophy hunting is conducted in an uncontrolled manner. In our results, game species of higher trophy demand such as elephant and lions had higher rate of poaching; despite the high demand for such trophies IUCN considers trophy hunting to possess minor effects to their populations of animals in Africa (Cooney et al., 2017) Trophy hunting is either to directly finance antipoaching activities or reduce poverty and thus minimize human dependency on consuming wildlife (Makuyana, 2018). Waltert et al., 2009 study in Western Tanzania also found no evidence to justify that trophy hunting in Katavi_Rukwati National park and Game Reserve system accelerates species decline of hunted species. ...
... Such analyses are necessary ingredients in understanding whether CBC governing bodies have the tools at their disposal to bridge the gap between the costs of living with wildlife felt by farmers and the higher level at which benefits can accrue . Persistent imbalance in these costs, and between different levels of governance, may foster negative local attitudes toward elephants and in turn threaten support for elephant conservation (Biggs et al., 2017;Cooney et al., 2017;Dickman, 2010). ...
... If community members in Mashi continue to perceive or experience high costs from wildlife, hostility toward wildlife may arise, paving the way for retaliatory actions (Dickman, 2010). Hostility toward elephants due to conflict within conservancies in southern Africa could prove a major threat to global elephant conservation efforts (Biggs et al., 2017;Cooney et al., 2017). Addressing this cost of living with wildlife will require synergy across multiple levels of governance, and changes in the way CBC is managed at and between these different levels . ...
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The Kazavango‐Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area is home to the largest remaining elephant population in Africa but is also the site of high levels of human‐elephant conflict through crop depredation. Offsetting the costs of coexisting with elephants in this area is critical to incentivizing elephant conservation within community‐based conservation (CBC) areas, and trophy hunting has long been touted as a method for generating revenue for communities from wildlife. However, the idea that sustainable elephant hunting can offset the costs of crop depredation remains largely untested. We combined household survey data, financial records, and elephant population data to compare the potential benefits of sustainable hunting with the costs of crop depredation in a CBC area in northeastern Namibia. We determined that sustainable trophy hunting only returns ~30% of the value of crops lost to the community and cannot alone offset the current costs of coexistence with elephants. As core institutions supporting the practice of conservation, CBC efforts must promote community management capacity to combine multiple wildlife‐based income streams and build partnerships at multiple scales of governance to address the challenges of elephant management.
... Conservancies in Namibia's remaining communal areas play a large role in supporting Joint-Venture (JV) tourism and hunting enterprises linked with wildlife conservation (MET 1995. In turn, conservation in communalarea conservancies is primarily identified with conservancy employment (Snyman 2014 as well as tourism and trophy-hunting incomes (Thakadu et al. 2005, Spiteri & Nepal 2008, Naidoo et al. 2016, Cooney et al. 2017. These structural CBNRM interconnections mean that COVID-19 and its associated restrictions are precipitating a 'perfect storm' 3 of impacts deriving from these interconnections. ...
... Specifically, losses of tourism-related jobs and future opportunities in areas where tourism is one of few employers, may impact negatively on peoples' perceptions towards tourism and its links with conservation (Snyman 2014, Greenfield & Muiruri 2020. In addition, and international controversies notwithstanding (see summary in Koot et al. 2020), it has been shown elsewhere that if trophy-hunting (reframed in Namibia as 'conservation hunting' 4 ) and associated revenue becomes non-viable, then this might have negative effects on both income and (attitudes to) wildlife populations (Cooney et al. 2017, Mbaiwa 2017. This might especially be the case in Namibia where conservation hunting has been observed to contribute higher incomes to conservancies than tourism in some cases (Naidoo et al. 2016) 5 . ...
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We report on a rapid survey of five communal-area conservancies in Namibia to understand initial impacts on community-based conservation of national and international policies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Namibia’s Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programme has been growing for over 30 years, with high economic reliance on tourism and conservation hunting. We review the interrelationships between COVID-19, CBNRM, tourism and hunting, and discuss our findings under eight interlocking themes: 1) disruption to management and regular operational processes of conservancies, including 2) effects on conservancy wildlife patrolling and monitoring; 3) losses of revenue and cash flow in conservancy business operations; 4) impacts on Joint-Venture Partnerships; 5) impacts on employment opportunities and local livelihoods; 6) effects on community development projects and social benefits, including 7) disruption to funded projects and programmes; and 8) lack of technical capacity regarding communication technologies and equipment. In our conclusion we discuss tensions between an assumption that normal business can or will be resumed, and calls for the COVID-19 pandemic to create an opportunity for global choices away from ‘business-as-normal’. It is too early to tell what mix of these perspectives will unfold. What is clear is that communal-area conservancies must derive benefits from conservation activities in their areas that are commensurate with their role as key actors in the conservation of Namibia’s valuable wildlife and landscapes.
... Trophy hunting of wild animal species such as the savanna African elephant (Loxodonta africana), remains an important feature of public debate on consumptive wildlife use (Cooney et al., 2017;Parker et al., 2020). Advocates of trophy hunting argue that it provides incentives for both wildlife conservation and livelihoods (Dickman et al., 2018;LaRocco, 2020). ...
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This study assessed the influence of a 2014 United States of America (USA) imposed ban on the importation of elephant (Loxodonta africana) hunted trophies from Zimbabwe on the hunting patterns (i.e., elephant quota allocation, utilisation and hunter’s or client country of origin dynamics) in Matetsi Hunting Complex. The study was divided into two period, i.e., pre- ban (2008–2013) and post-ban (2014–2017). Study results showed that although the quota allocation did not vary significantly between the pre-ban and post-ban periods, there was however, a significant decline in quota utilisation in post-ban period compared to the pre-ban period. Accordingly, a significant decline in US hunters or clients was recorded post-ban period. It is concluded that trophy hunting and trade bans by some global north countries without an alternative global conservation framework that provides conservation incentives will likely reverse the gains in wildlife conservation and rural development in some global south countries where sustainable utilisation is an integral part of wildlife conservation practice.
... Still, all are important to consider because such differing views lead to policy decisions at multiple political levels (Batavia et al. 2019b). Further, some decisions have unintended consequences, among which are loss of funding to local communities, decreased anti-poaching efforts, or increased retaliatory killing to reduce crop damage or losses of livestock to predators (Weber et al. 2015, Cooney et al. 2017, Martin 2019. ...
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Reported effects of trophy harvest often are controversial. The subject is nuanced and many studies lack details necessary to place their results in context. Consequently, many studies are misunderstood or their conclusions misapplied. We propose that all dialogues about trophy hunting include a definition of how they use the term trophy, details of variables measured and why they were selected, and explanations of temporal and spatial scales employed. Only with these details can potential effects of trophy hunting be understood in context and used for management and policy decisions. © 2021 The Wildlife Society. Effects of trophy harvest often are controversial because many studies lack important details. Dialogues about trophy hunting must include a definition of how they use the term trophy, details of variables measured and why they were selected, and explanations of temporal and spatial scales employed so that potential effects of trophy hunting can be understood in context.
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Legal hunting of threatened species—and especially the recreational practice of “trophy hunting”—is controversial with ethical objections being increasingly voiced. Less public attention has been paid to how hunting (even of threatened species) can be useful as a conservation tool, and likely outcomes if this was stopped. As case studies, we examine the regulated legal hunting of two African rhino species in South Africa and Namibia over the last half‐century. Counter‐intuitively, removing a small number of specific males can enhance population demography and genetic diversity, encourage range expansion, and generate meaningful socioeconomic benefits to help fund effective conservation (facilitated by appropriate local institutional arrangements). Legal hunting of African rhinos has been sustainable, with very small proportions of populations hunted each year, and greater numbers of both species today in these countries than when controlled recreational hunting began. Terminating this management option and significant funding source could have negative consequences at a time when rhinos are being increasingly viewed as liabilities and revenue generation for wildlife areas is being significantly impacted by COVID‐19. Provided that there is appropriate governance, conservation of certain highly threatened species can be supported by cautiously selective and limited legal hunting.
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Globally, the role of trophy hunting in wildlife conservation has been a topic of much debate. While various studies have focused on the financial contribution of trophy hunting towards wildlife conservation, little is known about whether hunting activities can protect wildlife forage resources. We examined the effect of illegal livestock grazing on wildlife habitat in operational and non-operational wildlife hunting blocks in Moyowosi-Kigosi Game Reserves (MKGR), Tanzania. We assessed whether the physical presence of hunting activities lowered illegal grazing and, thus, led to higher vegetation quality. We compared 324 samples of above-ground biomass (AGB) and grass cover between control (0.0007 cattle ha−1), moderately (0.02 cattle ha−1), and intensively (0.05 to 0.1 cattle ha−1) grazed hunting blocks. Likewise, we assessed soil infiltration, soil penetration, soil organic carbon (SOC), and soil Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) across grazing intensity. Illegal grazing decreased AGB by 55%, grass cover by 36%, soil penetration by 46%, and infiltration rate by 63% compared to the control blocks. Illegal grazing further lowered SOC by 28% (F2,33 = 8, p < 0.002) but increased soil N by 50% (F2,33 = 32.2, p < 0.001) and soil K by 56% (H (2) = 23.9, p < 0.001), while soil P remained stable. We further examined if Hunting Company (HC) complements anti-poaching efforts in the Game Reserves (GR). We found that HC contributes an average of 347 worker-days−1 for patrol efforts, which is 49% more than the patrol efforts conducted by the GR. However, patrol success is higher for GR than HC (F1,21 = 116, p < 0.001), due to constant surveillance by HC, illegal herders avoided invading their hunting blocks. We conclude that illegal grazing severely reduced vegetation and soil quality in MKGR. We further claim that trophy hunting contributes directly to wildlife habitat preservation by deploying constant surveillance and preventing illegal grazing. We propose maintaining trophy hunting as an essential ecological tool in wildlife conservation.
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Sustainable wildlife management (SWM) is based on a synergy of traditional/local knowledge, advances in scientific knowledge, and fast-evolving economic and social circumstances. A widely accepted cornerstone of SWM globally is that conservation and utilization need to be effectively integrated, emphasizing the benefits humans can derive from biodiversity, thereby further encouraging people to protect and value wildlife though its management. However, with demand from biological resources growing at an unprecedented rate and the emergence of social media, conservationists must respond quickly to new challenges and conflicts associated with species management and public policy. For example, the rise of the “Compassionate Conservation” (CC) movement, fueled by social marketing and media, which promotes the welfare of individual animals, has introduced a set of challenges for conventional conservation management as it opposes most or all forms of wildlife utilization and hunting. CC advocates are increasingly influential at global and national policy levels; hence, it is imperative that conservationists are informed and aware of the future challenges from a rapidly changing global society. In this paper, we report the findings of a large semi-structured questionnaire in China which investigated the attitude of the urban public toward sustainable wildlife management (SWM) and wildlife conservation across a range of issues and identified the key socio-economic and demographic factor drivers for those attitudes. The survey was conducted from November 2018 to October 2020, across 15 cities randomly selected among China’s seven administrative geographic regions. The survey was initially conducted through face-to-face interviews, but later, due to COVID-19 restrictions, was completed via online questionnaires. A Likert seven-point scale method was used to score the public’s degree of agreement or disagreement for each question; a multivariate stepwise linear regression method was used to analyze whether the overall attitude of the respondents toward SWM and wildlife conservation was affected by their demographic characteristics; and a classification and regression tree (CART) was used to conduct an in-depth analysis of the issues with negative scores in the questionnaire, so as to understand how the respondents’ demographic characteristics affected the public’s attitude about such issues, which could supplement results obtained from the multivariate stepwise linear regression analysis. The results show that the public are broadly supportive of SWM, but only moderately so. On issues of “Animal Welfare and Rights,” “Wildlife Utilization and Captive Breeding,” and “Trophy Hunting”, the core concerns of the “Compassionate Conservation” movement and the overall public view are more antagonistic to conventional SWM. We also find specific demographic characteristics significantly influence attitudes about SWM, with vegetarians, those with religious beliefs, and with lower educational standards demonstrating weaker support for SWM. For younger people, “Animal Welfare and Rights” is a special concern, hence, we identify this as a key issue to be addressed for SWM and conservation in the future. Our research suggests that conservation organisations may need to adapt their management aims and practices to avoid direct conflict with the rising tide of animal rights sentiment, especially among the young. Furthermore, significant investment will be required to promote science-based conservation in social marketing on all social media platforms to help educate and engage the public with the science behind conservation management.
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The use of trophy hunting as a wildlife management option has been a highly controversial topic, especially in southern Africa, but trophy hunting has historically also taken place also throughout Asia. In China, trophy hunting was the topic of intense public discussion more than a decade ago, leading ultimately to the suspension of this practice in 2006. Yet, this debate was dominated by urban voices, with no formal consultation of rural populations from minorities such as the Tibetan herders who previously benefited financially from commercial trophy hunting acting as guides and who are also concerned about the negative impact of rising blue sheep numbers on livestock grazing. We used a discrete choice experiment econometric method to better understand the trade‐offs made by both urban and rural populations across China in relation trophy hunting as a rural development and wildlife management tool. We find that trophy hunting is supported by the majority of rural residents but opposed by most urban residents, although there is heterogeneity within both these groups. We recommend that policy‐making in this realm should be informed by a better understanding of the preferences of different stakeholders, including the local people who bear the costs of living with wildlife. Islands and coastal environments are increasingly threatened by multiple stressors including rising sea level, invasive species, and human development. By surveying rodents in the Lower Keys, FL, we show that endangered silver rice rats use the tidally inundated mangrove forests fringing these islands, whereas invasive black rats are more likely to occur in upland environments. As such, rising sea level may benefit this endangered species, but only if human development is limited.
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Wildlife conservation and management has become a very complex public policy issue in China as concerns over on animal welfare and empathy for animals have grown. Science-based conservation strategies that are oriented toward sustainable wildlife management (SWM) are under threat as these new attitudes and values emerge and take hold. This study accesses the attitudes of college students towards SWM and wildlife conservation, and investigates demographic characteristics influencing their attitudes in China, a country that is traditionally associated with consumptive use of wildlife and SWM, but where new ideas about wildlife conservation are emerging. From October 2018 to April 2019, nine universities (including "Double First-Class" universities, first-tier universities, second-tier universities), and four three-year colleges in China were selected as survey locations, and face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1991 students. A total of 1977 questionnaires were recovered, of which 1739 were valid, with a completion rate of 88%. A Likert seven-point scale method was used to score students' attitudes, and a classification and regression tree (CART) was used to analyze whether their attitudes were affected by their demographic characteristics. The results show that although students are broadly supportive of the theory of SWM, some are deeply antagonistic about on SWM on issues that arouse strong emotions such as "Animal Welfare and Rights" and "Trophy Hunting". Demographic characteristics of students affect their degree of support for the SWM with support for SWM lower among vegetarians, freshmen, and students who have taken environmental protection electives. This research suggests that the theory of SWM requires to be refreshed and adapted to appeal to the younger generation of Chinese students, with SWM principles integrated into the environmental education programs of universities and three-year colleges. More attention should also be attached to media publicity by the government about wildlife conservation so as to enhance awareness of the need for SWM.
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Tourism and hunting both generate significant revenues for communities and private operators in Africa, but few studies have quantitatively examined the tradeoffs and synergies that may result from these two activities. Here, we evaluate financial and in-kind benefit streams from tourism and hunting on 77 communal conservancies in Namibia from 1998 to 2013, where community-based wildlife conservation has been promoted as a land-use that complements traditional subsistence agriculture. Across all conservancies, total benefits from hunting and tourism have grown at roughly the same rate, although conservancies typically start generating benefits from hunting within 3 years of formation as opposed to after 6 years for tourism. Disaggregation of data reveals the main benefits from hunting are income for conservancy management and meat to the community at large, while the majority of tourism benefits are salaried jobs at lodges. A simulated ban on trophy hunting significantly reduced the number of conservancies that were able to cover their operating costs, whereas eliminating income from tourism did not have as severe an effect. Given that the benefits generated from hunting and tourism typically begin at different times (earlier versus later, respectively) and flow to different segments of local communities, these two activities together can provide the greatest incentives for conservation. Notably, a singular focus on either hunting or tourism would likely reduce the value of wildlife as a competitive land-use option, and have serious negative implications for the viability of community-based conservation efforts in Namibia, and possibly in other parts of Africa.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbi-vore species on Earth (body mass > – 100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic population declines and range contractions, such that ~60% are threatened with extinction. Nearly all threatened species are in developing countries, where major threats include hunting, land-use change, and resource depression by livestock. Loss of large herbivores can have cascading effects on other species including large carnivores, scavengers, mesoherbivores, small mammals, and ecological processes involving vegetation , hydrology, nutrient cycling, and fire regimes. The rate of large herbivore decline suggests that ever-larger swaths of the world will soon lack many of the vital ecological services these animals provide, resulting in enormous ecological and social costs.
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Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) were not known to live on Tiburón Island, the largest island in the Gulf of California and Mexico, prior to the surprisingly successful introduction of 20 individuals as a conservation measure in 1975. Today, a stable island population of ∼500 sheep supports limited big game hunting and restocking of depleted areas on the Mexican mainland. We discovered fossil dung morphologically similar to that of bighorn sheep in a dung mat deposit from Mojet Cave, in the mountains of Tiburón Island. To determine the origin of this cave deposit we compared pellet shape to fecal pellets of other large mammals, and extracted DNA to sequence mitochondrial DNA fragments at the 12S ribosomal RNA and control regions. The fossil dung was 14C-dated to 1476-1632 calendar years before present and was confirmed as bighorn sheep by morphological and ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis. 12S sequences closely or exactly matched known bighorn sheep sequences; control region sequences exactly matched a haplotype described in desert bighorn sheep populations in southwest Arizona and southern California and showed subtle differentiation from the extant Tiburón population. Native desert bighorn sheep previously colonized this land-bridge island, most likely during the Pleistocene, when lower sea levels connected Tiburón to the mainland. They were extirpated sometime in the last ∼1500 years, probably due to inherent dynamics of isolated populations, prolonged drought, and (or) human overkill. The reintroduced population is vulnerable to similar extinction risks. The discovery presented here refutes conventional wisdom that bighorn sheep are not native to Tiburón Island, and establishes its recent introduction as an example of unintentional rewilding, defined here as the introduction of a species without knowledge that it was once native and has since gone locally extinct.
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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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We here estimate the economic impact of hunting (both biltong and trophy) on South Africa's Northern Cape province economy. This study used the input-output (social accounting matrix) and multiplier analyses to evaluate the economic impact of hunting in the regional economy of the Northern Cape province. Data on biltong hunting were derived from a national survey conducted in 2007 and data on trophy hunting were derived from the Professional Hunting Association of South Africa (PHASA). The results indicated that the direct economic impact of hunting in the Northern Cape province economy, resulting from increased expenditure, exceeded R696.1 million for 2007. This direct impact resulted in a total economic impact in the order of R774.3 million, and consequently, in a multiplier effect of 1.11. With regard to employment, it was estimated that some 9072 jobs plus those of the employees directly involved might be dependent on hunting in the province, thereby supporting the notion that this is a viable and important sector of the tourism industry.
The hunter-conservationist movement of Canada and the USA arose in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. Many complex forces influenced its emergence as one of the great North American inventions: citizen activism for nature based principally upon sustainable use and vested interest – the North American Model of Conservation. Although unrestrained slaughter by commercial hunters had endangered North America’s wildlife legacy, regulated hunting became the origin of the world’s longest standing continental movement for wildlife protection, use and enhancement.
The objective of this study was to elicit community perceptions on the effectiveness of the CAMPFIRE programme, a community initiative, designed to benefit rural communities in Gonono ward in the Zambezi valley. Five villages and 76 respondents were selected from the ward using simple random sampling. Data collection included a structured questionnaire administered to households, semi-structured interviews with key informants, such as chiefs, headmen and local council staff, transect walks and participant observations. The results of the study revealed that, although the CAMPFIRE concept has been instrumental in creation of employment and infrastructure, the local community considers that no significant changes have occurred to their livelihoods. The findings suggest that the current model of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe is not promoting total community participation. Future models need to focus on total involvement and independence from government structures. However, this can only happen when there is sufficient capacity building in communities on a wide number of issues, including general management, to ensure long-term sustainability.