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Local opinions on trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan

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  • University of Southeast Norway
  • Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University

Abstract and Figures

As traditional international trophy hunting destinations are becoming less accessible due to hunting restrictions and regulations, new destinations are entering the scene, such as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, located in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan has grown to be one of the top destinations for international trophy hunting of argali Ovis ammon and ibex Capra sibirica, both of which are in danger of extinction. Empirically, the article draws on a case study from the largest region in Kyrgyzstan, At-Bashy, and 395 questionnaires with local inhabitants from 5 villages, and 1 interview with an international trophy hunting tour operator. In this article, the impacts of trophy hunting as a tourism practice in a rural context is discussed in terms of its sustainability and through the opinions of the local inhabitants. In sum, the negative impacts of trophy hunting in At-Bashy seem to overrule the positive ones, and in its current form it is not sustainable. The local inhabitants report about a decrease in argali and ibex during the last years; they receive basically no economic benefits from hunting tourism; and not surprisingly, 70% of the population rejects the further development of the industry in its current shape.
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Local opinions on trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan
Ingeborg Nordbø, Bakyt Turdumambetov & Bilgehan Gulcan
To cite this article: Ingeborg Nordbø, Bakyt Turdumambetov & Bilgehan Gulcan (2017):
Local opinions on trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI:
10.1080/09669582.2017.1319843
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1319843
Published online: 30 May 2017.
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Local opinions on trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan
Ingeborg Nordbø
a
, Bakyt Turdumambetov
b
and Bilgehan Gulcan
c
a
Department of Business and IT, University College of Southeast Norway, Hallvard Eikas Plass, Telemark, Norway;
b
Department of Travel Management and Tourism Guidance, Kyrgyz Turkish Manas University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan;
c
Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Tourism, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 7 January 2016
Accepted 11 April 2017
ABSTRACT
As traditional international trophy hunting destinations are becoming less
accessible due to hunting restrictions and regulations, new destinations
are entering the scene, such as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, located in
Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan has grown to be one of the top destinations for
international trophy hunting of argali Ovis ammon and ibex Capra sibirica,
both of which are in danger of extinction. Empirically, the article draws on
a case study from the largest region in Kyrgyzstan, At-Bashy, and 395
questionnaires with local inhabitants from 5 villages, and 1 interview with
an international trophy hunting tour operator. In this article, the impacts
of trophy hunting as a tourism practice in a rural context is discussed in
terms of its sustainability and through the opinions of the local
inhabitants. In sum, the negative impacts of trophy hunting in At-Bashy
seem to overrule the positive ones, and in its current form it is not
sustainable. The local inhabitants report about a decrease in argali and
ibex during the last years; they receive basically no economic benets
from hunting tourism; and not surprisingly, 70% of the population rejects
the further development of the industry in its current shape.
KEYWORDS
Trophy hunting; rural
tourism; Kyrgyzstan;
sustainability; local opinions
Introduction
As a number of the more traditional trophy hunting destinations are becoming less accessible due to
factors such as hunting restrictions, loss of wildlife and political instability, other destinations are
experiencing expansion (Lindsey, Roulet, & Roma~
nach, 2007) and new destinations are emerging.
One of the newer destinations is the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, located in Central Asia. In the post-Soviet
time, Kyrgyzstan has grown to be one of the top destinations for trophy hunting of argali Ovis
ammon (Marco Polo) and ibex Capra sibirica (Koshkarev, 2002; Kronenberg, 2014; Mallon, 2013;
Turdumambetov, 2011).
The reports of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) reveal that Russia and several Central Asian countries are popular destinations for
American and European hunters seeking trophies of various species (Mallon, 2013; Parry-Jones, 2013;
Vaisman, Mundy-Taylor, & Kecse-Nagy, 2013). Argali and ibex rams are popular among trophy hunters
due to their impressive and distinctive horns.
Argali is listed in the Red book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) in the category of nearly threatened(IUCN, 2016) as well as in the Red book of Kyr-
gyzstan (State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry, 2006, p. 517). As such, argali hunting
in Kyrgyzstan should be forbidden. Despite this, Kyrgyzstan, as a trophy hunting destination, is
CONTACT Ingeborg Nordbø ingeborg.m.nordbo@usn.no
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1319843
experiencing growing demand and increased hunting due to the easy access to hunting permits as a
result of corruption (Koshkarev, 2002) and the relative cheapness of the destination (Turdumambe-
tov, 2011).
A number of researchers argue that trophy hunting is to be understood as a tourist activity (Baker,
1997b; Leader-Williams, Kayera, & Overton, 1996; MacKay & Campbell, 2004; Novelli & Humavindu,
2005). Higginbottom (2004) argues that trophy hunting is a form of hunting tourism, which in turn is
one of the four main forms of wildlife tourism. According to the IUCN, trophy hunting has the follow-
ing four features (IUCN, 2012, p. 2):
(1) it is part of a system of measures (programmes) implemented under the control of a govern-
mental body, local community, non-governmental organization or other legal structure;
(2) it is performed by hunters who pay a high price for the right to hunt for a representative of the
animal with trophy features;
(3) it is characterized by small seizures;
(4) usually, but not necessarily, it is performed by hunters from other places.
In this article, trophy hunting is understood as a paid service provided to tourists whose main
travel motive is to hunt animals with outstanding features. Outstanding features, or trophies, can be
game animals themselves as well as their derivatives, such as horns, skulls, hides, canines and others.
Through a case study of the At-Bashy region in Kyrgyzstan, the impacts of trophy hunting as a
tourism practice are discussed in terms of sustainability and through the opinions of the local inhabi-
tants. At-Bashy is the largest region in Kyrgyzstan and has the longest borderline with China; for his-
torical reasons it is the area in Kyrgyzstan where most trophy hunting takes place. The urgency to
conduct research in this geographical area is mentioned in the work by Heinen, Shukurov, and Sady-
kova (2001). In general in Central Asia and in particular in Kyrgyzstan, there are no research works on
the sociocultural aspects of the sustainability of hunting tourism or even on the sustainability of tour-
ism development as such (Lu & Nepal, 2009). The research undertaken will thus add to the existing
research on the sustainability of tourism both through its use of data from an under-researched geo-
graphical area and through its holistic approach to the study of impacts, focusing not only on the
environmental or economic aspects of trophy hunting but also on the sociocultural ones.
Trophy hunting
To identify possible points of reference for the empirical part of our research and identify research
gaps related to trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan, a review of the relevant literature on wildlife and hunt-
ing tourism was undertaken (see Table 1).
The review shows that trophy hunting is a contested and sensitive issue with a number of nega-
tive impacts reported in the international literature. Only a small part of the money from trophy hunt-
ing actually goes to local communities (Delibes-Mateos et al., 2014; Economists at Large, 2013;
International Fund for Animal Welfare [IFAW], 2016; Leader-Williams et al., 1996; Lindsey, Havemann
et al., 2013; Lindsey et al., 2007; Lovelock, 2008; Stein, Fuller, Damery, Sievert, & Marker, 2010;
Turdumambetov, 2011). The targets are large, majestic alpha males in their prime, a counter-
evolutionary tactic that exacerbates populations (Caro, Young, Cauldwell, & Brown, 2009; IUCN, 2016;
Koshkarev, 2002; Lewis & Alpert, 1997; Shukurov, 2013); many trophy animals are threatened and
dwindling. Studies show that hunting leads to steep population declines (Bashqawi, 2014; Deere,
2011; Dowsley, 2009; Gressier, 2014; Harris & Pletscher, 2002; Heffelnger, Geist, & Wishart, 2013; Hei-
nen et al., 2001; Knezevic, 2009; Koshkarev, 2002; Leader-Williams et al., 2005; Lindsey, Balme et al.,
2013; Mahoney & Jackson, 2013; Marchand et al., 2014; Maroney, 2005; McGranahan, 2011; Naevdal,
Olaussen, & Skonhoft, 2012; Singh & Milner-Gulland, 2011). Trophy hunting also sets a bad precedent:
often only rich foreigners can hunt in places like Central Asia and Africa, making trophy hunting
appear reminiscent of colonialism; it is motivated by conspicuous consumption and dominance,
2I. NORDB;ET AL.
reducing beauty to possession (League against Cruel Sports, 2004). Poachers have been known to
exploit trophy hunting loopholes to launder illegal wildlife products en route to the black market
and so on (Braden, 2014; IFAW, 2016; Koshkarev, 2002; Leader-Williams et al., 2005; Lewis & Alpert,
1997; Lindsey, Balme et al., 2013). Additionally, many people simply consider that it is unethical to kill
an animal just for fun (Cohen, 2014; Hofer, 2002; IFAW, 2016; Matilainen & Keskinarkaus, 2010; Reis,
2009).
The literature also highlights that there is a need for further studies of the institutional dimension
of trophy hunting (Puhakka, Cottrell, & Siikam
aki, 2014), with an emphasis on the perception of the
providers of trophy hunting services, governmental ofcials, and the transition to eco- and cultural
tourism in the destination (Lemelin, Johnston, Dawson, Stewart, & Mattina, 2012).
Identied research topics and gaps
In the international literature, the environmental aspects of trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan are to be
found in the works by Heinen et al. (2001), Koshkarov (2002) and Werner (2003). The environmental
Table 1. Selected literature on trophy hunting tourism.
Characteristic Source Study regions
Ecological dimension Baker (1997a);
Bashqawi (2014);
Caro et al. (2009);
Deere (2011);
Dowsley (2009);
Gressier (2014);
Harris and Pletscher (2002);
Heffelnger et al. (2013);
Heinen et al. (2001);
Knezevic (2009);
Koshkarev (2002);
Leader-Williams et al. (2005);
Lindsey et al. (2013a);
Mahoney and Jackson (2013);
Marchand et al. (2014);
Maroney (2005);
McGranahan (2011);
Naevdal et al. (2012);
Reis (2009);
Singh and Milner-Gulland (2011)
Southern and Eastern Africa
Namibia
Tanzania
South Africa
Canada
Botswana
Western China
North America (Canada, USA)
Kyrgyzstan
North America (Canada)
Kyrgyzstan
South Africa and Namibia
African Savannas
North America (Canada, USA)
France
Mongolia
Namibia
Scandinavia (Norway)
New Zealand
Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia)
Economic dimension Baker (1997b);
Delibes-Mateos et al. (2014);
Economists at Large (2013);
Kronenberg (2014);
Leader-Williams et al. (1996);
League against Cruel Sports (2004);
Lemelin et al. (2012);
Lindsey et al. (2007);
Lindsey et al. (2013b);
Lovelock (2008);
Stein et al. (2010);
Turdumambetov (2011)
Eastern and Southern Africa
Spain
Southern and Eastern Africa
Kyrgyzstan
Tanzania
South and sub-Saharan Africa
Canada
Sub-Saharan Africa
Namibia
Europe, North America, Africa, India, Arabia, and Oceania
Namibia
Kyrgyzstan
Sociocultural dimension Braden (2014);
Cohen (2014);
MacKay and Campbell (2004);
Matilainen and Keskinarkaus (2010);
Nyga
rd and Uthardt (2011);
Puhakka et al. (2009);
Puhakka et al. (2014);
Radder (2005);
Yasuda (2012)
Russia
Not specied
Canada
Iceland, Finland, Scotland, and Sweden
Finland
Finland
Finland
South Africa
Cameroon
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 3
aspects are also discussed in three reports by the Secretariat of the CITES (Mallon, 2013; Parry-Jones,
2013; Vaisman et al., 2013) and in several small analytical works by Shukurov (2012,2013,2015a,
2015b) and Turdumambetov (2011). The main conclusion from the CITES reports is that, when it is
well managed, trophy hunting can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and local livelihoods
in Kyrgyzstan (Mallon, 2013; Parry-Jones, 2013; Vaisman et al., 2013) but that, in its present state,
the industry is not sustainable. Koshkarev (2002) presents quite a detailed analysis of trophy
hunting for the argali in Kyrgyzstan from 1990 to 2000, the main conclusion of which is: In 10 years,
i.e. 19902000, the relative number of adult males decreased 35-fold, trophy ones 1218-fold. Today
the hunting economies face an acute shortage of currency goodsas there are almost no elite males
(p. 30, own translation). Furthermore, with respect to the statistics, Shukurov (2012) notes that the
number of the main object of currency hunting’–argali (Marco Polo sheep) dropped 4 times from
15 thousand in 1995 to less than 4 thousand in 2009. In 2009, the number of ibex dropped from 66
thousand to 31 thousand 2 times(p. 1, own translation). Therefore, some authors suggest either
imposing a moratorium on hunting (Shukurov, 2015a) or using the argali and ibex in segments of
ecotourism such as photo hunting and video hunting (Turdumambetov, 2011).
Although the trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan has become exceptional in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, as
formerly argued, no ofcial data on the revenues from the industry exist. According to the estima-
tions of Turdumambetov (2011), the annual government revenue from trophy hunting only on Argali
ranges from 900,000 to 1,500,000 USD.
1
In a more recent work, Kronenberg (2014) estimates the gov-
ernment revenue from trophy hunting of Argali to be 1,660,000 USD. No statistics are available
regarding the ibex. In terms of the economic benets for the local population in Kyrgyzstan, the
experts from CITES conclude in their reports that most of the existing operations are commercially
based, especially in regard to Argali, and relatively few benets reach local communities(Mallon,
2013, p. 29). The Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on hunting and hunting economy (2014) states that the
local authorities should receive 25% of the income from hunting, but nothing is mentioned about
payback to the local residents inhabiting the hunting grounds.
The literature review showed that only four articles touch upon aspects of trophy hunting in Kyr-
gyzstan and only with reference to ecological and economic impacts, while no studies examine
aspects related to social responsibility or host communities. The effects of trophy hunting on local
communities and sociocultural aspects have, in general, received little attention from the research
community (Liu, 2003; Magis, 2010; Matilainen & Keskinarkaus, 2010; Nyga
rd & Uthardt, 2011). In
terms of hunting tourism, it must be noted that social sustainability, in all of its meanings, is most
likely to be one of the most critical and complex issues to handle. A key question is sustainability for
whom?Different social actors have their own values and goals, which might not be compatible with
the objectives of another group (Matilainen & Keskinarkaus, 2010, p. 53).
For any form of tourism to be sustainable, the UNEP and UNWTO (2005) argue that it must take full
account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts and that it must
address not only the needs of the environment, the visitors, and the industry but also the needs of
the host communities. In line with this, McKenzie (2004) highlights that any form of wildlife tourism
must be not only economically sound and environmentally safe but also socially responsible. Accord-
ing to Keskinarkaus and Matilainen (2010, p. 5), social sustainability refers to a development that rein-
forces individualscontrol of their own lives and the results of a socially sustainable development are
distributed equitably. For the latter to occur, the local inhabitants should at least be in favour of the
hunting. Second, it also means ensuring that at least some of the prots from the exploitation benet
the local residents (Baker, 1997a; Harris & Pletscher, 2002; Hofer, 2002; Lewis & Alpert, 1997; Puhakka,
Sarkki, Cottrell, & Siikamaki, 2009; Shackleton, 1997). Ideally, money generated from license fees
should be given directly to local communities to pay for local salaries and monitoring, research and
management of the target populations (Lewis & Alpert, 1997; Shackleton, 1997).
Some researchers prefer to use the term sociocultural dimension(or socialcultural dimension)
instead of social sustainability (Nyga
rd & Uthardt, 2011; Puhakka et al., 2009,2014), the
socialcultural dimension being considered to refer to human capital and quality of life(Puhakka
4I. NORDB;ET AL.
et al., 2014, p. 482). Nyga
rd and Uthardt (2011) build on the work of Puhakka et al. (2009), in which
the social sustainability of nature-based tourism can be analysed from three perspectives: participa-
tion, distribution, and cultural sustainability. Their work (as presented in Table 2) was used as a point
of reference in the study undertaken of the sociocultural aspects of trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan.
Trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan
Until 1989 there was no trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan, especially not on the border with China, where
the Soviet Union (Kyrgyzstan) and China had disputed areas. The giant borderland, which is 1300 km
long, 50100 km wide, and approximately 100,000 km
2
, was heavily protected throughout the
70 years of Soviet rule. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, at least 70% of argali, ibex, snow
leopards (Uncia uncial) and other species were concentrated on the borderland (Koshkarev, 2002).
Due to its disputed areastatus, even communist party bosses were not allowed to hunt there. As a
result, the nature remained pristine and the habitat and breeding conditions of the mentioned spe-
cies were good. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan became increasingly
popular as a trophy hunting destination, as shown in Figure 1, which presents the increasing demand
for argali in Kyrgyzstan between 1999 and 2014.
In Kyrgyzstan, all the hunting ground (including all the highlands inhabited by trophy animals)
belongs to the Government, and, according to Article 11 of the recent Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on
Table 2. Possible opportunities and threats to the social sustainability of hunting tourism (Nyga
rd & Uthardt, 2011, p. 387).
Dimensions of social sustainability
Participation Distribution Cultural sustainability
Opportunity Equal and democratic empowerment
of local communities and
stakeholders
Equitable distribution of benets
and burdens from tourism
Local stimulation through greater
exchange of persons, ideas, and
experiences
Threat Exclusion or reducing certain
stakeholders to submission
Unequal or unfair distribution of
benets and burdens from
tourism
Cultural clashes or violations of local
traditions, values, or practices
2
4
6
8
1
0
1
2
Number of specimens
0
2
0
4
0
6
0
8
0
00
2
0
1999 20
Sour
c
* On
0
020012002
c
e:
CITES (20
1
Ibex no data
2003 2004 2
0
1
6).
0
05 2006 200
exist, except
7 2008 2009
for 2014 (wh
2010 2011 2
0
en, according
0
12 2013 201
4
to official
sourcces, 346
4
specimen were hunted).
Figure 1. International demand for argali trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan (19992014).
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 5
hunting and hunting economy, the right to conduct hunting is provided to legal entities (companies)
for a period of 15 years. The grounds to organize hunting cover almost 70% of the territory of Kyrgyz-
stan (Natural Resources Department, 2016b), while in contrast the entire network of specially pro-
tected natural territories occupies only 6% (World Bank, 2016). The trophy hunting tour operators
(mostly from the capital region) organize travel to different parts of the country, although the areas
alongside the Chinese border are the most frequented. They also often cooperate with inbound tro-
phy hunting operators from other countries. The Kyrgyz Government also gives hunting permits to
local inhabitants, and the numbers of local hunters have doubled on a national basis during the last
10 years. In At-Bashy, where our study was conducted, only ve local inhabitants hold the right to
hunt (Natural Resources Department, 2016a). They are not, however, part of the trophy hunting
industry, since the purpose of their hunting is not trophies but meat for their livelihood and unlike
the trophy hunters, they do not participate in organized tours.
Study area
The At-Bashy region is situated in south eastern Kyrgyzstan (Figure 2) and is a distinct and sparsely
populated rural area. Its territory is surrounded by mountain ranges. The difference in absolute values
in the height of the mountains varies from 3000 to 5982 m; in the studied valley, the range varies
from 2000 to 3800 m.
In 2009, the district had a population of 49,238 (National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz
Republic (NSC), 2010). The population density is 2.6 people per square kilometre, the area encom-
passes 19,000 sq. km, and there are 19 villages in the district. At-Bashy is the most sparsely populated,
poorest, and one of a few mono-ethnic districts in the country (NSC, 2010). The undertaken study
shows that more than one-third of the people who answered the question on their annual income
reported it to be under 1000 USD (32.2% could not give an exact answer regarding their income).
The primary economic activity in the area is livestock and farming through self-sufcient households
and a semi-nomadic way of life, in which almost all households are engaged in the seasonal move-
ment of their livestock between xed alpine summer pastures and winter pastures in the valleys and
lowlands. The moving starts in the spring and usually nishes at the end of the autumn.
Figure 2. Location of the At-Bashy region in Kyrgyzstan.
6I. NORDB;ET AL.
Of the total employed population in the At-Bashy district, 75% are employed in agriculture, 8% in
the eld of school education, 3.5% in the health sector (rural hospitals and clinics), 3% in state admin-
istration and 2.9% in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses (trade, repair of motor
vehicles, household appliances and others). The unemployment rate is 6.8% (NSC, 2010, p. 147, 158).
The poverty rate was 43.8% in 2013 (of the total population), that is, people who earn less than
27,768.5 KGS per year (576 USD, according to the average exchange rate for 2013). The average per
capita income in 2013 amounted to 36,845.5 KGS, which is equal to 764 USD (NSC, 2014, p. 90).
Methodology
The empirical part of the article consists of 395 questionnaires gathered from the local inhabitants of
the At-Bashy district in March 2014 and 1 interview with a trophy hunting tour operator conducted
in June 2013. Regarding the survey of the local inhabitants, it was necessary to have a sample of at
least 381 people according to the Krejcie and Morgan table (Krejcie & Morgan, 1970), because the
total population of the study area is about 50,000. In total, 400 questionnaires were prepared with 19
questions and 7 independent variables: gender, age, number of children, education, work, annual
income and income from hunting. Of the questions, 17 contained closed alternatives and an open
space for further comments and 2 were open questions, that is, without predened choices. A trial
was conducted from 29 January to 1 February 2014, during which 25 questionnaires were distributed
to 3 villages: Acha-Kaiyndy, At-Bashy and Kara-Suu. Subsequently, 23 questionnaires were returned
(2 people could not return them in time). This test then allowed us to optimize the questionnaire.
After the optimization of the questionnaire, at the end of March 2014, we travelled to the study
area with 400 questionnaires (each consisting of 6 A4 pages) and 400 pens as motivation presents
for the respondents (Ahlheim, B
orger, & Fr
or, 2013). Our very small incentive in the form of a pen
helped considerably in eliciting sincere and reliable answers. To understand how a pen really can be
appreciated that much, it is necessary to recognize the local area and the degree of poverty that
exists there. As formerly argued, At-Bashy is the poorest region in Kyrgyzstan, and Kyrgyzstan is itself
a poor country. Furthermore, our interviewers said that a small gift like a pen was important in
obtaining sincere and precise answers. This can be explained by the following factors: a pen is still
the most widely used instrument among the educated people in rural areas like At-Bashy, where
there is a serious lack of computers, so educated people and ofce workers were glad to receive a
pen. As for respondents with no higher education degree who work mainly on farms, the Central
Asian mentality dictates that attention is more important than the gift itself. In rural areas, which are
mainly poor, even such a small incentive as a pen might play an important part in acquiring genuine
answers. School students in poor countries still mainly use pens instead of modern gadgets or com-
puters; thus, it is a small but pleasant bonus to the family budget. The pens were quite big, and they
carried the logo of one of the most popular universities in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, Manas Univer-
sity. Perhaps this helped in persuading the respondents that the interview was important.
To be able to conduct the study within the given time frame, we recruited seven local residents
(four of whom were school teachers with higher education and three of whom had experience of
interviewing gained through work with international health and agriculture organizations). They all
received special 3-hour-long training on interviewing for the study and helped in handing out and
gathering the questionnaires in the villages and in clearing up any ambiguities. The questionnaires
were anonymous, a point that was highlighted in the training of the interviewers. Thanks to the
prompt and diligent work of the interviewers, 395 or 98.75% of the questionnaires were returned. In
total, 32.9% of the respondents have a yearly family income under 1000 USD, 30.4% from 1000 to
3500 USD and only 4.6% above 3500 USD. A total of 32.2% of the respondents did not know their
annual income, which might be related to several factors: rst, the question was an open-ended one
in which they were asked to give an approximately exact number; second, a number of the local
inhabitants practice self-sufciency and do not have a yearly or monthly salary as a reference base;
third, not all students and women had information about the earnings of their families (husbands);
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 7
and, nally, generally people in Central Asia do not like to share information about their earnings. The
respondentsaverage age is 41.3, with a median of 42, and the standard deviation of their age is
23.1 years. Regarding gender, 50.4% of the respondents are men and 49.6% are women. In general,
the study shows that among the respondents the women have the highest education (among the
males 15.7% have no school education beyond secondary school, while for women the number is
7.4%).
Given the rather low income of the majority of the respondents (32.9% are within the extreme
poverty group according to the measurement by the UN), it might seem odd that so many of the
respondents have a university education. This factor has to be understood within the wider socio-his-
toric context of the country: rst of all the legacy from Soviet Union times when education was free
and when several of the jobs in rural areas would require a university degree; furthermore, during
Soviet rule a degree was a determinant of success, and because of that education is still highly valued
and quite affordable in Kyrgyzstan. In the understanding of Kyrgyz people, a person might need
some sort of title or degree regardless of whether they use it in their daily lives. For many people,
lacking a higher education is considered as a disadvantage. Thus, whenever a young man or a girl
graduates from a high school, he or she applies to the university, sometimes even without taking
care of future employment prospects and choosing degrees that will never be used. Second, many
women have a degree in pedagogy, because teaching is the most widespread job among women in
rural areas.
The frequency analysis technique and cross-tabulations with x
2
test analyses were performed with
the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS Statistics), Version 20.
Findings
Hunting bases and numbers of game animals: controversies and disputes
Due to the way in which trophy hunting is organized in Kyrgyzstan (as formerly argued), information
from the interview with the trophy hunting tour operator and personal knowledge about the At-
Bashy region (one of the researchers was born in the region), it was assumed that most of the local
inhabitants would not know that they lived in an international trophy hunting destination. However,
concerning the question of whether they think that At-Bashy is well known for receiving international
trophy hunters, more than 62% of the respondents agree and only 12% disagree. A question was also
included regarding whether the respondents know about any hunting bases, infrastructure for tro-
phy hunting, in the nearby areas. The results show that only 22.5% of the respondents know about
such infrastructure. This nding is a little surprising given the fact that researchers report an increas-
ing number of such installations to cater for the growing demand from trophy hunters. Turdumam-
betov (2011) argues that at least 20 such hunting bases exist in the At-Bashy region and maybe as
many as 40. Kronenberg (2014, p. 258) argues that the actual number might even be 80. If we com-
pare those who think that At-Bashy receives international trophy hunters with those who are also
aware of the existing hunting infrastructure, we see that the percentage rises slightly (to 30.2%). Among
those who do not know that their region is famous for receiving international trophy hunters, 14.2% still
know about the existing hunting infrastructure. The study thus shows that the local inhabitants think
that the region of At-Bashy is well known for receiving international trophy hunters; however, rather few
of the respondents know about any specic hunting bases installed in the nearby mountains.
The fact that so few of the local inhabitants know about any hunting bases might indicate that the
trophy hunting industry in Kyrgyzstan is rather closed and distant from the everyday life of the local
inhabitants in terms of involvement and information. The group of people who are most informed
are the farmers, who, due to their semi-nomadic lifestyle, are more able to observe such installations
near their summer pastures.
The respondents were asked whether they had observed any signicant decrease in the numbers
of argali or ibex during the last years and whether they had witnessed it on their own or more
8I. NORDB;ET AL.
indirectly through the talk of others (elderly people in their village, grandparents, neighbours, etc.).
As shown in Table 3 more than 85% of the respondents, 337 people, had noticed a signicant
decrease, and of these 34% reported that they had witnessed the decrease directly themselves, while
66% had noticed it indirectly. The decreasing population issue was studied more thoroughly using
the cross-tabulations with the x
2
test.
The effect of age, number of children, job and annual income is not signicant, while gender and
education correlate strongly with the opinion of a decreasing population of animals. The correlation
with gender is very strong (p<0.000), and in this respect it is interesting to note that, while 65.3% of
females have heard about the decline in populations through others and only 20.4% have observed
it themselves, the percentages among the men are quite different: 37.7% of males had observed the
decline themselves, while 40.7% had heard about it from others. The respondents who reported hav-
ing earnings from hunting, though there were only four of them, conrmed that the number of argali
and ibex has decreased. As regards education, which is also quite strongly related, the respondents
with higher education and students are clearly more concerned about the decreasing population of
animals, though most of them had noticed a decrease indirectly, via information from others.
ThepeopleofAt-Bashyhaveforcenturieslivedasemi-nomadic lifestyle, spending several months
of the year in the habitat of the argali and ibex and thus having close visual contact with these animals.
Hence, the local inhabitants reporting signicant decreases in the population of argali and ibex, either
through their own observation or as heard through others (elderly people of the area, farmers, etc.) is
an important nding. The issue of the decreasing population of argali and ibex is, however, a disputed
one. Although a number of researchers, in line with the observations from the local population, report
a sharp decline in the numbers (Koshkarev, 2002; Shukurov, 2015a), governmental sources, such as the
Kyrgyz State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry, claim that the situation is stable or that
there has even been an increase. For instance, according to the ofcial government sources, the num-
ber of argali increased from 4700 to 10,375 between 2008 and 2013 and the number of ibex from
34,778 to 40,825 (NSC, 2013, p. 33). Shukurov (2015a)argues,according to messages from different
places the numbers of argali and ibex have shrunk and in some areas they have disappeared. Never-
theless, the state agency continues to report the growth of their populations, even if tiny, but growth!
(own translation). The respondents with higher education in our study (among them a number of
school teachers) and students are the ones who are most concerned about the decreasing population
of the argali and ibex. It is assumed that this is likely to be related to them having more information
about environmental problems and a broader outlook in general. Over time their attention towards
the issue will grow, and they will pressure the authorities to respond.
Table 3. Residentsopinions on the reduction in the number of argali and ibex (%).
NR
Yes, I have observed
it myself
Yes, I have heard of
it from other people No
Gender (x
2
= 15.906, df =2,p<0.000)
Male 199 37.7 47.2 15.1
Female 196 20.4 65.3 14.3
Education (x
2
= 15.531, df =8,p<0.050)
University 184 26.6 59.8 13.6
Technical school 93 21.5 62.4 16.1
High school 25 32.0 64.0 4.0
School 91 40.7 40.7 18.7
Other 2 50.0 50.0
Income from trophy hunting (x
2
= 9.318, df =4,p<0.054)
Yes 4 50.0 50.0
No 364 29.1 57.4 13.5
I dont know 27 25.9 40.7 33.3
Question: Have you observed any reduction in the number of argali and/or ibex during the last years?
Note. Nis the number of respondents in each row category. The attitudinal distribution is displayed as percentages within each
row. Only signicant (at least on the 0.50 level) relationships are reported.
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 9
External tour operators and economic leakage
Only 14% of the respondents think that the regional authorities have any income from trophy hunt-
ing, but 46% of these respondents think that the income is considerable. The cross-tabulations of the
x
2
test show that occupation is signicantly (p<0.017) related to the respondentsview on this ques-
tion. Among the respondents working in the regional authorities, 46% think that the regional author-
ities receive an income from trophy hunting. This is quite a high percentage compared with the
other occupations (among the respondents working in the police, for instance, the percentage is
only 15.1%).
When we consider whether the respondents think that their village or community has any income
from trophy hunting, 56.5% do not think so, 9.9% think that it has, and the rest do not know. Perform-
ing the cross-tabulations with the x
2
test, we nd that gender and occupation are strongly related to
the opinion of the respondents (Table 4).
Three times more females than males do not think that their community or village obtain any eco-
nomic benets from trophy hunting. Those who work in the private sector (66.1%) or in a govern-
mental agency (66%), followed by retired people (65%) and people in the police (65%), are the most
reluctant to think that their village or community has any income from hunting tourism. The ones
who are more likely to think that the community receives an income are the farmers (20%) and the
entrepreneurs (18%). The effects of age, education level and income from hunting tourism are insig-
nicant. The respondents were also asked whether anyone from their community or village worked
in trophy hunting, and 31.6% of the respondents conrmed this, 37.3% answered negatively and
31.1% did not know.
Economically, trophy hunting is apparently not a lucrative business for At-Bashy and its inhabi-
tants. Only four people reported having any income from trophy hunting, and the respondents who
think that the regional authorities or their local community or village gain anything from the activity
are generally few. In terms of income for the regional authorities, it is interesting to note that almost
50% of the people working there believe that trophy hunting contributes to the budget income of
their work institution. Nevertheless, most of the revenue from trophy hunting is part of the shadow
economy of Kyrgyzstan, and most of the prots are gained by the tour operators and a few local or
regional ofcials related to these companies. Thus, the benets for local communities are
inconsequential.
In relation to the question about hunting bases, we also included a question about whether the
local inhabitants know about any tour operators that organize hunting tours for foreign people. The
fact that we focused on foreign peoplewas due to our former knowledge and the information that
Table 4. Residentsopinions on whether the community/village has any income from trophy hunting (%).
NR Yes No Dont know
Gender (x
2
= 13.432, df =2,p<0.001)
Male 199 14.6 57.8 27.6
Female 196 5.1 55.1 39.8
Occupation (x
2
= 38.700, df = 18, p<0.003)
Police 31 64.5 35.5
Farmer 63 20.6 60.3 19.0
Student 30 13.3 53.3 33.3
Private sector 56 3.6 66.1 30.4
Public sector/state administration 47 6.4 66.0 27.7
Entrepreneur 11 18.2 54.5 27.3
School teacher 66 7.6 51.5 40.9
Unemployed or housewife 45 11.1 31.1 57.8
Retired 23 4.3 65.2 30.4
Unknown 23 17.4 52.2 30.4
Question: To your knowledge, does your village or community receive any income from trophy hunting?
Note. Nis the number of respondents in each row category. The attitudinal distribution is displayed as percentages within each
row. Only signicant (at least on the 0.50 level) relationships are reported.
10 I. NORDB;ET AL.
we had obtained from the interview with the tour operator in Bishkek. Surprisingly enough, 72
(18.2%) of the respondents answered positively.
The cross-tabulations with the x
2
test show that again there is a strong connection between the
gender (p<0.002) and occupation (p<0.001) and the knowledge of the local population about the
tour operators (Table 5). The effects of the education level and annual income are also signicant.
After farmers, the next most aware group is entrepreneurs (36.4%), then private sector employees
(23.2%), and, nally, ofcials (17%).
Two other questions were also included to gain more information about the tour operators
among those who answered yesto the above question. The rst follow-up question thus dealt with
the geographical origin of the owners and had the following closed alternatives: businessmen from
Bishkek,businessmen from At-Bashyand others.An open comment space, as with the other
closedquestions, was provided at the end of the questionnaire. Of the 72 respondents who con-
rmed that they know about trophy hunting tour operators, 29% stated that they think they are busi-
nessmen from Bishkek (the capital), while 58% believe that they are local businessmen from At-
Bashy. For the second follow-up question, in which the respondents were asked to give exact names
of possible owners of the tour companies, 16 people provided exact names, which all pointed to the
same person. Clearly, the farmers are better informed than the other respondents, as, among those
who wrote down an exact name, 38% were farmers.
A search on the Internet showed that this person was a region-level ofcial who had worked for
many years in environment protection in the above-mentioned state agency and who had even
received a medal from the President of Kyrgyzstan for the merit of environment protection. This case
is a good indication of the level of challenge in Kyrgyzstan, where former state employees move into
private enterprise, selling what they were previously employed to protect. According to Turdumam-
betov (2011), it is hard or almost impossible to achieve good governance of the use of natural
Table 5. Residentsknowledge about trophy hunting tour operators (%).
NR Yes, I know No, I dont know I cant answer
Gender (x
2
= 12.941, df =2,p<0.002)
Male 199 25.1 66.8 8.0
Female 196 11.2 78.1 10.7
Education (x
2
= 15.670, df =8,p<0.047)
University 184 18.5 71.7 9.8
Technical school 93 16.1 79.6 4.3
High school 25 4.0 80.0 16.0
School 91 23.1 65.9 11.0
Other 2 50.0 50.0
Occupation (x
2
= 41.388, df = 18, p<0.001)
Police 31 12.9 80.6 6.5
Farmer 63 38.1 54.0 7.9
Private sector 56 23.2 71.4 5.4
Public sector/state administration 47 17.0 78.7 4.3
Entrepreneur 11 36.4 63.6
School teacher 66 7.6 81.8 10.6
Unemployed or housewife 45 8.9 71.1 20.0
Retired 23 8.7 82.6 8.7
Student 30 10.0 73.3 16.7
Unknown 23 21.7 69.6 8.7
Annual income (x
2
= 21.293, df = 10, p<0.019)
Under 1000 USD 130 14.6 76.2 9.2
10012000 USD 65 21.5 69.2 9.2
20013500 USD 55 21.8 69.1 9.1
35016500 USD 13 53.8 38.5 7.7
6501 USD and over 5 60.0 40.0
Cant answer 127 13.4 76.4 10.2
Question: Do you know of any tour operator(s) that organize(s) trips for international trophy hunters?
Note. Nis the number of respondents in each row category. The attitudinal distribution is displayed as percentages within each
row. Only signicant (at least on the 0.50 level) relationships are reported.
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 11
resources and environmental protection throughout the post-Soviet area in general and in Kyrgyz-
stan in particular, because of the level of corruption, which in Kyrgyzstan is described as being in a
deplorable state (Braden, 2014; Transparency International, 2014).
The widespread violation of environmental laws by the local population, state ofcials, and organ-
izers of hunting tours in Kyrgyzstan is a signicant challenge, and some authors argue that it is par-
tially a consequence of trophy huntings development (Koshkarev, 2002; Turdumambetov, 2011).
However, the case might be as much the other way around; corruption leads to uncontrolled and
unregulated development and unsustainable praxis. It is worth noting that foreign hunters might
have no information about the violation of environmental regulations.
Traditional lifestyle, elitism and the lack of support for further development
The study also included a question regarding who the respondents, according to their observation,
think are the people who are most likely to hunt for argali or ibex, with the following possible
answers: foreign tourists,rich Kyrgyz people,border guards,local peopleand others.Aeld
for qualitative comments was also provided. Among the respondents who answered that they know
about tour operators, 45.3% think that rich Kyrgyz people hunt the most for argali and ibex, while for-
eigners are in the second place, accounting for 25% of the answers. The local inhabitants are in the
third place, with 10% of the responses. Among the farmers, who were the segment that most often
provided a concrete name for tour operators, the corresponding percentages are 47.6% (rich Kyrgyz
people), 33.3% (foreign tourists) and 4.8% (local people).
The questionnaire also included an open question about the symbolic value of the argali and ibex
to the local people: What do argali and ibex mean to you in your life?Though 35% of those polled
answered abstractedly that those animals have the highest value in their lives, 26% mentioned
exactly that they have environmental value, 7% noted their particular importance for the future gen-
eration, and 12% associated them with the beauty of the mountain landscapes. Another 3.5% of the
respondents believe that they are a Kyrgyz brand, meaning that argali and ibex are symbolic ani-
mals for Kyrgyz people. Until the twenty-rst century, the traditions and culture of the Kyrgyz people
were tightly interwoven with the wildlife of the country, and biodiversity was at the heart of the spiri-
tual development of the nation, resulting from its origins as a nomadic society. A close relationship
with and understanding of nature were an integral part of the culture of the Kyrgyz nation. Formerly,
cultural traditions and folklore did not encourage local inhabitants to kill animals like argali, ibex,
deer and snow leopards (Aitpaeva, 2006). When the respondents thus described the argali and ibex
as the animals that have the highest valueto them, it may be due to the fact that they are often
described in local folklore as holy animals.
To evaluate any changes in this tradition, we therefore also asked whether any of the respondents
have a stuffed head of either of the two animals in their home. A total of 92% of the respondents did
not have a stuffed argali or the head of an ibex with horns at home, as is normal in Western countries
among trophy hunters, while 6% conrmed that they have, and 8% of the respondents who do not
currently have a stuffed argali or ibex answered that they would like to have such a head on the wall
in the future. A more thorough analysis of the question using the cross-tabulations with the x
2
test
showed that the local inhabitantseducation level is strongly related (p<0.004) to their wish to have
a stuffed argali or ibex head at home in the future; the less educated the individual, the higher is the
desire. Those who earn money from hunting tourism are three times more prone to want to have a
trophy than the other categories, but again this represents only four people.
Only 13.9% of the respondents think that trophy hunting for argali and ibex is performed legally
(possible answers were yes,noand dont know). Among those who are employed in areas that
would normally involve the regulation of the hunting, we see that the percentage varies signicantly
(p<0.126). Among the local police, 0% think that the hunting is legal, while as many as 68% do not
know; among the district ofcers, 23% think that it is legal, while 43.2% do not know. A total of
65.8% of the respondents do not support the further development of trophy hunting in At-Bashy,
12 I. NORDB;ET AL.
and 4.8% of the respondents support it only if it takes place in accordance with the laws and if the
local inhabitants will gain benets from it. An analysis of this question using the cross-tabulations
with the x
2
test showed that there is a strong correlation (p<0.001) between whether the respond-
ents think that the hunting is legal or not and their opinion regarding future development. Among
those who think that it is illegal, 72.3% do not support any further development. Age has a signicant
(p<0.000) bearing on the opinion of local inhabitants with reference to further development, and
especially younger people are against it. The number of children and level of education (p<0.000, p
<0.0045) have a strong bearing as well, those with fewer children and higher education being more
negative. Entrepreneurs and government ofcials view the further development quite positively, as
well as those few who actually report receiving an income from trophy hunting.
Conclusion
The body of literature on tourisms impacts highlight that, in general and specically when it comes
to rural areas, most tourism developments have been implemented without considering the poten-
tial impacts. Such is the case of trophy hunting, as observed from the review of the international
research literature on the topic and as seen through this case study of trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan.
Furthermore, the UNEP and UNWTO denition of sustainable tourism highlights that, for tourism to
be sustainable, it must address the needs of the environment, the visitors and the industry, and the
host communities. Clearly, in our case only the industrys and the visitorsneeds seem to have been
met, not the needs of the local communities in the area where the trophy hunting takes place.
With reference to the theoretical framework put forward in terms of the sociocultural sustainability
of hunting tourism, we could argue that it seems from the study that on average the members of the
local population are not very informed about the development of trophy hunting in their area, and
they lack the basic information necessary to take part in any decision-making processes. Even the
local authorities cannot inuence the development of trophy hunting, again mainly because of the
lack of information. In Kyrgyzstan, all the decisions concerning the development of trophy hunting
are initiated by the central government and local authorities; in the best case, they only execute
them, while, in the worst case, they only observe the activities of tour operators from the outside.
Trophy hunting was, as argued, not a common activity in the tradition of the Kyrgyz people in
general or in the At-Bashy region prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Correspondingly, few of
the respondents have a stuffed head of argali or ibex on the wall of their home. Although nine
respondents stated that they would like to have such a trophy in the future, the results are not signif-
icant. The majority of the trophy hunters, according to the local inhabitants, are wealthy Kyrgyz peo-
ple assimilating rich Western traditions and not foreign trophy hunters as we assumed at the
beginning of the research. However, since it has not been possible to talk directly with more than
one tour operator and acquire information about their clients, and the local inhabitants are not, as
seen from the research, particularly well informed about the trophy hunting taking place in their
region, we cannot really draw any conclusions at this point. The study addresses the urgency of the
problem: it is a problem if people in positions of inuence are seen to make a lot of money from tro-
phy hunting while the local population in the destination area continues to suffer from poverty.
In sum, the negative impacts of trophy hunting seem to overrule the positive ones in At-Bashy,
and in its current form it is not sustainable. Although there is a perception, especially among ofcials,
that trophy hunting generates signicant revenues that could contribute to the conservation of the
species and improve local livelihoods, such is not the case in the At-Bashy region or in Kyrgyzstan in
general at the present. It is thus not surprising to nd that the majority of local inhabitants (up to
70%) do not support the further development of trophy hunting in their area. To gain the support of
local inhabitants for trophy hunting, the Government should make the decision-making process
more transparent and tour operators should share the benets with the local inhabitants. The envi-
ronmental NGOs, which have seats in the capital, should also be more active in the region to monitor
the activity. Furthermore, a (temporary) moratorium on trophy hunting should be put in place; rst,
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 13
to allow for a proper evaluation of the situation; second, to avoid the local populations discontent
growing into a conict; and, nally, to assure enough time for the implementation of the necessary
protective and inclusive measures.
Our study shows that more research needs to be directed to investigating the trophy hunting
industry in Kyrgyzstan in general and the tour operators and their customers specically. However,
due to issues of corruption and trophy hunting being part of the shadow economy of Kyrgyzstan, as
discussed, this might prove to be difcult.
The questionnaires in the undertaken study were distributed in 5 out of 19 villages, which could
be seen as a limitation. However, we wanted to gain a representative sample at the regional level
according to the Krejcie and Morgan table (Krejcie & Morgan, 1970) and within the given time frame
and budget. A total of 56.5% (27,835) of the population of the At-Bashy region lives in these chosen
villages, and we do not expect that answers from the other villages would differ signicantly.
Looking back, we also see that it would have been useful to include other questions or to have
elaborated further on some of the questions to obtain more specic information. At the beginning of
the research, we planned to interview Kyrgyz trophy hunting tour operators rst to provide back-
ground information for the development of the questionnaire. However, after the rst interview with
a tour operator in the capital area that provided trophy hunting tours to our region, it became clear
that the tour operators would be unlikely to provide reliable information unless we camouaged our
study, pretending to be a possible business partner or suchlike, which we did not consider to be
ethical. Even this single interview was difcult, because the tour operator clearly did not welcome
scholars studying the activity (the respondent avoided and even refused to answer a number of
the more sensitive questions). At that point we were aware that trophy hunting in Kyrgyzstan might
be a sensitive issue, but the degree of the sensitivity of the activity that became evident during our
study surprised us.
Note
1. Annually, the government issues between 60 and 100 licenses for argali hunting, and one license costs about
15,000 USD (Turdumambetov, 2011).
Acknowledgments
We especially thank the participants and interviewers of this study. We gratefully acknowledge Adilet Amalkanov, Atyr-
kul Mambetakunova, Azamat Nurdinov, Balyibubu Kadyralieva, Bolot Matakov, Duyshobubu Albanova, Nurjan Amanku-
lova, Usonakun Turdumambetov, and Gordon Campbell for their assistance with the survey/interviews.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) [Project no CPEA-2011/10017].
Notes on contributors
Ingeborg Nordbø is an associate professor at the Department of Economics and IT at The University College of southeast
Norway, and is the leader of the research group on sustainable tourism. She received the PhD degree in tourism/entre-
preneurship and the MSc degree in international economics and business administration from the University of Aalborg,
Denmark, and has specialized in tourism development, sustainability and entrepreneurship in rural areas. She has
worked as an advisor and manager of various projects within tourism and local community development and in a num-
ber of international settings, such as Denmark, Chile, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, China and Norway.
14 I. NORDB;ET AL.
Bakyt Turdumambetov is Head of the Department of Travel Management and Tourism Guidance, Kyrgyz Turkish Manas
University. He received the PhD degree in economics from the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic. He
is the author of the monograph Challenges and Perspectives of Tourism Development in Mountainous Conditions of the Kyr-
gyz Republic (2005, in Russian) and the co-author of the rst manual in Central Asia for the course of Ecotourism(2006,
in Russian). His current research interests cover international hunting tourism and equestrian and halal tourism potential
in Kyrgyzstan.
Bilgehan G
ulcan is an associate professor at the Department of Tourism Management in the Faculty of Tourism at Gazi
University, Turkey. He received the PhD degree in education of tourism and hotel management and the MSc degree in
tourism and hotel management from Gazi University, Turkey, and has specialized in tourism marketing, tourism educa-
tion and alternative tourism. He has worked as a head of department and director of the Tourism and Hospitality Man-
agement Higher School in Kyrgyz Turkish Manas University for ve years. He has conducted and participated in several
international and national projects, especially in tourism education and tourism development in Turkey and Kyrgyzstan.
His current research interest is tourism in Central Asia.
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JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM 17
... The majority support for trophy hunting in Dulan was surprising given that the practice has not taken place for a decade and there were some unhappiness with the benefit sharing mechanism that was in place. In other regions where trophy hunting had been practiced, local support decreased quickly after the economic benefits stopped flowing to the local economy (Nordbo, Turdumambetov & Gulcan, 2018). During the survey in Dulan, we learned that the hunting guide or porter directly obtained economic benefits from trophy hunting. ...
... Nevertheless, the discussion, both within and outside academic, has thus far been dominated by western views and values (Angula et al., 2018). Studies that aim to capture the perspective of citizens of the countries where trophy hunting is taking place is particularly rare, with regard to those communities living with wildlife (Yasuda, 2011;Angula et al., 2018;Nordbo et al., 2018) being important exceptions. These studies have often revealed important gaps between constituencies in the West which have largely lobbied for to end or restrict trophy hunting, including through bans on the importation of hunting trophies (Cooney, 2017;Angula et al., 2018), and the views of those people living with the wildlife, which as with our study largely support trophy hunting (Yasuda, 2011;Angula et al., 2018;Zafra-Calvo & Moreno-Penaranda, 2018). ...
... The resumption of trophy hunting in Dulan would provide an opportunity to assess an alternative 'free-range' model of sustainable grassland management. If carefully managed in ecological and social terms to avoid the mistakes of the past on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (Jiang et al., 2012) and on other countries across Central Asia (Nordbo et al., 2018), one key aspect for delivering sustainability would be the introduction of an efficient and equitable benefit sharing model (Cooney, 2017) that allows more locals, rather than a few hunting guides, to directly obtain economic benefits from Blue Sheep trophy hunting and thus would be a key factor in obtaining community support. ...
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... This strategy allows for regular monitoring of ungulates subjected to moderate exploitation (e.g., Michel, 2008;Singh and Milner-Gulland, 2011;Valdez et al., 2016). Nevertheless, this approach is subject to criticism with regard to ethical, economic, and ecological effects (Lindsey et al., 2007;Nordbø et al., 2018;Batavia et al., 2019). In addition, the methods used in the monitoring of ungulates are burdened with a large error, which makes it difficult to determine the actual trends (Singh and Milner-Gulland, 2011). ...
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... Furthermore, tourism and hunting both generate substantial revenues for communities and private operators in Africa [33]. On the other hand, another important aspect is pointed out: as traditional international trophy hunting destinations are becoming less accessible due to hunting restrictions and regulations, new destinations are entering the scene, such as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan [34]. ...
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The hunting has a major importance from many perspectives: as a product of leisure and recrea-tive, as tool for conservation and wildlife management, as main economic activity in rural area or as cultural heritage and traditional activity for countries from entire world, especially for Europe and Africa. Therefore, this research fills a gap in the literature and offer a cross-cultural opinion and perceptions of the 198 hunters from Romania and Spain. The aim of the paper is to analyze the perceptions and opinions of hunters regarding the hunting tourism through an online self -administrated questionnaire by a convenience sampling using hunters associations from these countries. Among the values that identify hunting as an activity, hunters highlight the human values (friendship, company, ethics), ecological values (love of nature associated with hunting as a tool to understand and enjoy the natural environment), and social values (resources generated, hobby, effort). The respondents can self-criticize some components and aspects of hunting groups. Hunters believe that the future of this sector is moving towards a commercial hunt, as-sociated with purchasing power to ensure results. Regardless of the nationality of the hunters, their values related to this sector are similar.
... Wellregulated, community conservation programs, with sustainable resource use provisions, have played an essential role in delivering conservation and livelihood benefits to biodiversity and communities ( IUCN, 2016 ). Contrarily, unregulated and poorly managed hunting programs can lead to several social and ecological challenges including rapid declines in globally significant populations of rare and unique wildlife species ( Nordbø et al., 2018 ) even in conserved and protected areas. There has been increasing pressure and campaigns to ban trophy hunting, but there are evidence that resources generated through trophy hunting helps to prevent habitat conversion and biodiversity loss and provide support in conservation actions in protected areas ( Dickman et al., 2019 ). ...
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... It is contingent on political conditions, such as the North-South divide, as well as specific social, cultural and environmental contexts (Baker, 1997;Mbaiwa, 2011Mbaiwa, , 2018Novelli et al., 2006). Trophy hunting is often seen as the most notorious form of international hunting tourism, and apart from divided or ambiguous views on its effects on the conservation of wildlife (Aryal, Morley, Cowan, & Ji, 2016), studies of local residents' and the public's views on trophy hunting and sport hunting in various parts of the world demonstrate underlying moral, social and political tensions (MacKay & Campbell, 2004;Mkono, 2019;Nordbø, Turdumambetov, & Gulcan, 2018). Trophy hunting and sport hunting is often associated with the wealthy, and hunting 'merely' for pleasure symbolizes asymmetrical power relations, sometimes with colonial connotations (Mkono, 2019) and a marketized, even itemised (Cohen, 2014) view of wildlife. ...
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The article analyses how hunting tourism businesses in Sweden navigate in the nexus between moral and economic value spheres. Through the analytical lens of 'moral gatekeeper', the business operators are depicted as acting from a position where they navigate in a contested space. The analysis demonstrates how the operators balance different norms and practices of recreational hunting, wildlife management, business ethics and customer expectations. The study is based on ethnographic interviews with business operators, observations of hunting arrangements, and document analysis of hunting media, with a focus on narratives and accounts of value. The findings show a complex moral economy where stewardship hunting and gift economics are both intertwined with and kept separate from market relations, which makes the hunting arrangements, appear as a 'peculiar' form of commodity. The analysis demonstrates how moral arguments concerning wildlife management and human well-being are embedded in market relations and discourses on experiences, entailing seemingly opposite forms of commodification. One is related to calculable values, as in trophy hunting, and one is related to the embodied experience of nature. The study provides nuanced and contextual knowledge of the intertwinement of personal and market relationships in recreational hunting and the commodification of wildlife experiences.
... The second prominent theme was the tangible and intangible benefits that some of the animals offered to humans. For example, in the case of the ibex, even though people traditionally hunted them for sport (like most ungulates), their utility was not limited to trophies alone but also linked to several economic and cultural dimensions (Nordbø et al., 2018). ...
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Thesis
The study is devoted to the human-environmental relationships in the post-socialist period of Kyrgyzstan. It addresses the human-wildlife conflicts using the example of the Alai Valley in the south of the country. Environmental and climatic characteristics of this highland valley provide suitable conditions for pastoralism and serve as habitat for wildlife. In recent decades, the natural landscape of the region came under increasing international attention with regard to nature conservation, sustainable land management and development projects. Historically, pastoralism has played a significant role for the economy of Kyrgyzstan. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the collapse of state agricultural infrastructure facilities, veterinary care, loss of markets, and privatisation of the agricultural sector of the economy and other factors have led to a major downfall in the animal husbandry industry. The number of sheep and goats decreased from ten million in 1990 to four million in 2000. Nevertheless, pastoralism has considerable importance to the national economy and remains as the crucial income source for rural livelihoods in Kyrgyzstan. The post-socialist period of Kyrgyzstan has faced rapid socio-economic and political transformation which has resulted in changes not only to local livelihoods, but also in livestock husbandry, nature protection and wildlife management. In recent decades many pastoralists often complain about the increase in livestock depredation by wild predators. It is taking place despite the presence of state sponsored predator-control activity. From another side, there are public concerns about wildlife conservation. With the engagement of many environmental NGOs and mass-media, wildlife management issues have quickly become highly politicised in Kyrgyzstan. Becoming a Party to several global environmental conventions has increased the realisation of many projects funded by external donor organisations, and the implementation of their obligations for wildlife conservation, together, have substantially raised the profile of wildlife management in Kyrgyzstan at the international level. Moreover, since the independence of Kyrgyzstan, the territory of Protected Areas has increased by three times. Protected Areas are crucial to wildlife conservation and are promoted by the nature conservation community as a beneficial measure to the mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts. Despite this fact, livestock depredation by wild predators generates conflicts and has become a serious conservation issue. The study aims to better understand human-wildlife interrelationships in connection with pastoralism, protected areas and wildlife management in Kyrgyzstan. Wildlife related conflicts are analysed to determine the status of livestock depredation and to explore its linkages with rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation concerns in the Republic. The project design emphasises different utilisation strategies for the same area of rangelands, including the provision of fodder resources, wildlife habitat area, livestock grazing, and other uses by humans. Additionally, the focus of this study is directed towards a historical aspect of the region in relation to the development processes in the Alai Valley and use of its natural resources.
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A team of American and Kyrgyz scholars explores the recent history of environmental legislation in Kyrgyzstan, focusing on legislation and policy relating to biodiversity conservation. They examine a number of important and far-reaching laws enacted to promote tourism, economic development, and sustainable uses of biological resources, and investigate Kyrgyzstan's accession (or planned accession) to important regional and global treaties on conservation. A major objective is an assessment of the extent to which Kyrgyzstan is implementing or is likely to implement these important laws, and whether extant governmental institutions are capable of implementing necessary environmental laws and programs. Journal of Economic Literature, Classification Numbers: Q20, Q28, Q29. 1 figure, 2 tables, 92 references.
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This paper positions mixed methods as a complement to traditional qualitative and quantitative research. It provides an example of conducting mixed methods research by analysing the sociocultural sustainability of tourism as perceived by local stakeholders nearby Oulanka National Park in north-eastern Finland. Semi-structured interviews were linked concurrently to survey data from the same respondents. First, four discourses were identified based on 40 interviews with respondents about tourism development pertinent to the Protected Area Network (PAN) Parks international certification. Second, the differences between the representatives of the discourses were examined using non-parametric statistics. Results of the qualitative and quantitative analysis supplemented each other. The survey results supported the identification of four discourses and provided information about the representatives using the discourses. The discourse groups differed according to length of residence in the area, distance from the park, gender, employment in tourism, familiarity with PAN Parks, benefit from PAN Parks status, belief in the benefits of PAN Parks, satisfaction with tourism and park development, importance of the environmental dimension and satisfaction with various dimensions of sustainability. The study demonstrates that a better understanding of a problem may be acquired by using a mix of survey methods and interviews.
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Starting with the paradox that hunters claim to love the animal species they hunt, this article examines three inter-related issues: the ethics of hunting, the hunting experience and the commoditization of hunting in the contemporary world. I discuss two contrary philosophical approaches to hunting in general, and then turn to the specific problem of the ethics of recreational hunting, arguing that its protagonists fail to render a consistent justification for killing animals merely for the experience, but create a hunting ideology which obfuscates the issue. While hunters claim that the chase is the main point of hunting, its conclusion in the kill constitutes the apex of the hunting experience. However, the intensity of the experience fades with the commoditization of the pray in the contemporary world. I present a series of settings according to the extent to which they are ‘framed,’ ranging from open areas, designated ‘wildernesses,’ and game parks, to game farms (and virtual hunting establishments), where tame and restricted animals are easily shot for a trophy at a stiff price. The outrage the hunting community raised by those practices, serves to highlight its moral supremacy. The article concludes that the paradox of killing a loved animal inherent in recreational hunting is irresolvable on the ethical sphere, but can be interpreted as an antinomian but exalted ritual, resembling sacrifice in the religious sphere.
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Sport hunting is one of the oldest known recreational activities using wildlife. Some researchers have suggested that sport hunting can benefit the development and economy of local communities, thereby promoting the protection of wildlife resources as well as both ecological and economic sustainability. However, important debates remain regarding the social impacts of conservation and tourism on local com- munities near protected areas. This study using a case study from northern Cameroon aimed to 1) analyze the social impacts of sport hunting on local people and 2) discuss sustainability of sport hunting. Approximately two years of fieldwork, mainly based on interviews and observations in two villages, showed that sport hunting generated tax revenues of approximately US$1.2 million in one season as well as provided profit sharing and employment opportunities for local communities. However, the local people were affected by regulations of their rights to use natural resources. Moreover, some villages experienced forced migration for the beginning of sport hunting. Many officers and hunting operators insist that sport hunting entails ecological and economic sustainability because it is operated under strict regulations and generates enormous tax revenues. This is in contrast to hunting by local people, who do not consider the hunting regulation nor pay taxes. The question remains, however, whether the term "sustainability" should only encompass ecological and economic factors. Even if sport hunting plays an important role in community conservation, the social impacts on local communities should be considered before the activity is considered as a viable tactic for wildlife conservation.
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Within the past century, international tourists have increasingly sought exotic destinations in their pursuit of relaxation, escape, and adventure. Recognizing the opportunity to earn valuable foreign currency, developing countries have catered to these desires by encouraging tourism development. The interplay between "hosts" and "guests" and the impact of tourism on host communities have been recurring themes in the anthropological literature on tourism, but scholars recognize that these categories have several limitations. The terms gloss over the wide variation that exists in the tourist experience for both guests and hosts, and ignore the important actors known as mediators. This article examines the role of mediators in two post-Soviet Central Asia states: Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Mediators there are particularly important because neither country is well known in Western countries, and neither country inherited a well-developed tourist infrastructure from the Soviet state. These mediators are cultivating a positive image of Central Asia as a new tourist destination, developing tourist accommodations, and lobbying government institutions to support and regulate tourism. However, the industry is rife with conflict and competition. (Tourism, development, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan).
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