Moving Targets: The ‘Canned’ Hunting of Captive-Bred Lions in South Africa

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So-called canned hunts take place within fenced private game ranches and typically target animals bred in captivity solely for that purpose. Thousands of semidomesticated lions form the focal point of South Africa’s canned-hunting industry. Notions of animal welfare, “fair chase,” and conservation have been deployed to varying degrees to sway public opinion surrounding canned hunts in South Africa and abroad. While state regulatory efforts have largely failed to date, the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) has successfully promoted stricter controls on the importation of lion trophies in Australia, Europe, and the United States, in part by highlighting the recent death of Cecil, a charismatic lion shot by an American bowhunter in Zimbabwe.

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... Commercial lion farming is reported to have emerged in South Africa in response to increasing market demands for lion products [6]. Lions were initially bred in captivity to supply canned hunting operations in the 1990s [7,8]. However, since 2008 they have also been slaughtered for their bones that have been exported in increasing numbers to Southeast Asia for the traditional medicine industry [9]. ...
... A significant number of tourismbased industries also benefit from commercial captive lion breeding via non-consumptive purposes. For example, cubs and young adult lions are offered for interactive ecotourism and volunteerism experiences to paying tourists [1,6,8]. Figure 1 illustrates the full list of various known opportunities for commercial use, demonstrating that lions in South Africa can be maintained within one distinct sector (e.g., specifically bred and used solely for canned hunting), or may be traded between sectors at different stages of their development. ...
... Specifically, lion cubs can be bred at a single tourist facility where they are maintained for their entire lifespan, or alternatively purchased or rented from specialised breeders and returned once they have outlived their suitability for their tourism function [5]. The extent to which individual lions are traded between these different sectors is currently unclear [8]. However, information obtained through Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requests indicates that movement of lions between facilities and provinces occurs [10]. ...
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African lions (Panthera leo) are commercially farmed across South Africa for sport hunting, tourism, and the international bone trade, primarily in Southeast Asia. Despite its legal status, South Africa’s growing lion farming industry is a contentious issue. In 2020 a high-level panel was initiated to review the policies, legislation, and management regarding the breeding, hunting, trade, and handling of four wildlife species, including lions. In May 2021, it was announced that the government intends to amend existing permit conditions to prohibit lion breeding and tourism interactions with captive lions, as well as to stop issuing permits to new entrants into the industry, effectively ending lion farming. In order to follow this line of action, a comprehensive, well-managed plan will be necessary to execute a responsible exit from the industry as it currently stands. Using a “gap analysis” management tool, we aim to: (1) outline some of the key considerations regarding the current state of the lion farming industry in South Africa; and (2) propose specific action steps that could be taken within five key areas (regulation, animal welfare, health and safety, equitability, and conservation) to help inform a responsible transition away from this type of wildlife farming in the biodiversity economy. For our gap analysis, we conducted a semi-systematic literature search to compile key background information about the current state of the industry. This information was then used to identify corresponding desired management states, and steps that could facilitate a successful phase out of lion farming in South Africa. We hope our approach helps identify key considerations for a responsible transition and can help aid decisions during the management of this process.
... This does not include those raised in captivity in South Africa for 'put and take' hunting (also known as 'canned' hunting). In these hunts, captive bred lions are released into enclosures of various sizes (Lindsey, Alexander, Balme, Midlane, & Craig, 2012), where, at least in the smaller enclosures, they are easily shot (Schroeder, 2018), 4 At a local scale, trophy hunting of wild lions can threaten lion populations (Loveridge, Searle, Murindagomo, & Macdonald, 2007). 6 This is a consequence not only of the direct loss of individuals but also via perturbation of the intricate social system of lions. ...
... One of the aspects of the Cecil event that provoked public anger was that he was wounded with a compound hunting bow (which is not typical of lion trophy hunting) and not killed until some hours later (Loveridge, 2018). 14 The poor conditions under which captive-bred lions are at least sometimes kept has also attracted welfare concerns (Schroeder, 2018); the status (whether to class them as wild or captive) of these lions has complicated attempts to regulate the 'put and take' ('canned') lion hunting industry in South Africa over the last two decades (summarized by Schroeder, 2018). The number of lions killed is also morally relevant. ...
... One of the aspects of the Cecil event that provoked public anger was that he was wounded with a compound hunting bow (which is not typical of lion trophy hunting) and not killed until some hours later (Loveridge, 2018). 14 The poor conditions under which captive-bred lions are at least sometimes kept has also attracted welfare concerns (Schroeder, 2018); the status (whether to class them as wild or captive) of these lions has complicated attempts to regulate the 'put and take' ('canned') lion hunting industry in South Africa over the last two decades (summarized by Schroeder, 2018). The number of lions killed is also morally relevant. ...
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People hunt and kill animals for sport in many parts of the world. This raises many issues, some of which were brought to the fore when a lion Panthera leo, nicknamed Cecil, was killed by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe in 2015. Cecil's death led to an unprecedented public reaction in Europe and the USA, and a debate in which opponents and supporters of sport hunting advanced different types of argument based on, inter alia, conservation, animal welfare and economics. The reaction to the Cecil event provides a perspective for scrutinizing sport hunting more widely. In this article we explore parallels between lion trophy hunting in Africa (which can involve either wild or captive‐bred lions) and shooting of common pheasant Phasianus colchicus, a sport which is largely sustained in the UK by the annual release of over 40 million captive‐bred birds. These two forms of sport hunting share common themes that are likely to be influential for the future of sport hunting more widely. These include the extent to which sport hunting maintains land for wildlife, and the impacts of intensification (e.g. the extent to which quarry are reared and released). Concern for the welfare of quarry animals is a dominant theme in debates about hunting. These themes are likely to be relevant for the conservation of many species hunted for sport. Increasing distaste for the killing of animals for sport in many countries may lead to the end of some types of sport hunting, with implications for both habitat and wildlife conservation. It would be both prudent and appropriate for conservationists to increase the urgency with which they seek alternative methods for preventing loss of biodiverse land to other uses. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
... Lindsey et al (2012) indicated that further research was required into the trade of lion bones from South Africa to identify the potential risks and issues for lion conservation. Since 2012, a number of papers and reports have been written on the bone trade and its potential conservation implications (Bauer et al., 2018;Born Free Foundation, 2018;EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, 2018;Environmental Investigation Agency, 2017;Harvey, 2018;Outhwaite, 2018;Schroeder, 2018;Williams and 't Sas-Rolfes, 2019;Williams and 't Sas-Rolfes, 2017;Williams et al., 2015. ...
... One element of the human-predator interaction sector is the number of volunteer tourists who pay large sums to facility owners to supply their labour to maintain or build infrastructure and feed the animals. Many are lured under the pretext that they are contributing to conservation (Flanagan, 2018;Peirce, 2018;Schroeder, 2018 One facility states that it is not affiliated to any parties that partake in canned hunting: 'Almost all of the cubs that we nurture in the park belong to other predator breeders who are also not involved in hunting'. The facility admits to hand rearing cubs, something it claims as essential because the cubs are occasionally 'neglected by their mothers due to the following: the mum does not have milk to feed them or the litter is simply too big for the mum to handle'. ...
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This paper critiques the conservation and economic claims advanced by the captive predator breeding industry in South Africa. It contends that captive lion breeding offers no direct conservation value. Similarly, claims of economic significance and indirect conservation value are tenuous in light of the potential opportunity costs that the industry generates, which remain largely unquantified. Therefore, a new type of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) method is required for quantifying the potential reputation damage and opportunity costs associated with the industry. One element of the industry’s supply chain worth examining in this regard is predator interaction with tourists. This paper estimates that total gross revenue for the sub-sector is estimated at roughly $180 million per annum. These revenues represent a mere 0,96% of tourism’s total GDP contribution in 2019 ($18.8 million) but may entail extensive opportunity costs. Moreover, if the land currently supporting the interaction sector were joined up to create a number of more integrated wilderness landscapes, the total land area that could be transformed would be in the region of 160,000 hectares. Used for non-consumptive ecotourism, this could yield 960 direct jobs. Finally, the paper estimates that the potential net present value of the reputation damage being wrought on South Africa’s critical tourism sector through the industry is $2.79 billion (discounted at 5% over the next decade).
... France and Australia had already, by this time, banned the import of lion trophies in protest against South Africa's 'canned lion' industry (discussed further below), but following the outcry over Cecil, most international airlines, including those operating to and from the US (the source of most trophy hunters), announced that they would not accept lion trophies as cargo. 87 In October 2019 the 'Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act' was introduced to the House Natural Resources Committee, 88 where despite opposition from Republicans and the hunting lobby, it passed 19-16. As Naidoo et al. observe, it is ironic that this opposition to trophy hunting comes despite the fact that hunting benefits were one of the early motivations for conservation in North America […] and even today proceeds from hunting licenses in the United States (via the Pittman-Robertson Act) and Canada continue to generate hundreds of millions of dollars every year for wildlife management and habitat protection. ...
The fossil-fuelled Anthropocene, with its attendant destruction of wildlife, originated with global capitalism. Early ‘fortress’ conservation efforts focussed on delineating protected areas, but in the latter part of the twentieth century, wildlife expanded on private and communal lands in Southern Africa through schemes allowing people to benefit directly from wildlife. Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) provided people with economic incentives to coexist with wildlife, showing that in the capitalist Anthropocene, the commodification of wildlife could be a tool for its conservation. This paper reviews the history of CBNRM in Southern Africa, paying particular attention to Namibia where hunting is an important source of revenue. It concludes with a discussion of international efforts to decommodify wildlife through limiting trade and restricting trophy hunting. The shooting of ‘Cecil the Lion’ in Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter boosted these efforts – but in the process threatened to undermine commodified forms of wildlife conservation, including CBNRM, across Southern Africa. It is an irony of history that capitalist commodification created the environmental crisis yet strategies of decommodification could prompt land-use changes which, in the absence of substantial new support to promote coexistence with wildlife, reduce rather than support wildlife and biodiversity.
... South Africa has a predominantely urban-based populace and this, coupled with a vibrant civil society, may be why there is more diversity of opinion regards hunting. Moreover, recent opposition towards "canned hunting" in South Africa may be driving negative perceptions (Schroeder, 2018). ...
African elephant populations are under substantial anthropogenic pressure but these are not spatially homogenous. Elephant densities are high in parts of southern Africa, leading to conflict with human populations. Conservationists working to mitigate impacts of human-elephant conflict (HEC) will turn to mechanisms or incentives to achieve this, mostly financial (such as compensation, or income generation through tourism). Little is known about the attitudes of stakeholders' (such as farmers) toward financial incentives used to mitigate conflict. Here we carried out a content analysis of stakeholder evaluative expression, or valence, using reports from the southern African news media. We sourced 428 separate news articles over the past ten years, and quantitatively assessed stakeholder valence on the financial mechanisms used to mitigate human-elephant conflict. We found that stakeholder attitudes or valence differed across countries and that stakeholders were generally positive, even with regard to controversial mechanisms such as trophy hunting. Our work has some implication for conservation policy.
... According to Cohen (2012), tourism practices involving tigers, whom we often see images of in close contact with visitors at so-called sanctuaries, such as "Buddhist temples" in Asia or in roadside zoos in North America, almost always have negative consequences for their well-being and conservation. Furthermore, lions are involved in the wildlife tourism attraction known as "canned hunting" (Schroeder, 2018) characterized by the industrial breeding of thousands of lions to be fed by (likely naïve) volunteers, and "walked" with tourists before becoming unwitting targets for trophy hunters. Such wildlife tourism practices have no role in contemporary conservation as they are harmful to involved animals from a number of perspectives (Hunter et al., 2013), even if in some cases there may be benefits in economic terms for local populations (e.g. ...
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In the twenty-first century-an era of increasing domestic and international tourism-there are boundless opportunities to encounter wild animals both in their home countries and ex situ in zoological facilities around the world. Tourism activity-especially at accredited zoos and sanctuaries-plays a crucial role in the conservation of wild animal populations, and influences the welfare of individuals within involved species. Unfortunately, not all zoos and sanctuaries prioritize the conservation and welfare of their animals, such as those who promote irresponsible and mutually-harmful visitor-animal encounters for economic profit. While the relationship between visitors and animals at zoological facilities has shifted over time to match evolving morals and sentiments towards animals, there is still a storied tendency of visitors preferring close encounters with charismatic wild species. Since the 1970s, researchers' attention has increasingly focused on assessing the influence of the visitor effect, which refers to the impact that viewing, touching, feeding, holding, and riding captive wildlife has on the animals. Many wildlife attractions promote such encounters, despite research suggesting that close interactions with visitors can cause stress and harm to involved species. Such activities are further promoted through the "selfie tourism" phenomenon, in which visitors capture images of themselves in too-close proximity to wild animals to be shared on social media. In this commentary, we consider the challenge of "selfie tourism", and how it can promote unethical relationships between humans and wildlife and lead to deleterious implications for the animals' conservation and welfare.
... Though the Cecil Moment led to divergent outcomes (e.g. airlines banned shipment of animal trophies; governments reformed policy and passed legislation on animal trophy imports (Carpenter and Konisky, 2017;Mkono, 2018;Schroeder, 2018)), I focus on those that resulted directly from the Kimmel appeal. I show that the Cecil Moment operated to silence the anti-trophy hunting politics that sparked and fuelled it in the first place; yet, the momentum of the Cecil Moment was captured and re-directed toward other lion conservation priorities. ...
In 2015 Cecil the lion's death sparked international furore over the practice of lion trophy hunting. Celebrities and everyday citizens, traditional news and social media alike were aflame around the globe, most notably after American celebrity Jimmy Kimmel expressed disgust in Cecil's death during a monologue on his late-night talk show. This paper explores the Cecil Moment as a case study of the cultural politics of the environment at the intersection of celebrity environmentalism and ‘Nature 2.0’ applications like Facebook and Twitter. The research asks: what can the Cecil Moment can tell us about how celebrity and Nature 2.0 environmentalisms work and to what kind of conservation politics do they lead? Drawing on the celebrity environmentalism and Nature 2.0 literatures, I develop an analytic framework for analyzing the Cecil Moment which considers and evaluates the network of actors enrolled, the representations foregrounded and backgrounded, as well as the outcomes. Empirical insights are drawn from document and media review, and key informant interviews. I argue that the Cecil Moment operated through a more-than-human network which served to channel agency unleashed by Cecil’s death to the already-empowered lion conservation actors, as well as mutable meanings that shifted Cecil Moment focus away from trophy hunting and toward lion conservation in general. Ultimately, the Cecil Moment operated to dismiss the anti-trophy hunting politics that sparked and fuelled it in the first place; yet, the momentum of the Cecil Moment was grasped and re-directed toward other lion conservation priorities. Critically, this re-direction was not neutral; rather, it shifted the politics of the Cecil Moment in a way that reproduced longstanding patterns of conservation injustice wherein blame for biodiversity loss is directed away from powerful forces onto the racialized, rural poor from the Global South.
... Our approach was grounded in two key propositions. The first is that South Africa's captive lion industry constitutes part of a complex adaptive social-ecological system, which includes and potentially affects in situ populations of lions and other large felids, via trade and other mechanisms that remain poorly understood [11,12]. Second is that the most appropriate way for the Scientific Authority to address such uncertainty is by employing principles of adaptive management, informed by an ongoing process of scientific research [13]. ...
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Commercial captive breeding and trade in body parts of threatened wild carnivores is an issue of significant concern to conservation scientists and policy-makers. Following a 2016 decision by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, South Africa must establish an annual export quota for lion skeletons from captive sources, such that threats to wild lions are mitigated. As input to the quota-setting process, South Africa’s Scientific Authority initiated interdisciplinary collaborative research on the captive lion industry and its potential links to wild lion conservation. A National Captive Lion Survey was conducted as one of the inputs to this research; the survey was launched in August 2017 and completed in May 2018. The structured semi-quantitative questionnaire elicited 117 usable responses, representing a substantial proportion of the industry. The survey results clearly illustrate the impact of a USA suspension on trophy imports from captive-bred South African lions, which affected 82% of respondents and economically destabilised the industry. Respondents are adapting in various ways, with many euthanizing lions and becoming increasingly reliant on income from skeleton export sales. With rising consumer demand for lion body parts, notably skulls, the export quota presents a further challenge to the industry, regulators and conservationists alike, with 52% of respondents indicating they would adapt by seeking ‘alternative markets’ for lion bones if the export quota allocation restricted their business. Recognizing that trade policy toward large carnivores represents a ‘wicked problem’, we anticipate that these results will inform future deliberations, which must nonetheless also be informed by challenging inclusive engagements with all relevant stakeholders.
Purpose This paper explores the life cycle of a captive bred lion in South Africa, focusing on the distinction between captive bred and wild individuals. Lions are bred in captive breeding facilities across the country to provide cubs and teenagers for ecotourism, and following this, hunting “trophies.” A distinction is made between the “wild” and “captive” lion, a categorization that I argue legitimizes violent and unethical treatment toward those bred specifically to be cuddled and killed. This analysis explores how the lion is remade or modified from wild to commodity and the repercussions this has had throughout the wildlife security assemblage. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on ethnographic research carried out in South Africa during 2016 that involved conducting informal and semi-structured interviews with activists, breeders, wildlife security personnel and conservationists drawing out the interspecies relations that influenced the encounters between humans and wildlife. Findings Dominant conservation narratives continue to understand and interpret wildlife solely as a commodity or profitable resource, which has led to the normalization of unethical and cruel practices that implicate wildlife in their own security and sustenance through their role in ecotourism, hunting and more recently, the lion bone trade. Captive bred lions are treated as products that undergo a series of translations through which they are exposed to violence and exploitation operationalized through practices linked to conservation and ecotourism. Originality/value Through posthuman thinking, this paper contributes to debates on the interspecies dimensions of politics through challenging the dominant assumptions that govern conservation and the interspecies encounter.
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In November 1928, Theodore Jr. and Kermit Roosevelt led an expedition to China with the expressed purpose of being the first Westerners to kill the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). The expedition lasted 8 months and resulted in the brothers shooting a giant panda in the mountains of Sichuan Province. Given the concurrent attention in the popular press describing this celebrated expedition, the giant panda was poised to be trophy hunted much like other large mammals around the world. Today, however, the killing of giant pandas, even for the generation of conservation revenue, is unthinkable for reasons related to the species itself and the context, in time and space, in which the species was popularized in the West. We found that the giant panda's status as a conservation symbol, exceptional charisma and gentle disposition, rarity, value as a nonconsumptive ecotourism attraction, and endemism are integral to the explanation of why the species is not trophy hunted. We compared these intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics with 20 of the most common trophy-hunted mammals to determine whether the principles applying to giant pandas are generalizable to other species. Although certain characteristics of the 20 trophy-hunted mammals aligned with the giant panda, many did not. Charisma, economic value, and endemism, in particular, were comparatively unique to the giant panda. Our analysis suggests that, at present, exceptional characteristics may be necessary for certain mammals to be excepted from trophy hunting. However, because discourse relating to the role of trophy hunting in supporting conservation outcomes is dynamic in both science and society, we suspect these valuations will also change in future. © 2020 Society for Conservation Biology.
In September 2016, 14 months after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion raised an international furore over trophy hunting, 58 individuals gathered at Oxford University for the Cecil Summit, a meeting of experts designed to vision the future of lion conservation in honor of Cecil. This paper explores the Cecil Summit through an analytic of government as a means to provide new insights into securitized and neoliberal conservation governance in action. On this basis, we show how the actors emboldened by the Cecil Moment claimed the authority to vision the Cecil Movement. Using video and document review, and semi-structured interviews, our discourse analysis highlights three components of intervention into African lionscapes emerging from the summit—securing space, mobilizing capital, and producing subjects—that are founded upon claims to scientific and economic rationality as well as specific representations of lions and rural Africans. Our analysis of the vision contributes to recent discussions in political ecology about the dovetailing of conservation, security, the economy—and we add—subjectivity. We conclude by pointing to the way in which militarized conservation appears to be inching closer to the lion and offering a critique of the vision for lion conservation put forward at the Cecil Summit.
Keith Somerville. Ivory Power and Poaching in Africa. London: C. Hurst & Co., 2017. 368 pp. Maps. Charts. Notes. Bibliography. Index. $29.95. Cloth. ISBN: 9781849046763. - Volume 62 Issue 1 - Harry Fuller
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Spaces of privatised wildlife production, in the form of game farms, private nature reserves and other forms of wildlife-oriented land use, are an increasingly prominent feature of the South African countryside. Whilst there is a well-developed literature on the social impacts of state-run protected areas, the outcomes of privatised wildlife production have thus far received little attention. It is argued here that the socio-spatial dynamics of the wildlife industry, driven by capitalist imperatives related to the commodified production of nature and ‘wilderness’, warrant both in-depth investigation in their own right, and contextualisation in terms of broader processes of agrarian change locally as well as globally. The growing influence of trophy hunting and the wildlife industry on private land can be seen as a significant contributing factor to processes of deagrarianisation that are mirrored in other parts of the African continent and elsewhere. In South Africa, these developments and their impacts on the livelihoods of farm dwellers take on an added dimension in the context of the country's efforts to implement a programme of post-apartheid land reform. Two decades after the formal end of apartheid, contestations over land rights and property ownership remain live and often unresolved. This theme issue explores these dynamics on private land partly or wholly dedicated to wildlife production, with special emphasis on two South African provinces: KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
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In this article, we discuss how farm conversions to wildlife habitats result in the reconfiguration of spatial and social relations on white-owned commercial farms in the Karoo region of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Farmers and landowners justify such conversions stressing economic and ecological rationales. We illustrate how conversions are (also) a reaction to post-apartheid land reform and labour legislation policies, which white farmers and landowners perceive as a serious threat. They seek to legitimate their position in society and reassert their place on the land by claiming a new role as nature conservationists. We argue that game farms should be interpreted as economically and politically contested spaces for three reasons: (1) whereas landowners present the farm workers' displacement from game farms as the unintended by-product of a changing rural economy, the creation of ‘pristine’ wilderness seems designed to empty the land of farm dwellers who may lay claim to the land; (2) game farms further disconnect the historically developed links between farm dwellers and farms, denying them a place of residence and a base for multiple livelihood strategies; (3) this way the conversion process deepens farm dwellers' experiences of dispossession and challenges their sense of belonging. Game fences effectively define farm workers and dwellers as people out of place. These dynamics contrast government reform policies aimed at addressing historical injustices and protecting farm dwellers' tenure security.
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Conversion from livestock and/or crop farming to game farming has been a notable trend on privately owned land in South Africa over the last decades. The rapid growth of wildlife ranching is associated with an annual increase in the areas enclosed by game fences and high demand for wildlife which is being traded privately and at wildlife auctions. Key environmental, agricultural and land reform legislation has been passed since 1994 that impacts this sector, but this legislation does not provide a clear regulatory framework for the game farming industry. This article seeks to understand why game farming is thriving in a regulatory environment plagued with uncertainty. The focus is on one province, KwaZulu-Natal. It is clear that the state is not a homogeneous and monolithic entity applying itself to the regulation of the sector. There is no clear direction on the position of private game farming at the interface of environmental and agricultural regulations. The argument put forward is that the fractured state, in fact, provides space within which the game farmers are able to effectively manoeuvre and to maximise their advantages as private landowners. While game farmers may complain about strict wildlife regulation in the province, the benefits they gain from the combination of a divided state and the presence in this province of a strong, autonomous conservation body are considerable.
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The trophy hunting of lions is contentious due to increasing evidence of impacts on wild populations, and ethical concerns surrounding the hunting of captive-bred lions in South Africa. The captive-bred lion hunting industry in South Africa has grown rapidly while the number of wild lions hunted in other African countries has declined. In 2009 and 2010, 833 and 682 lion trophies were exported from South Africa, respectively, more than double the combined export(2009,471;2010,318) from other African countries. There has been an associated increase in the prevalence of the export of lion bones from South Africa: at least 645 bones/sets of bones were exported in 2010, 75.0% of which went to Asia. Such trade could be problematic if it stimulated demand for bones from wild lions or other wild felids. Captive-bred lion hunting differs from wild lion hunting in that lions are hunted in smaller areas (49.9 ±8.4 km2compared to 843 to 5933 km2, depending on the country), hunts are cheaper (US$20 000–40 000 compared to US$37 000–76 000 [excluding the costs of shooting other species and government charges]), shorter (3.3 compared to 14–21 days), success rates are higher (99.2% compared to 51.0-96.0%), and trophy quality is higher (skull length + breadth = 638.8 compared to 614–638 cm). Most clients perceive captive-bred and wild lion hunting to be different products but there is some overlap in markets: 48.7% of clients that had hunted captive-bred lions showed no preference regarding the type of future hunts. Owing to the size of the captive-bred hunting industry, even marginal overlap in demand could affect wild lion hunting significantly. If captive-bred lion hunting were ever prohibited, a transfer of demand to wild lion hunts could lead to elevated off-takes with negative impacts on wild populations. However, if off-takes of wild lions were held constant or reduced through effective regulation of quotas, increased demand could increase the price of wild lion hunts and strengthen financial incentives for lion conservation. These possibilities should be considered if future efforts are made to regulate captive-bred lion hunting.
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In this paper I examine the role of members of the British aristocracy in the movement to create national parks in colonial Africa. Aristocratic hunter preservationists established the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire (SPFE) and used their access to the Colonial Office to help direct colonial conservation policies. Focusing on the Earl of Onslow, SPFE president from 1926–1945, I suggest that the aristocratic experience with the landscape of rural England influenced conservationists' ideas for preserving an idealized wild Africa. I explore the ways in which social and cultural constructions of African nature embodied by the SPFE's proposals reflected and helped to legitimate British imperialist ideology. Ultimately, the history of aristocratic involvement in conservation is critical to understanding the development of an institutional global nature-preservation movement.
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This article analyses in some detail the scientific developments relating to extensive game ranching for meat production in South Africa from the 1960s onwards. Initially it recalls how game was utilised in South Africa in the nineteenth century and then reflects on the rise of the modern livestock industry and its detrimental effect on the herds of game that survived in the region into the twentieth century. The roles of scientists from different regions—Britain, the United States and South Africa—are identified and their respective scientific contributions to the wildlife industry evaluated. The narrative is situated within the con-text of a rise in environmental consciousness in the mid-twentieth century and the recent challenges that have faced the formal agricultural and pastoral sector in South Africa.
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As fundamental as emotions may be in our experiences with wildlife, very little research addresses this topic. The following paper provides insight into the emotional responses of conservation volunteers participating on conservation holidays through four ethnographic case-studies. Six common emotional responses were identified: anguish, disappointment, frustration, exhilaration, awe and compassion. These emotional highs and lows shaped the volunteer experience, as the realities of wildlife conservation in South Africa upset the culturally constructed, emotionally appealing vision of African wilderness that the volunteers expected. While the positive emotions associated with idealised expectations of African wildlife provide an ideal basis upon which to commercialise nature conservation, they generate a series of tensions in practice. The paper makes an important empirical contribution to current debates surrounding the economic exploitation of affect, showing how emotions underpin the commercialisation of conservation, both through the configuration of the volunteers’ wildlife experiences and the scope of conservation that is practised.
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We address the new attempts at regulating wildlife ranches on private land in South Africa. Although positive conservation impacts can be attributed to private wildlife ranching, there are a number of ecological consequences that often arise as a result of economic priorities. We present and analyze new national regulations aimed at coordinating provincial legislation and guiding the wildlife industry in a more conservationist direction, and examine tensions that have arisen between different sociopolitical scales as a result. Data were obtained through a desk-based study of legal documents and interviews with key stakeholders. The new regulations begin to address international obligations and national policy on biodiversity conservation by potentially combating a number of specific ecological problems associated with wildlife ranching. However, in practice, the regulations are a significant source of tension among stakeholders and will be challenging to implement. A key issue is competing agendas between incentive-driven ranchers and conservationist aims. It may be that in addressing the ecological problems at the margin, the new regulations will encourage some ranchers to convert their land away from conservation friendly land use.
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Rich in biological diversity, South Africa’s natural habitats are internationally recognized as a conservation priority. Biodiversity loss continues, however, and limited scope to enlarge the state-protected areas, combined with funding shortages for public parks, means that conservationists are increasingly turning to private landowners for solutions. The recent boom in privately owned wildlife ranches in South Africa has the potential to contribute to conservation in South Africa. This paper explores the benefits, limitations, and challenges of private wildlife ranching as a tool for conservation in South Africa through interviews with key stakeholders working within conservation and wildlife ranching, and through case studies of threatened species programs. Respondents suggested that wildlife ranches contribute to conservation positively by maintaining natural areas of habitat and by providing resources to support reintroduction programs for threatened species. However, they reported a number of limitations centered on three themes that generally arise due to the commercial nature of wildlife ranching: (1) tourist preferences drive the industry, (2) predators are persecuted to protect valuable game, and (3) inadequate resources are made available for professional conservation management and planning on ranches. In addition to challenges of combining economic gain with conservation objectives, ranchers face a number of challenges that arise because of the small, enclosed character of many ranches in South Africa, including the need to intensively manage wildlife populations. In order to enhance the role of wildlife ranching within conservation, clear guidance and support for ranchers is likely to be required to boost endorsement and minimize economic loss to ranchers.
Trophy hunting is widely used in Africa to generate funding for wildlife areas.In 2015, a global media frenzy resulted from the illegal killing of a radio-collared lion, “Cecil,” by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe. Trophy hunting is con-tentious and much of the media discourse is emotional and polarized, focusingon animal welfare and debating the value of hunting as a conservation tool.We use the Cecil incident to urge a change in the focus of discussion and make a call for global action. We highlight the dual challenge to African governments posed by the need to fund vast wildlife estates and provide incentives for conservation by communities in the context of growing human populations and competing priorities. With or without trophy hunting, Africa’s wildlife areas require much more funding to prevent serious biodiversity loss. In light of this,we urge a shift away from perpetual debates over trophy hunting to the more pressing question of “How do we fund Africa’s wildlife areas adequately?” We urge the international community to greatly increase funding and technical support for Africa’s wildlife estate. Concurrently, we encourage African governments and hunters to take decisive steps to reform hunting industries and address challenges associated with that revenue generating option.
When so many facets of nonhuman life are commodified daily with little challenge, this paper looks to shed light on what is objectionable about commodifying nonhuman life. As a contribution in this direction, we undertake a comparative examination of the formation of two different but equally lively, and international, commodities: exotic pets and ecosystem carbon. In this paper we first set out to understand what characteristics of life matter in the production of the commodity. We argue that a particular mode of value-generating life predominates in each commodity circuit: in exotic pet trade, an individualized, 'encounterable' life; in ecosystem services, an aggregate, reproductive life. Second, we find that hierarchies between humans and other beings are highly generative in the formation and effects of lively commodities. On one hand, these hierarchies cast nonhumans in a disposable state that is integral to the functioning of exotic pet trade; on the other hand, these hierarchies are partly what ecosystem services are designed to address. Nevertheless, we find that reproduction of uneven species geographies is at work in both economies. The degree and nature of effect on the material conditions of nonhuman lives is, however, distinct, and our conclusion calls for greater attention to these differences.
Drawing on Alistair Fraser's concept of the ‘colonial present’, I show how private game farms are both conceptualised and deployed to maintain ideas of boundaries and belonging that sustain colonial ideals and identities. This article is located on the banks of the Mzinyathi River in KwaZulu-Natal, a river that has functioned as a boundary between various groups for almost two hundred years. The game farms located in this area conserve the idea of the river as a frontier space for ‘white’ South Africa and a boundary with ‘black’ South Africa, as well as entrenching their own boundaries through the imagination and realisation of an idealised space. I argue that the game farms safeguard and perpetuate a colonial present whilst obscuring opportunities for other ways of interpreting and using the space of the farm. Ultimately, how the game farms are now imagined and the way they operate is counterproductive to social transformation in the rural landscape.
This article addresses farm workers and farm dwellers' tenure insecurity and its relationship with farm conversions in the agricultural district of Cradock, located in the Eastern Cape Karoo. It argues that consequences of farm conversions for farm workers/dwellers' tenure security must be understood within the context of regional land and labour histories. Its main contention with existing positions that ‘blame’ farm conversions for increased evictions and an efflux of workers/dwellers from farms is that there is a correlative rather than causative relationship between farm conversions and farm worker/dweller displacements in the semi-arid areas. It argues that the extreme nature of the historical land question and the continued dominance of a historically white land-owning class in the semi-arid areas render farm workers/dwellers structurally vulnerable to having their residential arrangements on farms terminated at any given moment. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Cradock between 2009 and 2011, the article shows that game farm conversions tend to perpetuate existing land and power relations on farms as they have prevailed over time. However, it also argues that the distinctiveness of game farm conversions lies in their near ‘irreversibility’ as a land use form which creates more permanently securitised and sealed-off pockets of consolidated land in the countryside. These transformations increase the erosion of farm workers/dwellers' embedded social histories and cultural imprint as a labouring class on the landscape.
Each year ARCAS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in northern Guatemala receives 200 to 700 animals: cardboard boxes stuffed with baby parrots, crates full of lizards, monkeys with leashes ringing their necks. Many of these animals were confiscated while being smuggled for the pet trade. Seized animals represent a fraction of overall trade (legal and illegal) in and out of Guatemala and of global trade, worth tens of billions of dollars annually. Forming wild animals into companion commodities in these bio-economic circuits involves severing them from their social, ecological, and familial networks and replacing these systems with human-provided supports: food, shelter, and diversion. Many of these commodities fail because the animals die. For the few animals that are confiscated alive, rehabilitation for return to the wild is a form of decommodification attempted through various misanthropic practices—actions and routines designed to instill in animals fear and even hatred of humans—that aim to divest animals of human ties. This article draws on participant observation and interview fieldwork and socioeconomic scholarship to critically examine the dual processes of making and unmaking lively companion commodities. It suggests that commodification and decommodification are not processes of “denaturing” and “renaturing,” respectively. Rather, following Haraway and Smith, they are both productions of particular natures. This article considers the differential contours and subjects of these natures, as well as their ecological and ethical stakes, concluding by suggesting that the collapse of the culture–nature dualism should not preclude acknowledgment of nonhuman animals’ wildness and the violence that can attend its attrition.
Against the backdrop of post-Apartheid neoliberal reform, South African landowners have gained the option to acquire full ownership over wild animals on their land. Corresponding with this, approximately one sixth of South Africa's total land has been ‘game-fenced’ and converted for wildlife-based production (i.e. hunting, ecotourism, live trade and venison production). This article analyzes the institutional process in which authority concerning access to wildlife is being restructured, and argues that the unfolding property regime leads to an intensified form of green grabbing. To demonstrate this, the article singles out three particular wildlife policy institutions which make clear (a) how private property rights to wildlife are negotiated and implemented, (b) how wildlife ownership is firmly interlocked with land ownership, (c) how natural entities are being converted to robust political and economical assets, and (d) what social consequences this has for rural South Africa.
There is a lack of consensus among some conservation NGOs and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This lack of consensus is due partly to a lack of reliable information on the economic significance and ecological impact of the industry. We provide a review of the scale of the trophy hunting industry, and assess both positive and negative issues relating to hunting and conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting occurs in 23 countries in Africa, with the largest industries occurring in southern Africa and Tanzania, where the industry is expanding. The trophy hunting industry has remained static or is shrinking in Central and West Africa. A minimum of 1,394,000 km2 is used for trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, which exceeds the area encompassed by national parks. Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism. However, there are a number of problems associated with the industry which limit conservation benefits. Several of these problems are common to multiple countries, suggesting that if solutions were developed, conservation benefits would accrue over large areas.
Inclusion of Panthera Leo in the Definition of ‘Listed Large Predator.’” (Section 1 of Draft Threatened or Protected Species Regulations). Correspondence from President of South African Predator Association to Ms
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“Countering the Moral and Ethical Argument for Canned Hunting of Captive Bred Lions in South Africa.”
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“Limpopo Province Considers Legalising Canned Lion Hunting.”
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“US Gets a Taste for Lion Burgers.”
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“Ghost of Apartheid Returns to Farmlands.”
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“Airlines Send SA Trophy Hunting Industry into Tailspin with Cargo Ban.”
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“Building the Ethical Dimension of the Environmental Right: The Contribution of the South African Predator Breeders Association v the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.”
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