SOUTH AFRICA: 84% of tourists vote to ban trophy hunting

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SOUTH AFRICA: 84% of tourists vote to ban trophy hunting©olgamaai/Shutterstock

The South African public and international tourists no longer appreciate trophy hunting. At least 84% of them want the South African government to ban this tourist practice, which decimates wildlife. This is the result of a survey published on 10 August 2022, World Lion Day. A feline particularly threatened by trophy hunting.

World Animal Protection, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that advocates for and monitors animal welfare, commissioned a survey on public attitudes towards trophy hunting, which is widespread in South Africa.  The results of the survey of 10,900 people, including international tourists from the countries that most frequently visit South Africa and South African citizens, were released on 10 August 2022.

The findings of the survey reveal that 84% of international tourists agree that the South African government should prioritise wildlife-friendly tourism over trophy hunting. Furthermore, 7 out of 10 South Africans agree that their country would be a more attractive tourist destination if they banned trophy hunting.

Trophy hunting decimates lions

The World Animal Protection study is published on World Lion Day. A species particularly threatened by trophy hunting. According to official figures, between 2008 and 2018, South Africa exported a thousand trophies per year to the United States, Europe, Russia and China.

In South Africa, between 8,000 and 12,000 lions are raised on farms and will never know freedom and the wild. Most of them are bred for one reason: hunting. The lucky ones are used for tourism and scientific experiments.

At the same time, only 3,500 lions – four times less – live naturally in the wild in the country. This anomaly is about to be corrected as the South African government announced in early May 2021 its intention to ban the breeding of lions in captivity and will soon propose a bill to formalise this decision.

Read also-SOUTH AFRICA: Government to ban captive breeding of lions

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the African lion is now a threatened, vulnerable and declining species. Indeed, their population has halved in the space of 25 years. The latest studies estimate that half of the current population of African lions will have disappeared by 2035, leaving around 10,000 cats in the wild. A situation reminiscent of Asia, where only 600 lions remain today.

Boris Ngounou

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