Amongst us in the Safari Hunting fraternity there lies an army more powerful, more dedicated and plenty more experienced to carry out the very essentials of conservation, than any other resource or group. We are not scientists, we don't have fancy PHD's and accolades of honor in the great conservation halls. We don't plaster our achievements in newspapers and social media and shy away from the limelight and accusations, the frothing haters of our tradition.
Day in and day out we protect those parts of rural Africa where safari hunting is a designated tool aimed at stopping biodiversity destruction. These are age old reserves declared by governments as multiple use zones with one concern in mind - stop human encroachment by providing an alternative source of income to the traditional methods of poaching, logging and slash and burn agriculture. This is fact - more habitat in Africa is protected under the system of Safari Hunting than any other form of conservation - we cannot escape this and in South Africa this concept has come full circle and now stands as a shining example for the rest of Africa to follow.
It so happens that trophy hunting has proven to be a low impact high yield method of ensuring this purpose (as opposed to photographic or Eco tourism) - allowing communities and governments to benefit. However in many cases an over reliance on safari hunting as the sole source of revenue has seen African governments over utilizing their resource regardless of conservation principals. More often than not these hunting zones are corruptly allocated to operators who do not hold the same ethical and moral commitment many of the older more experienced safari operators and professional hunters hold.
In South Africa however the private ownership of both land and all the wildlife that occurs upon it, has resulted in a surge in wildlife numbers to such an extent that the country holds more game today than it did centuries ago. Case in point: if it pays it stays - and nowhere else can this example be more exemplified than in South Africa where the stock market even speculates in the genetic diversity and strength of certain key species. Why then is so much money spent and wasted in the name of so called charity conservation NGO's when a perfectly successful system already exists?
The large NGO's and Conservation groups would do well to note the success of South Africa and the resurgence of it's game numbers fuelled primarily by Trophy Hunting and the private ownership of game!