This week Safari Club International brought its fight against trophy import ban proposals from around the world in to Kasane in Botswana where the nineteenth anniversary of SCI’s sponsored Southern African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWFC) meeting, which started in Botswana in 2002, is taking place.
According to their published marketing information, the annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum is Safari Club International’s premier activity in Africa. These annual events bring together senior government officials and the professional hunting leadership, amongst other, to discuss the sustainable use of wildlife across Africa. According to SCI, a pro trophy hunting, pro gun lobbying organisation based in the United States of America, the AWCF provides African representatives with a platform to unite in an effort to combat and end the intervention of African wildlife conservation programs by misinformed Western activists and politicians.
Laird Hamberlin, the SCI CEO, has said in the aforementioned September 10th publication, that Safari Club International is the only organisation with the right resources and relationships with established leaders on the ground from Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe that could successfully beat the trophy hunting bans. “This year African conservation has faced numerous attacks by way of proliferation of trophy import ban proposals.”
He is referring to the Jane Goodall Act which is intended to ban elephant trophy imports to Canada. A proposed ban on all CITES listed animals has been introduced to Switzerland’s National Council. In the United Kingdom, DEFRA is considering the ban on all or selected trophies. The Cecil Act in the USA will ban elephant and lion trophy imports from Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and will require that all species proposed for listing the US Endangered Species Act be treated as if they are already listed. It will also require public notice and comment for all trophy imports of listed species, making importation more difficult. State trophy import and possession bans have also been considered or have been introduced in Connecticut, Illinois and California.
TROPHY HUNTING IS NOT UBUNTU
Two years ago, on the 28th of November 2019, the EMS Foundation published an article called The Long Tentacles of Safari Club International Undermining Conservation Efforts in Africa. The article was published during the 2019 AWCF meeting which took place in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, last year the event had to be held virtually from Botswana, due to the global COVID_19 pandemic and this year the event returned to Kasane in Botswana, it is a hybrid event, supposedly limited to fifty persons attending in person.
In the research article called Neo-Colonialism and Greed: Africans’ Views on Trophy Hunting in Social Media Dr Muchazondida Mkono examines the views of Africans on trophy hunting. Dr Mkono says that the cultural concept of Ubuntu offers insight into an African concept of sustainability and this can inform the Western sustainability model and make it relevant to Africa. In the Ubuntu philosophy, the wellbeing of all humanity and of all nature takes precedence, before the rights of the individual trophy hunter.
Neo-colonialism is the use of economic or political pressures to control or influence other countries especially former dependencies. It is the practise of using economic imperialism and conditional aid to influence a developing country instead of the previous colonial methods of direct military control or indirect political control.
Beyond the negative ecological effects, trophy hunting is rooted in colonial modes of extraction. Trophy hunting continues to perpetuate a neo-colonial chauvinism and the flow of resources from the South to the North. Alternative conservation activities exist that reject and avoid a colonial practice of extraction in favour of more ecologically sustaninable and dignifying activities.
Trophy hunting inflicts and perpetuates notions of abuse, subjugation and control, and importantly, research has shown that Africans find trophy hunting objectionable because of its complex historical and postcolonial associations – the dominant pattern was resentment towards what was viewed as the neo-colonial character of trophy hunting, in the way it privileges Western elites in accessing Africa’s wildlife resources.
Research shows that trophy hunting is not an effective tool for conservation in Africa – the trophy hunting industry is rife with mismanagement and corruption, harmful to animal populations, is grounded in in colonial systems that have marginalized, and continue to marginalize local African populations. This comprehensive research combines the knowledge of anthropology, ecology, economics, ethology, history, indigenous studies, literature studies and political science.
It is so utterly disappointing that the new democratic South African government continues to support the events organised by Safari Club International whose questionable strategy in Africa plan has been highlighted by Jared Kukura.
“For instance the strategic plan raises concerns about the indigenization of Zimbabwe’s hunting industry, stating that if not properly implanted indigenization will eliminate the old-line hunting families and the traditional knowledge necessary to assure a quality hunting experience by overseas spot hunters and management concessions.”
The content of the article, titled Safari Club International’s Plan to Colonize Africa’s Hunting Grounds includes further reference to SCI’s strategy in Africa which “casts blame on indigenous Africans for decreasing financial viability of trophy hunting in Tanzania, adding one of the biggest problems are smaller indigenous companies who have inside connections to people in town.”
Botswana has auctioned elephant trophy hunts since President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted the five year hunting ban in May 2019, but according to the SCI strategic plan it was recommended that Botswana’s citizen hunters be banned from hunting trophy hunting animals.
African countries still have wildlife and biodiversity – albeit dwindling – and foreign countries continue to scramble for these. We have to assume that the recolonisation of Africa is being assisted by African rulers. This exploitation process continues in Kasane at present – white trophy hunters are meeting with African governments to try to control the future of Africa’s wildlife. African leaders are seemingly satisfied to allow, for a price, the white hunters desire to kill and adorn their walls with trophy’s signifying their conquest of wild Africa.
Image Credit: Safari Club International and
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