As avid hunters and members of the Professional Hunting Association of South Africa, we at Zingela Forwarders have a deeply personal link to the hunting and trophy industry which goes way beyond the confines of our business. While we specialise in the freighting and forwarding of trophies to destinations around the world, we know that hunting plays a very important role in the conservation process.
Conservation requires much more than merely placing a ban on hunting. In fact, banning hunting can create the opposite of the desired effect. This has been seen with the complete ban on hunting imposed on animals such as Rhinoceros and Elephant. The result is the creation or enhancement of the black-market trade in products from these species which results in a significant increase in poaching levels.
In order for conservation to make a real impact it requires funding, not only for the day-to-day operations, but also for the education of communities surrounding designated conservation areas. This education comes in the form of providing much-needed information as to the role which conservation bodies fulfill. Conservation can be an income generator for these communities, with much more far-reaching benefits than those accrued by poaching operations. Hunting provides much-needed revenue for such conservation operations.
In addition to this, hunting – when properly managed and regulated – provides the ideal opportunity to manage the conservation of an entire area, not simply a single species. This includes dedicated anti-poaching operations to protect and safeguard sensitive species. Through the income generated by hunting activities, entire areas can benefit through the reversal of habitat loss, reduction of the impact of encroaching human settlement and depletion of food and prey resources.
Recently, a petition was received by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider the listing status of the African Leopard. The petition puts forward the assertion that hunting plays a critical and integral role in wildlife conservation.
This goes hand-in-hand with increasing pressure from the hunting fraternity onto the anti-hunting organisations to climb down from their soapboxes and take real action which will aid in the conservation of endangered and sensitive species by making much-needed financial contributions to conservation drives to overcome and stop poaching activities.
We fully support all moves which can assist in the elimination poaching activities. Whether this be through the creation of income streams for the local populations surrounding conservation areas, general education on the importance and benefit of hunting and conservation and the broader fight against poaching.