National Geographic : 2017 Oct
investment every year, “and you’re not going to get that shooting lions for $10,000.” For some, the hunting-antihunting debate boils down to Western environmentalists try- ing to dictate their agenda to Africa—a form of neocolonialism, as Marnewecke puts it. “Who gives anybody the right, sitting in another conti- nent, to preach to us how we should manage our wildlife?” Hunters make the point that with all the outfitters paying to operate in conservancies and with trophy hunters paying fees for the game they shoot, hunting indeed has made significant financial contributions to the continent, and to habitat protection, while all that antihunting forces have done is make noise. As for what happens to the hunters’ fees, that is notoriously hard to pin down—and impossible in kleptocracies. And anyway, Packer says, when Minimum price for trophy hunting packages in 2011 (in U.S. dollars) Mozambique Namibia Tanzania Zambia Zimbabwe Cape buffalo Leopard African elephant Lion $24,113 $12,893 $55,530 $73,228 $76,116 $19,772 $45,686 $39,101 THE PRICE ON THEIR HEADS The cost of trophy hunts in Africa varies widely by country and animal. In addition to an outfitter’s daily rate, the overall cost can include fees to governments and landowners and money for community develop- ment support and antipoaching measures. MONICA SERRANO, NGM STAFF; MEG ROOSEVELT SOURCE: PETER A . LINDSEY, VERNON BOOTH, AND OTHERS, PLOS ONE, 2012 it comes to funding lion conservation, “it’s such an underwhelming amount generated by sport hunting, it’s no wonder that despite years of lion hunting being allowed in these countries, the lion population has plummeted.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which mon- itors animal populations, reports that the num- ber of lions in five populations in Tanzania fell by two-thirds from 1993 to 2014. Yet hunters say they’ve helped fund every- thing from health clinics to schools to water wells to boots-on-the-ground assistance against poachers, all while leaving a lighter footprint on the land than the often cited alternative to killing game: wildlife-watching in the form of photographic safaris. The UN World Tourism Organization estimated that 35.4 million interna- tional tourists visited sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 and spent $24.5 billion. Operations designed to attract a higher-end clientele that craves a warm shower, big meal, and cool drink at the end of the day require infrastructure and equipment, may- be including a fleet of vehicles. There’s a danger, some hunters argue, that too many tourists will spoil the very experience they’re seeking. “ The Serengeti is amazing,” says Natasha Illum-Berg, a Swedish-born pro- fessional buffalo hunter based in Tanzania, who, like Marnewecke, leads clients into the bush for “hunting experiences” and trophies. “ The Ngorongoro Crater is a miracle. All these national parks that are filled with minibus after minibus of photographic tourists—it’s fantastic,” she says, noting that the minibuses also put pressure on those iconic wildlands. “But what about the other areas?” she says. “How many people have been to the area I work in, that’s 500 square miles? This year maybe 20 people.” Without trophy hunting, Illum-Berg argues, there would be no antipoach- ing there, no management. “I keep on saying: Give me a better idea than hunting as long as it’s sustainable.” She adds, “The big question in the end is, ‘Who’s going to pay for the party?’” the earlieSt eViDence of an elephant having been killed by human hands dates back to a blue- mud swamp in Siberia nearly 14,000 years ago.