Benefits of luxury ecotourism vs. trophy hunting???

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Jun 29th, 2005, 03:19 PM
  #1
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Benefits of luxury ecotourism vs. trophy hunting???

I have heard over and over how valuable a commodity trophy hunting is to some African countries, but does anybody have any idea how we, who are for the most part "luxury ecotourists", for lack of a better available term, measure up to trophy hunters and to those doing simpler budget safaris?

I fail to see how those of us who are spending in the $350 - $700 pppns are not benefiting the wildlife at least as much as the trophy hunter. While the trophy hunter may still be dropping twice as much money, he/she is also depleting wildlife. Although I reluctantly believe that this does more good than harm, as the poaching in the area disappears, I also believe that the poaching is nearly non-existent in established areas where there are luxury lodges.

I wish there was a way to get a really good camera into some of these bloodthirsty hunters hands and convert some of them to ecotourism. I mean is the thrill of the KILL that intoxicating that it would never be matched by taking some really beautiful photographs and then allowing the animal to see another day? Unfortunately, however, I do think that those whom engage in trophy hunting have a void to fill in their ego's and by killing the animal and possibly more importantly dropping the big money that allows them a license to kill, that most of these people may be hopeless.

There are some areas that have reclaimed the land from trophy hunting operations and returned the land for strictly photo safaris. Such places include the concession that Chitabe is located and the land that Phinda just gobbled up, Zuka, I believe is the name. Is this really a victory or is the hunting just relocated to a new area entirely that did not have hunting beforehand?

It is unfortunate that there are not more people doing the type of safaris that we are doing. Doing so would probably put more pressure on hunting, likely driving up prices if there were more people willing and able to invest the amount of money necessary for a luxury photosafari.

I don't really know where I am going with this, but I did want to express this to the board.

Roccco is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 11:43 PM
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The problem with tourism in these countries is that the government doesn't benefit much from the big bucks you spend, and you're donations to the cause aren't much more then a backpacker or an independent visitor in a 4x4 driving through a park. Hunting contributes 8-10 times the amount that tourism does, with less demand on the infrastructure or the environment. In other words the big bucks you spend is being enjoyed by the safari operators. It employs alot of people, and supports a supply chain of course, but still, the trophy fees are huge.

In Botswana, a lot of hunting concessions were required to become dual purpose-to do photographic safaris, too. A few other countries are looking at this also I've heard. Tanzania between the Selous and the Mozambique border for example. All to increase revenue.

I am one of those horrible people who feel there is a place for controlled hunting-culling elephalts for instance in places like Botswana where the environment is suffering from the huge numbers,their destructive nature and cannot get relief. But without valid reasons, that is where I start to agree with the tree huggers.

Besides, people who want to hunt will hunt as long as the govenments need the revenue.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Jun 30th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Does anyone consider a $10,000 fee to hunt an elephant huge? Or $5 or 10,000 to hunt a cheetah, which is endangered? Or $5000 to hunt a lion, which will always be a big, fully maned head of the pride? (Especially considering that once he is killed, there are likely going to be more battles among other males for dominance, and they may die as collateral damage. And the new male will kill any cubs so the females will come into season and breed with him, thus killing a much larger number.)

Sorry, I don't consider these fees to be "huge". They are laughingly small, especially when considering that some of these animals are endangered, others (like lion) are threatened and should be considered endangered, and that hunters always take out selective populations. Try to find a big tusker in Zambia left to hunt...since they have re-opened elephant hunting, the biggest remaining ones will soon be gone. There are of the spectacular fullymaned lions anymore either, and that is definitely a result of selective hunting. We don't really know what that has done to the lion genepool.

If it sounds like I'm totally against hunting, I'm not. I think there is a place for hunting, especially for large populations of unendangered prey/herd animals. There is a good environmental argument for hunting in these cases. (Better to hunt game on game farms than run cattle on them.)

The supposedly "huge amounts of money" are actively promoted by the hunting industry's pr...but these amounts are actually pretty trivial. And in areas like Zambia, when you add in the "off the record" hunting that hunting safaris allow and even encourage...well the fees are looking even more trivial.

To Roccco's other point, I make a conscious practice of trying to include camps in Botswana that have hunting rights but are not using them in favor of tourist activities. Check the W-S website by camp.
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Jun 30th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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My feelings are mixed on this issue although I lean toward the non-hunters. But just my two cents, I recently read an article in Conde Nast Traveler which said the fees are more like $50,000 to hunt. FWIW.
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Jun 30th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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I think in Botswana that the government does benefit a lot from eco-tourism, I understood that was one of the reasons for the very high charges, that a large amount goes direct to the government. In most other countries that is probably not the case.
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Jun 30th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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I think the CondeNast story was talking about total cost of a trip, not about the fees paid to the government, which was the subject of this thread. And I don't think one should assume that this is, in fact, the average per trip. I don't believe this was a documented average revenue, just a number thrown out by a (not unbiassed) commentator.

I don't think any government has ANY hunting permit fees at $50,000 per animal, or even anything close to that.
It is also likely that a hunting party has multiple permits for multiple animals-- this could add up quickly.

If an area is used for hunting, it cannot accomodate nearly the number as can an area used for photo tourism. It is true that the "per tourist" total $ **MAY** higher for hunters...but you can't have that many hunters in an area. (1) too many would scare the animals off (2) given that many of these hunters are actually lousy shots, it would be dangerous (3) there wouldn't be enough animals (4)if there were lots of other hunters & vehicles around, each one couldn't pretend he was the last of the great white macho hunters on an exceptionally adventurous and dangerous trip. So per sq. mile of wilderness, you can make more from photo tourists. Much more. And THAT is why , in Botswana, where high$ tourism is booming, that hunting areas can profitably be turned into photo tourism areas. BECAUSE PHOTO TOURISM, WELL MANAGED, IS MORE PROFITABLE for the country. Now how a country chooses to charge for those thing and divvy up the pie is their own matter. Many of these countries should, in fact, raise the daily fees in parks and/or reserves-- that could change the balance of who delivers the most $$ to the government immediately.
tashak is offline  
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Jun 30th, 2005, 08:48 PM
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Tasha,

I believe that cooncat was likely talking about the same Conde Nast article that I tore to shreds on this forum a few months ago. That author was so clueless that I am surprised that this article even went to press.

I will top that thread for anyone that missed it.
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Jul 1st, 2005, 05:17 AM
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My hmble personal opinion is that they would not 'need' any of these revenues from hunters if they actually worked to establish 'normal' tourism, the number of visitors to Tanzania as an exampkle it a pitance, and yet there is plenty of room for sustainable development that will bring employment and huge benefits to the local communities without destorying or effecting the enviroment whatsoever.
For the vast majority of travelers places like Tanzania are just not in their top 100, not for lack of wanting, there are amazing beaches along the coast, islands, snorkeling opportunities etc.
I am not talking of rows of Florida style high rises and condos but there is nothing wrong with nice low rise 3 star properties along the coast, resort style, spa palces etc, with decent prices that would provide direct employment to hundreds and bring a good standard of living to thousands.
Simple regulations, no builidng within 100 meters of the beach, not more than 20% of the land for actual building, no buidling higher than the current tallest trees, such rules are applied and 'work' in many placeas around the world.
Levy a controlled USD 30 Enviroment protection fee to everyone arriving and use that cash to help protect the animals and the enviroment.
I think it terrible that hunters still abound and that there are still markets that themselves generate pouching problems.
Use some of that revenue to take local people, school kids etc to see the game, many in the towns have never seen the wildlife of their own country. There is so much that could be done.
The only tourism seems to be the absolute budget backpacker or those available to spend thousands, something in between would benefit the whole country. Imagine just a small 80 room resort on the coast pouring in thousands of dollars a month into the local community.
JamesA is offline  
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Jul 1st, 2005, 05:20 AM
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I just want to say that my intention was not to support the hunting lobby. As I posted on Rocco's other thread I am not a hunter, (I'm a vegetarian for pete's sake) and I can't fathom why anyone would want to kill these animals for sport. I've never been to Africa - next year I hope - so you all would know more about all this than me. I was just putting that information out there.
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