Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oxford Professor defends KAZA

Professor Amy Dickman, a conservation biologist and senior research fellow in Wild Cat Conservation at the University of Oxford says that while it is “disappointing” but entirely unsurprising to see Members of Parliament (MPs) pass the Trophy Hunting import ban,” there is a need to ensure that conservation and local livelihoods are not jeopardised by the United Kingdom (UK) import ban.

Last week Friday, MPs voted to support a contentious prohibition on importing hunting trophies from thousands of species into the UK, effectively prohibiting British hunters from bringing lion, elephant, and giraffe body parts into the country.

Before the vote, many representatives from community-run conservation areas in the four African countries that make up the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) had warned that the bill would have a negative impact on both the preservation of wildlife and the way of life for nearby communities.

Professor Dickman said MPs who voted for the bill “failed to recognise that, carried out properly, wild trophy hunting can provide vital revenue for conserving biodiverse habitats and many thousands of species. In most areas, there is no other viable wildlife-based revenue available, so banning hunting will hinder effective management.

Worse, it will increase the likelihood of land being converted into uses such as agriculture and livestock-keeping, because the maintenance of natural habitats for wildlife imposes major costs on local people and provides no meaningful economic benefit.”

The U.K trophy hunting bill has been “driven extensively by lobby groups misinformation and it’s really alarming to see the amount of misinformation in the second reading you just quoted from,” Professor Dickman said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today. ” Myself and many other conservationists have got significant doubts about this bill,” she added.

She claimed that suggestions by Conservative MP Henry Smith, who introduced the bill to Parliament that the U.K. wishes to take a stand against trophy hunting are unfounded. “If the U.K wanted to take a stand against trophy hunting then what they should do is ban trophy hunting domestically,” she said, adding that “if it was a moral consideration that trophy hunting is wrong, then they should do it here (UK)”. Professor Dickman was alluding to the Scottish red deer hunting when she said that trophy hunting ban should be done “here”. She said trophy hunting is not “a major threat to any species in the red list. The major threats to species are habitat loss, poaching and conflict with people”.

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