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African Professional Hunters Association

The recent hunting of two elephant bulls in an area that borders a national park, has raised a question. A question that cannot be answered to everyone’s satisfaction.

Are there certain animals, that we as professional hunters, should avoid hunting?

Hunting blocks that border game reserves, national parks, protected areas etc are vital in the importance to the well being and sustainability of many of the above mentioned land masses. They form a buffer zone between, often, populated Africa and the habitat that holds the game in these non-hunting areas. They are, by and large, the “security fence” to non-hunting areas.

Quotas are issued for the legal and legitimate hunting of game in these buffer zones, game that has free movement between hunting and non-hunting blocks. To prevent a Government from degazetting a hunting block,( which ultimately results in massive habitat loss and absolute wildlife depletion)financial resources are essential. These funds are generated through responsible hunting activities and contributions from hunting operators.

Insofar as the hunting of animals that could possibly co-inhabit either area on any given day, what proof is there, as to which area is general domicile? How does one recognise the zebra that migrates later in the season, the leopard that territorially crosses over, the elephant bull that mated with females in a non hunting area and now reverts to a hunting block.

How could one possibly manage a hunting block if some species were more equal than others?

However, the APHA has a unique membership, that owes a responsible outlook to the management of how hunting is conducted in such areas.

What we do, MUST be for the greater good of conservation, habitat security and all the positive aspects that responsible hunting provides.

Responsible practices:

1. Age-based hunting.
2. Do not post photos on social media, of the obvious species that will inflame public opinion.
3. Consider your actions on any given safari and what repercussions they will have for the greater wellbeing of the industry.
4. Do not deliberately market your areas as bordering non-hunting areas.
5. As APHA we must seek greater co-operation with those that operate in the non-hunting areas. What is required, is mature
    dialogue between the various parties to ensure a sensible and realistic 
solution that benefits wildlife and habitat security. For 
     that 
 must be paramount.

The reality is that there are certain elephant bulls that we simply must avoid a confrontation with.

They need to be collared or detailed information must be forthcoming as to a specific bull that is unusually large tusked and is a known entity. The bull who frequents the Amboseli, they call “Craig”’comes to mind.

As to ignore such could come at grave cost to the entire act of elephant hunting and that in turn would be a threat to much of Africa’s habitat, that hunting currently supports and pays for through the legal and legitimate hunting of these pachyderms.

Regardless of how anyone feels about these topics, ultimately policies should be discussed in a pragmatic, respectful manner and to be decided by, legitimate stakeholders, not mob styled social media reactions.

Paul Stones
APHA President