Sustainable Use for Wildlife Conservation (SUWC)
The sustainable harvesting of wildlife through evidence-based, community-led, ethical hunting-shooting management, is integral to biodiversity conservation.
Our social and economic success is limited to the health of the environment.
For example, if we catch all the fish and kill all the animals, then only so many people can be fed, and in-turn so much money can be made before we exhaust our resources.
Conversely, if we invest millions into environmental / wildlife preservation with no promise of economic return, that is neither viable, nor sustainable.
When the social, environmental and economical needs are in balance, sustainability is achieved.
SUSTAINABLE USE for WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
The objective of this ‘Open Thesis Discussion’ is to inform decision-makers, industry stakeholders and the general public about issues, current implementations and opportunities relating to the sustainable wildlife conservation management through evidence-based, ethical hunting and shooting cull plans.
At the same time by opening discussion it will enable those in the sustainable shooting and hunting conservation business to re-evaluate their position, ethics and objectives when managing wildlife for social-economic purposes.
Creating a ‘Net Positive Conservation Value’ must be the primary target when managing biodiversity and social-economic programmes. This is based on minimising biodiversity loss and balancing it with improvements elsewhere so that the positive conservation impact outweighs the necessary negative impacts involved in achieve the positive conservation values.
Sustainable Use for Wildlife Management
Sustainable wildlife management (SWM) is the sound management of wildlife species to sustain their populations and habitat over time, taking into account the social-economic needs of human populations - the term “wildlife” refers to “terrestrial or semi-terrestrial vertebrates”. This requires that all land-users within the wildlife habitat are aware of, and consider the effects of their activities on the wildlife resources and habitat, and on other user groups.
In view of its social, environmental and economical value, wildlife is an important renewable natural resource, with significance for areas such as rural development, land-use planning, food supply, tourism, scientific research and cultural heritage. If sustainably managed, wildlife can provide continuous nutrition and income and contribute considerably to the alleviation of poverty as well as to safeguarding human and environmental health.
Hunting and shooting are widespread but highly diverse activities with many functions and in order to understand its impact we need to consider the social-cultural, economic and ecological role it plays; in other words, it is necessary to consider the role of hunting and shooting in society if policies for conservation are to be effective.
The impact of hunting and shooting depends on the social and legal context: i.e. the factors that motivate and regulate hunting.
The potential beneficial impacts of well-managed hunting and shooting have been well documented, with hunting and shooting goals very similar to those of conservation goals, and therefore, best practice in hunting and shooting can bring about positive results in an ecosystem.
These findings from research projects can therefore be used to structure debate and provide a common platform of objective opinion and shared knowledge on which relevant and pertinent wildlife conservation decisions can be made.
Sustainable Solutions: Figure 1
A ‘Sustainable Solution’ can be defined as; 'a solution that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' 1
Sustainable solutions can be created and developed from the three dimensions of sustainability. When all three pillars are resilient and robust, people live in a system where high-quality life is the norm. They have access to clean healthy environment, a satisfactory level of economic well-being, and a strong level of social fulfilment. Out of these three pillars, environmental sustainability is most important because the other two pillars economic and social are reliant on upon the environment to a great extent.
Evidence-based, ethical hunting and shooting game harvesting cull plans can create sustainable wildlife solutions - Figure 1.
Social (People, Culture and Community)
The local community support and wider society benefits:
natural no-cost healthy protein food source;
local employment opportunities;
environment protection from wildlife habitat management;
goods and products sourced from animal harvest, i.e. skin, fur/feather, bone, teeth, sinew;
local cultural and tribal hunting traditions upholding humanity's first and most successful adaptation, hunting and gathering.
Environmental (Wildlife and Habitat Biodiversity)
The local habitat and ecosystem are persevered and enhanced through:
the need to create and protect a sustainable harvestable game population;
reducing legal poaching by realising that a harvestable game population is worth more in a sustainable management programme;
thriving non-game wildlife populations as a direct and indirect result of game habitat preservation;
indigenous game species doing far less native habitat damage, and producing significantly less CO2 emissions than domestic cattle livestock;
continual research data collection and monitoring projects.
Economical (Trading Production/Services Value and Wealth)
The local economy generates income revenue from:
harvested game meat;
fees from game meat harvesting hunting/shooting activities, i.e. Game Fees, Conservation Fees, Hunting Area Fees and Community Fees;
direct employment from hunting/shooting activities;
goods/products sourced from harvested game, i.e. skin, fur/feather, bone, teeth, sinew;
potential game viewing tourism.
Safari Hunting or Conservation?
Robin Hurt delivers his considered opinion. 2
During my last 51 years as a Professional Hunter I have witnessed much change. Human populations have increased dramatically and are in conflict with wildlife while, north of the Zambezi river, poaching pressure – particularly on elephant and rhino – has led to a staggering decline in wildlife numbers. Southern African countries largely escaped this poaching menace until recently.
I have been fortunate. My business and way of life has led me to safari in most of Africa’s premier game fields. Some countries are now closed to hunting or their wildlife populations mostly poached out. On the other hand, some of the best safari destinations offer increasing wildlife numbers resulting in superb hunting opportunities.
What I have learnt is this: if people living in the bush, neighbouring wildlife, don’t receive financial benefit from this resource, they won’t keep it. There are many ways to achieve sustainable use and longevity of species. Safari hunting is one of the best. It has been shown that countries that do not allow hunting have simply closed the door to legitimate use only to have it replaced by illegal use through poaching. Legal hunters don’t like poachers – their livelihood depends on healthy, thriving wildlife populations. The presence of safari hunters in the bush helps discourage poaching.
Sustainable Solutions (Figure 1)
When the social, environmental and economical needs are in balance, sustainability is achieved....Read More
1 Adapted from Brundtland Report 1987
2 The Field, (16th February 2015). In: 1st ed. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 16 Feb. 2015].