Demands for competing land uses that are not compatible with conservation practices, make the need for viable conservation incentives more urgent. Well governed trophy hunting, generates critically needed incentives and revenue to maintain and restore wildlife as land use and to carry out conservation actions, including anti-poaching interventions. It can return much needed income, jobs, and other important economic and social benefits to local communities.
Extending conservation areas through appropriate co-operative arrangements, allows for the maintenance of ecological patterns and processes which provide greater ecological resilience and promotes the long-term persistence of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the broader landscape. However, such an approach should be interlinked with the local socio-economic context, whilst recognizing that these drivers operate at a regional and international level as well.
The National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (NEMPA Act 53 of 2003) recognizes the access to biological resources in protected areas for traditional, subsistence and commercial purposes: “to promote sustainable utilisation of protected areas for the benefit of people, in a manner that would preserve the ecological character of such areas.” Section 17 (h) further states that the purpose of a protected area is to provide for the sustainable use of natural and biological resources. Excess game, is such a resource and hunting a legitimate activity which is consistent with the sustainable management of wildlife.
Wildlife economic benefits in and adjacent to National Parks are also in line with government’s commitment towards the development of the green economy in South Africa, recognising that natural resources and ecosystem services are shared between different users. This is in line with the Buffer zone strategy of National Parks. The Vision is to integrate National Parks into local landscapes for the benefit of those living adjacent to the parks whilst maintaining the larger system’s integrity and promoting environmentally sound practices. This forms and integral part of broader multi-stakeholder co-operation which seeks to improve livelihoods, whilst improving the environmental estate through sound environmental practices and programmes. The KNP and neighbouring Conservation areas are contributing jointly towards the conservation effort, having for many years shared the Vision of a large open ecosystem with the Greater Kruger (GK).
Key guiding principles govern such integrated conservation land use approaches: ethical practices, maintaining the sustainability and integrity of systems, compliance with the legal framework and relevant protocols, transparent decision-making, accountability, and co-partnerships allowing for the fair and equitable distribution of benefits from the use of the natural resources.
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
Certain of the Reserves do not permit hunting and do not benefit financially or otherwise from hunting activities and accordingly have not subscribed to this Protocol.
The series of hunting protocols have been established which are adapted by those reserves and regions within the GK area, which hunt. All utilisation of the natural resource are governed by the underlying principles of ecological sustainability1, taking into consideration economic and social best practice. Professional (commercial) hunting is conducted in these areas with the goals of providing the income to contribute to the management of the environment in a manner in line with each reserves objectives and the best sustainable practice possible and to support social initiatives of community development as per Reserve specific programmes.
In determining off take numbers, due regard is given to the population dynamics and general well- being of the particular species. All decisions must be based on accepted techniques and methodology and be in the realm of accepted conservation practice. This will be based on recent, up to date and relevant data on the particular population. As far as possible the populations should be seen in the broader GKNP context and not merely on a farm or reserve basis. In this regard any off-take should be based on preapproved numbers and in terms of the Management plan and approved by the JMC.
Bearing the above in mind, the protocol will be adapted as new information becomes available. All hunting must be undertaken within a responsible, professional and ethical manner.
Read full report here: https://conservationaction.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Hunting-Protocol-GKNP-October-2018.pdf