International Conservation Body Says Yes to Trophy Hunting:
Guiding Principles Released by IUCN
By Rolf D. Baldus
The Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has adopted guiding principles on trophy hunting. The aim is that these guidelines will be widely used by IUCN members, Governments and others for policy and management decisions related to trophy hunting, for instance in the design of new trophy hunting programs or the review of existing ones. The Sheep Specialist Group of IUCN already published a similar directive several years ago.
The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) is a science-based network of more than 7,500 volunteer experts from almost every country in the world, all working together towards conserving biodiversity. The majority of members are deployed in more than 120 Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities and Task Forces.
The IUCN has long recognized that the wise and sustainable use of wildlife can be consistent with and contribute to its conservation, because the social and economic benefits derived from the use of species can provide incentives for people to conserve them and their habitats. This document can therefore build on existing IUCN policies. Trophy hunting is seen as a tool, which can be used to create incentives for the conservation of species and their habitats and for the equitable sharing of the benefits associated with the use of natural resources. The Principles highlight that species which are rare or threatened may be included in trophy hunting as part of site-specific conservation strategies.
The President of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), Bernard Lozé, welcomed the Guiding Principles as another political milestone of IUCN in the field of the sustainable use of natural resources. He thanked IUCN for its continued engagement with the topic. "The general principles outlined in the document are in line with the policies and the conservationist thinking of the world hunting organization CIC", he said. As a concrete example to demonstrate this link, he quoted from the IUCN document, which states that trophy hunting "is a form of wildlife use that, when well managed, may assist in furthering conservation objectives by creating the revenue and economic incentives for the management and conservation of the target species and its habitat, as well as supporting local livelihoods. However, if poorly managed, it can fail to deliver these benefits."
The CIC President also pointed out that the two examples, which the IUCN SSC describes in the annex of the document as successful examples of sustainable trophy hunting, namely the Namibian conservancies and the Torghar Markhor hunting project are both winners of the prestigious CIC Markhor Prize.
The CIC has translated the Guiding Principles into various languages, such as Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. They will soon be available on the CIC website: www.cic-wildlife.org/
The full text for the Guiding Principles can be found here: https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/