The Future for Hunting

The best chance to secure social acceptance for hunting lies primarily in the transparent implementation of and compliance with scientifically grounded sustainability rules, secondly in the full recognition of the role of local rural people in wildlife management, and thirdly in the behavior of hunters in the field and how they present themselves to the public. These three tenets, important as they are individually and in combination, should be adaptable and sensitive to varying local cultural, political and social contexts, and integrate local knowledge and cultural practices.READ MORE

Cheetah on the hunt. Photo Credit: Conny Damm

Protecting Hunting from the Hunters

Remember the days when it seemed that everyone smoked, everywhere, all the time? In planes, in pubs, at the game, in restaurants, at the office – I mean everyone, doing it everywhere, morning noon and night. Then somewhere, sometime, someone got a bee in their bonnet about the practice and started protesting. Low key at first, then increasingly vociferously as the medical evidence mounted and despite the best PR and lobbying efforts of some of the biggest, most cash flush companies in the world, the ripple became a swell, which became a tsunami of negative opinion and voila, the anti-smoking lobby carried the day.READ MORE

Trophy Hunting and Artificial Selection for Small Horns in Mountain Ungulates

Many mountain ungulates are much sought-after hunting trophies, and the IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group has long supported the inclusion of hunting in conservation programs.

About 20 years ago, we produced a statement that was later used as a basis for the IUCN Guiding Principles on Trophy Hunting. We recognize that sustainable hunting, in accordance to biological principles and including respect for local communities, can have many positive contributions to the conservation of mountain ungulates and their habitat.READ MORE

Photo Credit: Conny Damm

Politicizing Conservation: The Zimbabwe Elephant Conundrum

When the United States imposed a unilateral moratorium on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe in 2014, conservationists were taken by surprise. The moratorium’s sudden announcement in the Federal Register, the daily digest of all proposals and rule makings emanating from the United States executive branch, made it clear the ban was being imposed without the benefit of consultation with either Zimbabwe’s conservation agencies or the US public, as required by law.  The timing of the decision, coming during a period of both strained relations between Washington and Harare, and heightened international concern over widespread elephant poaching, stained it with suspicion of political motivations. READ MORE

In the New Machine Age, hunting helps us accept mortality as truth

Does hunting make us human? In the New Machine Age, we are all cyborgs — hybrids of flesh and technology, glowing with artificial enlightenment. So perhaps the better question is this: Does hunting keep us human?

In this country, hunting is both admired and despised. Anachronistic, it is a protest against the civilizing process, a process that combines neurotic desires with economic excess. The goal of civilization? Utopia. Soon, the civilizing narrative affirms, technology will surmount the pathos of the human condition and overcome the horror that is reality. Already, every trivial experience — vacationing at Disneyworld, snorkeling in the Seychelles — gets documented and flung into cyberspace, to be admired by virtual friends who don’t realize that these ersatz novelties were scripted by someone else.READ MORE

Rosie Cooney, Chair IUCN SULi, Shane Mahoney, Vice-Chair IUCN SULi during an excursion in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan after the Chunkurchak IUCN SULiCA Inaugural Meeting.

Sustainable Use of Wild Species: A Foundation for Conservation and for Local Livelihoods

The IUCN Policy Statement on Sustainable Use of Wild Living Resources asserts that “use of living resources, if sustainable, is an important conservation tool because the social and economic benefits derived from such use provide incentives for people to conserve them” (IUCN, 2000). As humans, we are inclined – under favourable governance conditions – to protect and maintain that which has value to us. There are clear linkages between conservation success and benefits deriving to people from the use of wildlife. This statement does not mean use of all species is desirable, or that all use is sustainable – far from it. Often governance conditions are not favourable – for example, lack of any local rights to use wildlife legally often leads to unmanaged and highly destructive illegal use. READ MORE

Community-Based Wildlife Management in Central Asia

A gathering of wildlife management experts from across the broader Central Asian region was convened in September at Supara Chunkurchak in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan by IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULI), represented by Rosie Cooney (Australia) and Shane Mahoney (Canada), in partnership with Panthera, Hunting and Conservation Alliance of Tajikistan, GIZ, TRAFFIC and the IUCN Eastern Europe & Central Asia Regional Office. The experts and government representatives from central and western Asian countries – Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Russian Federation were complemented by international experts and representatives of the Wild Sheep Foundation, the SCI Foundation, The Russian Mountain Hunters Club and the US Delegation of the CIC.READ MORE

The author on a snow leopard survey in Tajikistan

Introduction to the New Central Asian Sustainable Use & Livelihoods Specialist Group

The IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) is a global expert network formed by IUCN as a joint initiative of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP).

In September 2018 a regional subgroup of SULi was established for the wider Central Asian Region, including China, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Russia. The goal of this specialist group is strengthening and improving conservation through sustainable use of wild resources such as wildlife, fish, wild plants, wild fruits, fungus, pastures and forest. One of the highest priorities for Central Asian SULi SG (SULiCA) will be development of better wildlife management that supports community-based, bottom up management in the selected region. READ MORE

From Angola: Palanca Negra (Giant Sable) Report – September 2018

Good rains continued until the very late end of the rainy season in May. After the draught in the previous year the generous rains allowed the regeneration of critical functions within the local ecosystems. This excellent news makes us optimistic for the continuing recovery of giant sable populations.

In Cangandala, the copious rains gave way to abundant grass, a lot of grass really; tall, thick, and everywhere. By end of May the soil was still too moist and the floodplains full of water, and by mid-June, when we finally could venture off- track, a thick wall of grass made progress a nightmare.READ MORE

Sustainable Conservation of the Saker Falcon

The Bedouin falconry tradition probably extends back over thousands of years and is based around the annual migration seasons of the Saker falcon and its prey.  Sakers migrate south in winter, to the Arab Peninsula, along with Houbara Bustards and Stone Curlew. The Bedouins learned to trap the Sakers, train them rapidly, and hunt bustards and curlew.  As the warmer weather of spring heralded the northward migration, the trained Sakers were released back into the wild. This entirely sustainable custom was practiced from time immemorial.READ MORE