WWF-SA position on “canned” lion huntingFrom time to time, WWF South Africa is asked to clarify its position with regard to trophy hunting, and in particular the practice known as “canned” hunting in relation to captive-bred lions. The following is pertinent to this conversation:
- WWF’s mission is to conserve biodiversity to sustain the Earth’s capacity to support life. As such, it does not generally develop policy on matters that are unrelated to environmental or conservation impact.
- In our view, the captive-bred hunting debate is not a conservation issue but rather an ethical one and therefore would ordinarily fall outside of our area of operation.
- Our mission is a world in which people and nature thrive together. For these reasons, some of our conservation efforts are based on the sustainable use of natural resources that may, at times, include trophy hunting.
- For this reason, WWF is not opposed to hunting per se when it can be shown to be part of a conservation and management strategy that is scientifically based, properly managed and strictly enforced and that adheres to ethical principles.
- Historically, trophy hunting played an important role in the unsurpassed achievement of resurrecting the southern white rhino from fewer than 50 animals in the early 1900s, to the current 20 000 animals. We continue to work actively to protect this species.
- However, we currently see no conservation benefit in “canned” or captive-bred hunting and do not support this practice.
- Furthermore, the unethical shooting of captive-bred lions threatens to taint hunting in general, with negative consequences for the economic sustainability of hunting programs that are contributing to conservation goals.
- We trust that those who are truly concerned about the future of our planet respect our bona fides and the many hours of hard work on the part of dedicated professionals that go into our mandate.