Life after Cecil : channelling global outrage into funding for conservation in Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 15
  • Abstract:

    Trophy hunting is widely used in Africa to generate funding for wildlife areas. In 2015, a global media frenzy resulted from the illegal killing of a radiocollared lion, “Cecil,” by a trophy hunter in Zimbabwe. Trophy hunting is contentious and much of the media discourse is emotional and polarized, focusing on animal welfare and debating the value of hunting as a conservation tool. We use the Cecil incident to urge a change in the focus of discussion and make a call for global action.We highlight the dual challenge to African governments posed by the need to fund vast wildlife estates and provide incentives for conservation by communities in the context of growing human populations and competing priorities. With or without trophy hunting, Africa’s wildlife areas require much more funding to prevent serious biodiversity loss. In light of this, we urge a shift away from perpetual debates over trophy hunting to the more pressing question of “How do we fund Africa’s wildlife areas adequately?” We urge the international community to greatly increase funding and technical support for Africa’s wildlife estate. Concurrently, we encourage African governments and hunters to take decisive steps to reform hunting industries and address challenges associated with that revenue generating option.