The environmental, recreational and conservational reasoning behind hunters’ preferences and activities in South Africa

Gramberg-Danielsen, Lillian (2020-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Masters

ENGLISH SUMMARY : South Africa is one of the most popular hunting destinations in Africa. International as well as local hunters enjoy the country’s diverse landscapes and rich variety of wildlife species. Hunting for meat and trophy hunting – two forms of consumptive tourism – are perceived as appropriate wildlife management tools but both are causing emotional and heated debates between opponents and advocates of hunting. If conducted in an ecological sustainable way, hunting can help to provide the financial means for nature conservation and create job opportunities in rural areas. The opponents of hunting question these potential benefits and they highlight the ethical considerations inherent to the sport. The study aimed to contribute to the academic knowledge on hunting by assessing the geography (the what, where and why) of meat and trophy hunting in South Africa as well as the hunters’ perceptions of and attitudes to their recreational hunting activities and their contributions to wildlife conservation in general. The six research objectives were first to review the appropriate international literature on the history of hunting; the theories on human-environment relationships and pro-environmental behaviour, as well as the constructs and concepts about hunters’ motivations to hunt; available case studies on consumptive wildlife tourism and the different types of hunting; and the link between hunting and conservation. The second objective was to review literature relevant to assessing the larger picture of meat and trophy hunting in South Africa. Third, it sought to create a demographic profile for the local biltong-and-trophy-hunter community in South Africa. Fourth was to question the hunters in which municipalities they live and in which they hunt so as to map the geography of hunters and hunting areas in South Africa. The fifth objective was to assess the environmental, recreational and conservational reasoning behind South African hunters’ hunting preferences, decisions and activities. Last was to assess the hunters’ perceptions of uploading hunting photographs on social media. The study followed a mixed-methods approach. A questionnaire survey was undertaken among members of two South African hunting associations (South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association and the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa). One-thousand-four-hundred-and-nine (1409) completed questionnaires were received back. Data were captured and analysed using STATISTICA, Excel and ArcMap. The findings indicated that South African hunters have a high degree of awareness of the environmental problems facing the African continent. Although most of the respondents in the survey exclusively hunt for meat, they do approve of trophy hunting. It was found that the hunters’ concerns revolve around the long-term effects of hunting on the genetic pool of species and the possible unethical nature of hunting. Their approval depends on the type of wildlife hunted and the income generated. The principal hunter-generating areas were Gauteng and Western Cape while the district municipalities receiving the most hunters were Waterberg in Limpopo and Pixley ka Seme in Northern Cape. The most important reasons for hunting were the wish to obtain meat for consumption, to be outdoors and to enjoy the sport of hunting. The possibility to shoot trophy animals was ranked lowest. It was also found that the proponents approve of sharing photographs of hunting trips online but they do not do so for fear of public reaction. Furthermore, respondents with a higher level of education are the most likely to support nature conservation efforts financially. A few limitations were encountered. Questions number 8 and 28 of the questionnaire survey dealt with the origin of the hunters (district municipality) and their hunting destinations (district municipality). These questions were developed as open-ended questions. Unfortunately, some of the respondents did not indicate the exact locations for the district municipalities in which they reside or hunt in. Therefore, the locations of only 659 responses could be pinpointed and used in the mapping of the origins of hunters and their hunting destination. Recommendations include further research on the connection between hunting and social media as well as on the spatio-temporal relationship between hunters and their hunting destinations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Suid-Afrika is een van die gewildste jagbestemmings in Afrika. Internasionale sowel as plaaslike jagters geniet die land se uiteenlopende landskappe en die ryk verskeidenheid wildspesies. Jag vir die pot of trofeejag is twee vorme van wildlewe-toerisme, waar die hulpbron verbruik word, en word beskou as aanvaarbare instrumente vir wildbestuur, maar albei tipes jag gee aanleiding tot emosionele en heftige debatte tussen die voor- en teenstanders van jag. Indien jag ekologies meer volhoubaar bedryf word, kan jag help om die finansiële middele vir natuurbewaring te voorsien en ook by te dra tot die skep van werksgeleenthede in landelike gebiede. Die teenstanders van jag bevraagteken hierdie moontlike voordele, en hulle beklemtoon die etiese oorwegings wat by hierdie sport ingedrang kom. Die studie het ten doel gehad om 'n bydrae te lewer tot die akademiese kennis oor die geografie (die wat, waar en waarom) van vleis1 – en trofeejag in Suid-Afrika, asook die jagters se persepsie en houdings oor hul ontspanningsjag-aktiwiteite asook die bydrae wat hulle tot wildbewaring in die algemeen maak. Daar was ses navorsingsdoelwitte gestel. Die eerste doelwit was om die toepaslike internasionale literatuur oor die geskiedenis van jag; die teorieë oor die verhouding tussen mens en sy natuurlike omgewing asook omgewingsvriendelike gedrag; die konstrukte en konsepte rakende jagters se motiverings om te jag (pleksin en plek identiteit); gevallestudies oor jag as vorm van wildlewe-toerisme; die verskillende soorte jag; en die verband tussen jag en bewaring te hersien. Die tweede doelwit was om die groter prentjie van vleis- en trofeejag in Suid-Afrika te verstaan deur die gepaste literatuur te bestudeer. Die derde doelwit was om 'n demografiese profiel van die plaaslike biltong-en-trofeejagters in Suid-Afrika vas te stel. Die vierde doelwit was om vas te stel waar die jagters woon en waar hulle jag sodat die oorsprong van jagters en hul jaggebiede volgens distrik munisipaliteite gekarteer kon word. Die vyfde doel was om die omgewings-, ontspannings- en bewaringsredes agter Suid-Afrikaanse jagters se voorkeure, -besluite en -aktiwiteite te beoordeel. Die laaste was om die jagters se persepsie van jagfoto's op sosiale media platforms te beoordeel. Die studie het 'n gemengde-metode navorsingsbenadering gevolg. 'n Vraelysopname is onder lede van twee Suid-Afrikaanse jagverenigings (Suid-Afrikaanse Jagters- en Wildbewaringsvereniging en die Professionele Jagtersvereniging van Suid-Afrika) onderneem. Eenduisend-vierhonderd-en-nege (1409) jagters het die vraelys voltooi. Data is vasgelê en ontleed met behulp van STATISTICA, Excel en ArcMap. Die vraelys opname het bevind dat Suid-Afrikaanse jagters 'n groot mate van bewustheid het van die omgewingsprobleme waarmee die vasteland van Afrika te kampe het. Hoewel die meeste respondente in die opname uitsluitlik vir vleis jag, ondersteun hulle dat daar vir trofees gejag word. Jagters is bekommerd oor die langtermyneffekte wat jag op die genetiese poel van spesies kan hê en die moontlikheid dat onetiese jag gedrag kan voorkom. Die goedkeuring wat aan jag as ʼn vorm van rekreasie of trofee jag verleen word, hang af van die soort wild wat gejag word en die inkomste wat gegenereer kan word. Volgens hierdie opname genereer Gauteng en Wes-Kaap provinsie die meeste jagters, terwyl die distriksmunisipaliteite wat die meeste jagters ontvang het, Waterberg in Limpopo en Pixley ka Seme in die Noord-Kaap was. Die belangrikste redes vir jag was die geleentheid om vleis vir eie verbruik te bekom, in die buitelug te wees en die jag as sport te geniet. Die moontlikheid om trofee-diere te skiet was oor die algemeen nie as ʼn belangrike oorweging gesien nie. Die voorstanders van jag – ondersteun die plasing van foto's van jagtogte op sosiale media goed, maar die meeste van die respondente doen dit nie self nie uit vrees vir die openbare reaksie wat ontlok kan word. Verder ondersteun respondente met 'n hoër vlak van opleiding natuurbewarings pogings finansieel. ʼn Paar beperkings is ondervind. Vrae nommer 8 en 28 van die vraelysopname het gehandel oor die oorsprong van die jagters (distriksmunisipaliteit) en hul jagbestemmings (distriksmunisipaliteit). Hierdie vrae is ontwikkel as oop vrae. Ongelukkig het sommige van die respondente nie die presiese liggings aangedui vir die distriksmunisipaliteite waarin hulle woon of jag nie. Daarom kon die ligging van slegs 659 response gebruik word in die kartering van die oorsprong van die jagters en hul jagbestemming. Aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing sluit in die analise van die verwantskap tussen jag en sosiale media in die algemeen en hoe sosiale media die publiek se persepsie oor hierdie vorm van rekreasie kan maak of breek asook die tydruimtelike analise van die oorsprong van jagters en waar hierdie jagters jag.

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