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Contentious conservation: Understanding the socio-ecological impacts of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa

Muller, Helen Sefadi; (2022) Contentious conservation: Understanding the socio-ecological impacts of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Trophy hunting is one of the most contentious practices in conservation, with increasing calls for a global ban. Despite a long history in Africa, the contribution of trophy hunting to conservation on the continent is a matter of intense debate. Proponents consider well-managed trophy hunting to be a reasonable conservation tool due to the positive impacts it can have on biodiversity and local communities. However, positive outcomes are not guaranteed, and their extent and the contexts under which they arise are unclear. With growing lobbying against the activity, this thesis adds to the evidence-base for decisions on trophy hunting’s future. I follow a mixed methods approach to explore trophy hunting’s socio-ecological impacts and the conditions under which they arise, using evidence synthesis on the sub-Saharan African trophy hunting industry and a case study on Botswana. I find that evidence on trophy hunting is biased towards Southern Africa and Tanzania, with gaps in West and Central Africa. Whether trophy hunting changes human behaviour or leads to conservation outcomes, and how it affects local well-being is also under-researched. Trophy hunting can deliver positive socio-economic outcomes, boost economic welfare in communities, and improve attitudes towards wildlife, though benefits are often too few or unevenly distributed to achieve this. Positive outcomes are more likely where devolution of rights and community participation in decision-making are extensive, and where participation and benefit distribution are equitable. The trophy hunting moratorium in Botswana was unpopular and negatively impacted many dimensions of well-being in communities. A loss of animal control may be over-looked in discussions of trophy hunting’s value. Remote sensing offers an under-explored avenue to examine trophy hunting’simpacts on ecosystems when used in rigorous study designs, and can complement improved wildlife monitoring, particularly by local communities, to better understand impacts of trophy hunting on conservation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Contentious conservation: Understanding the socio-ecological impacts of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158976
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