There is a lack of consensus among some conservation NGOs and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This lack of consensus is due partly to a lack of reliable information on the economic significance and ecological impact of the industry.
We provide a review of the scale of the trophy hunting industry,and assess both positive and negative issues relating to hunting and conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting occurs in 23 countries in Africa, with the largest industries occurring in southern Africa and Tanzania, where the industry is expanding.
The trophy hunting industry has remained static or is shrinking in Central and West Africa. A minimum of 1,394,000 km 2 is used for trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, which exceeds the area encompassed by national parks. Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism. However, there are a number of problems associated with the industry which limit conservation benefits. Several of these problems are common to multiple countries, suggesting that if solutions were developed, conservation benefits would accrue over large areas.