This morning, Professor P vd Merwe presented PHASA with the results of in-depth research into the economic value of trophy hunting in South Africa. Using sound statistics, this never before done survey provided valuable insight into the hunting industry in this important country. Some of the more interesting information included the fact that more than half of all hunters traveling to hunt in South Africa are SCI Members. That is good news, but we should strive for 100 percent. We are First For Hunters—all hunters—and South Africa is an important hunting destination. According to the survey, South African Professional Hunters are “highly regarded” by hunters, and I believe that a large part of the credit for that goes to PHASA and the professional standards of its members.
Safety is an understandable concern for international hunters, and survey respondents reported a high perception of safety when hunting in South Africa. Hunters also gave high marks to the variety of game and convenience South Africa offers, and a full 87 percent say South Africa is a good value for the money. The survey will be repeated in 2015.
As I noted in yesterday’s dispatch, rhino poaching has escalated to alarming proportions. Today, 23 range states have lost all of their rhino, and 90% of remaining rhino live in South Africa. Clearly, the future of rhino will have a disproportionate impact on South Africa, which is just one of the many reasons PHASA is taking the issue so seriously. Pellam Jones from the Private Rhino Owner’s Association (PROA) gave a “Rhino in Crisis—The Road to CITES” presentation that made it alarmingly clear that rhino will not survive “more of the same.” By PROA’s estimation, if we stay the current course and do nothing, the rhino will be extinct by 2026–That’s in our lifetime, folks, and if that happens, it will be an inexcusable shame that you, and I, and all responsible and ethical hunters must bear because we can stop this.
On a more happy note, Toys For Africa thanked PHASA for its partnership and especially appreciated that PHASA is not only a partner, but an active one that is always involved in helping children. PHASA’s efforts beyond its own borders was recognized by Serbia’s Ambassador
to South Africa, Mr. Goran Vujicic, who presented PHASA with Serbia’s Gold Medal Award for its contribution to hunting and conservation.
Tomorrow wraps up the open portions of the PHASA Convention and AGM. In a few days, the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ) begins its annual meetings. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend, but SCI CEO Phil DeLone, Guides & Outfitter Liaison John Boretsky and Assistant Publisher Scott Mayer will be there to represent SCI and to continue our up-to-the-minute reports from the various professional hunter meetings in southern Africa.—Craig Kauffman