Evidence for Enquiry on Animals Abroad Bill - October 2021
Written evidence submitted by Helen Muller, PhD Student at University College London Anthropology Department and Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
I am in the final-year of my PhD research through the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. My project aims to examine the social and ecological impacts of trophy hunting in Africa. For this work I have conducted a systematic map and narrative review of existing evidence on trophy hunting in Africa, focussing on its social and ecological impacts. I have also conducted a case study looking into the impacts of the 2014-2019 hunting moratorium in Botswana based on six months of ethnographic fieldwork in the country in 2019. I have a partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development to improve the policy outputs of the work, and a collaboration with the University of Botswana for local insight and legitimacy.
A final issue raised was the lack of input communities had in the decision to instigate the moratorium in the first place. Botswana has prided itself on being a democratic country with decision-making based on consultation from the village (kgotla) level upwards. The decision of the moratorium was taken by the top levels of Government without consultation. In a number of interviews, I raised the issue of international trophy hunting bans and potential restrictions imposed by foreign countries. When interviewees were asked their opinions on this, there was typically confusion at why foreign countries should have any say in the matter. People interviewed were upset by not being consulted on a decision taken by their own government, the idea that foreign governments might be able to instigate similar restrictions was unbelievable.