As locally dominant land-use option, sport hunting has shown a declining profitability in Cameroon over the last decade, mainly due to poor governance, external threats and recent insecurity of many hunting areas, concludes a research paper published in the International Forestry Review.

“With the entire trophy hunting sector internationally under pressure and with growing pressures on rural areas, a pragmatic two tier approach may regain the legitimacy and the performance of this option of sustainable wildlife management” authors write.

7193194260_8f133d1037_z

In Central Africa, trophy hunting constitutes an incentive-based approach for sustainable wildlife management. Photo credit/CIFOR

“Firstly, nowadays several hunting zones are of limited value due to the scarcity of the species sought by trophy hunters. These hunting zones should therefore be downgraded and re-allocated to other more realistic land-uses. Trophy hunting would no longer be considered as the dominant purpose of a specialized area but as a secondary objective of a specialized land-use in agriculture, logging or ranching. Conversely, many sport hunting zones remain promising and justify the specialization of these areas. The purpose is to strengthen their socio-economic and environmental performance, as well as cater for the payment of other ecosystem services, to better compete with other land-use options. The major challenge is to re-establish the attractiveness of the Cameroonian HZ, notably through the restoration of security in the Northern region. Several technical improvements are also possible through a clarification and an improvement of the State’s role in this incentive-based approach. Firstly, the transparent, competitive and fair allocation of HZs would refine the relationships between private operators and the administration (Baker 2007).”

Secondly, authors argue “rather than diluting responsibilities and multiplying procedures, it is for the State to operate a pragmatic devolution of wildlife management to actors.”

Lastly, “the State representatives must be urged to enforce regulation and laws regarding hunting areas, notably for monitoring management and harvesting practices. Beyond merely increasing operational means, the main requirement is to establish incentive schemes in which law enforcement provides more benefits to administrative staff than the current lack of official control,” the paper concludes.

“In Central Africa, trophy hunting constitutes an incentive-based approach for sustainable wildlife management. In 2012, trophy hunting was likely to generate an annual turnover of € 7.5 million and its added value could amount to only 0.0001% of GDP although these hunting zones cover 12% of the national territory. The profit margin for professional guides had become negative, with a net annual profit around € –0.5 million. The severe crisis in the trophy hunting sector is mainly due to an increase in the management costs of the hunting zones and the diminishing price of hunting safaris. The State plays a crucial role in enhancing the financial attractiveness of trophy hunting by the restoration of security in the Northern region and by technical measures to (1) clarify the allocation process for hunting areas, (2) simplify regulations and (3) establish an incentives system for law enforcement at national and local levels.