A global animal protection organisation has written to environmental ministers in South Africa and Namibia to urge them to abandon trophy hunting.
The Humane Society International (HSI) said on Monday that it sent letters to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her Nambian counterpart Pohamba Shifeta on Friday.
The appeal is to abandon “cruel and wasteful” trophy hunting in favour of non-consumptive ecotourism.
The letters come in the wake of global outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion by a US dentist on an illegal hunt just outside Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe.
A number of airlines have stepped up and banned the transportation of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies outright – most recently the largest US transporter of hunting trophies from South Africa to the US, Delta Air Lines.
Airlines United, Virgin, British Airways and Emirates have also issued a global ban on the transportation of South Africa’s Big 5.
In July, SAA overturned a temporary embargo it put in place. The embargo was put in place after a shipment of elephant tusks made its way to Australia under the label “mechanical equipment”.
HSI head Andrew Rowan, who is South African, said on Monday that the letters explained that wildlife-based ecotourism brought an estimated $34.2bn in tourist receipts in 2013, according to a World Tourism Organisation report.
Rowan said: “It’s high time for South Africa and Namibia to reconsider the supposed value of trophy hunting to your economies and the harm it is causing to wildlife populations … and the vehement disapproval of this activity as demonstrated by the outpouring of concern over Cecil’s killing.”