Actually, Trophy Hunting Doesn’t Contribute to Jobs or Economy Much

Trophy hunters like to make grandiose claims about how their animal-killing sprees “help” local people or animal species. However, a new economic study reveals what a lot of us have long suspected. Trophy hunting does next to nothing for local African economies or jobs. Thatís just one more false assertion hunters make to justify killing animals for their heads and furs.

Humane Society International (HSI) commissioned a study conducted by Economists at Large. Its results directly challenge a Safari Club International (SCI) report from 2015, which asserted that trophy hunting “provides important economic opportunities for many areas where other common forms of income are limited.”

African lion couple and safari jeep

HSI’s study finds a result starkly different. In Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, says the report, the following is true:

  • Out of $17 billion in annual tourism spending in these eight countries, trophy hunting brings in less than $132 million. That’s just 0.78 percent of that total, and a far cry from the $426 million asserted by SCI.
  • Hunting’s effect on tourism jobs is even less impressive, accounting for between 7,500 and 15,500 jobs — a paltry 0.76 percent or less of employment opportunities in those countries. SCI asserted hunting generates 53,400 jobs.
  • Overall tourism in these countries accounts for between 2.8 percent and 5.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Trophy hunters contribute only an estimated 0.03 percent of GDP.
  • Non-trophy hunting tourism employs 132 times more people than trophy hunting.
  • Foreign trophy hunters make up less than 0.1 percent of tourists in these countries.

Economists at Large determined that the SCI study “employ[ed] methods that substantially overstate the size of the hunting economy.” SCI’s study ignored the fact that hunting is not necessarily the most economically valuable use of land and wildlife resources in these areas. It also incorrectly assumed that non-hunting tourism by trophy hunters should be attributed to trophy hunting.

Finally, HSI’s study argues that the method SCI’s study used to determine total economic contribution by trophy hunting is “no longer an accepted method of economic analysis.” It assumed all businesses that earned income from hunting would have no alternate means of income.

What’s the final result of all this analysis? Clearly, says the HSI study, hunters’ beneficial effect on jobs and the local economy is negligible. You’re not surprised, though, are you? After all, hunters are not there to improve the lot of the African people. Hunters are there to bring home a big dead exotic animal to decorate their dens.

safari and elephant

“For too long, trophy hunters have tried to justify their activity by falsely claiming that their killing helps local economies. As this new report shows, those claims are a sham,” Masha Kalinina, an international trade policy specialist for Humane Society International (HSI), said in an HSI press release. “Itís time to stop pretending that slaughtering big game and posing for morbid selfies by their slain bodies is anything more than killing for kicks.”

Trophy hunting is the most appalling form of hunting. Unlike some people who hunt and actually consume the animal for food, trophy hunters are only after glory. They want that head on their wall Ė and the bragging rights that go along with it.

Big game hunters take the biggest, strongest specimens — the ones most needed to continue breeding strong, healthy future generations. They take the rarest and most beautiful species they can get away with. They may say they’re contributing to conservation, but taking the best and most hardy animals belies that assertion. They care for little beyond the thrill of killing a majestic creature.

Fortunately, we’re seeing decisions that demonstrate most people are opposed to trophy hunting. In the wake of the illegal hunting death of Cecil the lion in 2015, some 42 airlines now ban transport of trophies altogether.† That’s progress.

Hunters keep trying to convince us their murder of animals is a good thing. They keep failing. As HSI’s study shows us, if we canít stop these big game hunters, we can at least point out when theyíre flat out lying.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

This is just sick, who can enjoy hunting for fun? So sick.....

Telica R
Telica R2 years ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

Pat P
Pat P2 years ago

Trophy hunter's are demented fools! They need to be banned, worldwide--especially, when targeting endangered species! Wildlife should be appreciated while ALIVE!

Silvia Steinhilber

I never did believe trophy hunting helped anyone but the killer boost his sick insecure ego.

Julie D
Julie D2 years ago

Trophy Hunting should be banned everywhere. If people live in such circumstances that they need to hunt for survival, that is a different story and I can understand that. To kill something just for the fun of it and to hang their heads on a wall is absolutely sickening and an unnecessary waste of life.

Jennifer H
Jennifer H2 years ago

This is no surprise to me. Hunters will always make up lies to justify their need to kill.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

No it is all in the mind of the men who need to boost their small penises.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago

Do what you can, where you can to help animals.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago

or Ethics