Worth more alive than dead – South Africa’s Big Five
A new report shows that the ‘non-consumable’ value of the Big Five can exceed their ‘consumable’ value. In other words, these iconic animals are worth more alive than dead.
The study by Prof. Melville Saayman of North-West University, conducted in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, shows that tourists are prepared to pay more than R3,500 to see the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo).
His research was carried out at the Olifants, Letaba, Mopani and Punda Maria rest camps, where random selections of visitors were asked to complete a questionnaire. The findings indicated that visitors are prepared to pay R1,136 to see a leopard, R1,007 for a lion, R753 for a rhino, R658 for an elephant and R498 for a buffalo.
So, the report claims, ‘if the average lifespan of a leopard is 15 years and [it] is viewed by 5,000 tourists per year, the leopard’s value is R85,232,250 for the park.’ Compare this with R189,000, the going rate for a licence to shoot a leopard as a trophy, and you begin to get Saayman’s drift.
If it wasn’t already obvious, this study graphically illustrates the worth of these animals. Countries should take this on board – tourism vs hunting? No contest.
Care for the Wild
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