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Chapter 3 - Indirect contribution of wildlife to food security

3.1 Wildlife and income generation
3.2 Wildlife and health
3.3 Wildlife and forestry/agriculture

3.1 Wildlife and income generation

3.1.1 Tourism and recreation
3.1.2. Income from hunting
3.1.3 Bushmeat trade
3.1.4 Trophies, skins & hides
3.1.5 Live animal trade

Trade in bushmeat and wildlife products as well as wildlife based industries contribute significantly to both national and household food security through the generation of financial resources which can be used directly to purchase food or to develop and improve food production systems (see Boxes 5 & 6). The main contribution of wildlife to African macro-economies comes from wildlife-based tourism, recreation and associated industries. There is a point of view that the greater proportion of income from tourism in African countries goes to foreign owned airlines and hotels, however, it is also obvious that the tourist industry in Africa offers employment to a significant number of local people, thereby contributing to household income and access to food.

Apart from the income generated through direct employment in wildlife based ventures. wildlife also contributes directly to household income through hunting, trade in bushmeat, trophies. skins and hides, as well as sale of live animals and craftwork based on wild animal products. Bushmeat is often used as an item of barter for carbohydrate food resources and essential household items. Markets for bushmeat and other wild animal products help to fuel rural economies and provide income sources for the rural communities, who often have very few other avenues for earning cash income and for whom income from wild products is essential for the provision of everyday needs. Hunting and bushmeat trade involves several levels of participants, from hunters to middlemen and meat processors and therefore provides income not only for hunters but a wide cross-section of both rural and urban communities. Even among communities where the main occupation is farming, income from hunting/collection of wild animals and wild animal products often represent a substantial proportion of the household income which cannot be easily removed without causing significant hardships. A large proportion of rural populations in Africa live on the edge of poverty and have to struggle to survive. Under such conditions even small incomes such as that derived from seasonal collection of snails by women could determine whether or not a child continues school, since without this there would be no money to pay school fees. The story of well educated people in very important positions whose education was funded through the regular and continuing collection and sale of wildlife products by their illiterate mothers is not uncommon in Africa.

3.1.1 Tourism and recreation

Wildlife based tourism is particularly well developed in eastern and southern Africa where the industry contributes significantly to national incomes and is a key foreign currency earner in a number of countries. Kenya is cited as the most successful African country in terms of tourism development and the industry earns approximately US$ 600 million a year, an income exceeded only by that from coffee (Table 3.1). Using a computer model based on projected number of visitors to the Amboseli National Park in Kenya over a 15 year period, Thresher (1991) argues convincingly that it is more profitable to both the nation and individual households to protect game animals for tourism than for consumptive uses. Thresher's model estimates that a single maned lion in the Amboseli Park was worth US$ 515,000 as a tourist resource for game viewing as compared with $8,500 if it was used as a resource for hunting or sport and only $960 to $1,325 if used as a commercial resource (i.e.? the market value of a well-cured lion skin). For individual landowners participating in a group ranch scheme and who received benefits from the state after cost deductions, income derived from the maintenance of a lion on their ranch as tourist resource was $91,000 as compared with $600 paid out as hunting fees if the lion was sold out for sport hunting and $250 if hunted for the skin.



Wildlife in the national economy

Kenya Tourism is the second highest foreign exchange earner providing about $600 million annually (Eltringham, 1994).
CAR Bushmeat contributes 37 billion CFA Fr of annual revenue and accounts for a little over 10 % of the GDP (Keita, 1993).
Zimbabwe Tourism and wildlife based industries earned between Z$300 million to Z$1 billion in recent years and contributed 2-5% of CDP (Muir, 19943.
Namibia An average of 1,500 clients each accompanied by a mean of 1.75 observers are handled annually by the Namibian Professional Hunting Association. In 1991 an estimated total of R44 million was earned as foreign exchange from trophy fees, accommodation, airfares and trophy export charges (Yaron et al., 1994).
South Africa Tourism, which is for the greater part nature-based, is the fifth highest foreign exchange earner yielding approximately SAR 2.5 billion, equivalent to some $800 million in 1992 and provided jobs for 300,000 people (Koch, 1994).

Wildlife based activities, including tourism, trade in trophies, meat and live animals, contributed about 90% of foreign exchange earnings in Tanzania in 1989 - 1991, with tourism earning the greatest proportion of the national revenue. A total of Tsh 9.6 million was collected as revenue from game meat and trophies from the operations of the Tanzania Wildlife Corporation in 1991 (Chihongo, 1992). Tourism is the third highest foreign exchange earner for Zimbabwe after mining and agriculture and the country also receives considerable revenue from safari hunting and sale of live animals and trophies (Table 3.2). Wildlife and scenic attractions are reported to be the main backbone of the tourist industry and the industry is estimated to be 95% nature based (Campbell and Brigham 1993). Gross income from sport hunting rose steadily from a little over US$2 million in 1984 to $9.3 million in 1990 when safari concessions on communal lands alone was estimated at US$3.8 million (summing, 1990). Local households benefit from the revenue either as direct dividends paid to individual households (thus contributing to household income and access to food) and/or from the provision of communal facilities which contribute to the development and general well-being of the community. In addition, households also benefit directly from the meat provided by culling operations.

Tourism was the fifth highest foreign exchange earner in South Africa in 1990 (Koch, 199 4) According to a release from the government, over 90% of foreign tourists come to South Africa primarily to enjoy the country s scenery, flora and fauna. It is estimated that foreign tourism earned some SAR 2.5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$ 800 million) and provided jobs for 300,000 people. Compared to other sectors, this meant that one out of every 14 actively employed people in South Africa worked in the tourism industry.


Country Wildlife as a source of income
Tanzania Roasted alates of termites Macrotermes bellicosus and M. natalensis. are sold on markets in rural areas of Tanzania and provide a source of income for rural households (Chihongo 1992)
Zimbabwe Wildlife based activities contribute 60 % of household income in Angwa, Zambesi valley (Muir, 1994).
Cameroon Annual income from hunting and trapping in villages around the Korup National Park amounted to approximately 425,000 CFA per hunter and accounted for 56 % of the total village income (Infield, 1988).

Table 3.1 Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in Kenya (1977 - 1991) (Adapted from Byrne et al., 1993)


Total no. of visitors ('000)

Earnings per visitor (US$)

Total earnings (US$ m)

































Table 3.2 Value of wildlife in Zimbabwe (data for 1991) as compared with livestock
(Sources Campbell & Bringham, 1993, Jansen et al.. 1992)


Value (Zim $ million per year)**




Cattle (large scale sector)



Cattle (small scale sector)



Beef (all sectors)



Hides (all sectors)



Leather (all sectors)  


  • Hunting
  • 45


  • Tourism
  • 500


  • Live animals
  • 6.2


  • Meat, hides
  • 1


  • Ostrich
  • 20


    * Figures for livestock, 1990; wildlife figures 1991.
    ** US$1 equiv. to Zim$ 0.40 in 1990 and Zim$ 0.29 in 1991.

    Several innovative measures have been initiated, particularly in southern and eastern Africa, to return some of the benefits gained from wildlife-based tourism to communities living around national parks and other protected areas. This provides an incentive for local communities to protect wildlife resources. The measures include bed-night levies on hotel occupancy communal ventures in tourist camp/lodge operations, development of communal lands and group ranches for tourism. The profits from such ventures are either shared among households or invested in community infrastructure such as schools, wells, health centres etc. For many years, the revenue derived from wildlife resources of the Lower Lupande Game Management Area (Luangwa valley, Zambia) was paid into the Central Treasury just as it happens in many areas in Africa. Now, the establishment of a revolving fund allows local people to benefit from the income generated by wildlife-based activities. In 1987, the total revenue from safari hunting, hippo utilisation and other related activities amounted to US $ 48 620, out of which $4,596 went to local community projects. The benefits to the local communities increased to almost 40% 198889. Out of the total revenue of $240,500 earned in that period, $96,000 was allocated for local development (Balakrishnan & Ndhlovu, 1992). A number of the local people had also found employment as village scouts and also with wildlife related activities, such as culling operations, safari hunting and tourism.

    3.1.2. Income from hunting

    In the past hunters in Africa hunted for the family pot. Today most hunters are market hunters and a high proportion of hunters would choose to sell their quarry and purchase cheaper forms of protein such as fish to feed their families, so that the money left over can be used for other basic family needs. Hunting occurs openly in countries where there are no strict legal prohibitions on wildlife exploitation. In countries with restrictions, hunting continues under cover and there are no statistics on hunters or on quantities of meat exploited. Data on total number of hunters in most African countries are either non-existent or out of date. A total of 26,770 hunters were reported in Nigeria in 1963 (Afolayan, 1980). There are very few people in Africa today whose occupation is solely hunting; most hunters work full-time on other jobs e.g., farmers, artisans, and only hunt on part-time basis.

    The Kola Pygmies of southern Cameroon provide an example of total dependence on wildlife for cash income. The Pygmies' main occupation is hunting and they obtained as much income from the sale of their quarry as cocoa farmers in the area. The money derived from hunting was used to procure food, alcoholic beverages and manufactured items. The Kolas would also exchange bushmeat for carbohydrate food from their neighbours (Wilkie 1989; Garine, 1993). While this exchange was often at a disadvantage to the hunters (e.g., in the study in Cameroon, a giant rat Cricetomys gambianus which could be sold for 300 CFA was exchanged for four sticks of cassava pudding worth 100 CFA) it does have the advantage of avoiding the effects of inflation (see for example, studies on the Mbuti of Zaire. Ichikawa 1991).

    Infield (1988) found hunting to be the single most important source of cash income for the majority of households in villages around the Korup National Park, Cameroon. The average hunter hunting for 16 days in a month earned approximately 350,000 CFA per annum, a figure which accounted for 38 % of the total village income. Income from trapping was estimated at 75,000 CFA and this accounted for about 18 % of the total village income.

    A survey of farmers' hunting activities during 27 days of recording (7th January to 3rd February, 1976) in Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana, showed that 80 farmers sold 2,840 kg of their catch from hunting for 3,849.40 Cedis*. This gave an average daily income from part time hunting of 1.78 which was comparable to the daily government wage of 2.00 at that time (Asibey, 1977). Hunting continues to be a profitable occupation in Ghana and lucrative bushmeat markets exist in most major cities in the country. In a recent study on the economics of living with wildlife in Ghana, hunters supplying meat to the Atwemonom market in Kumasi, Ashanti region, were interviewed for information on their activities. All the hunters interviewed indicated that they were part-time hunters and their main occupation was farming, driving or artisanal. The hunters spent from a few hours daily to up to 11 hrs at week-ends hunting, they operated individually, hunting with guns or trapping with snares. The direct costs of each hunt were the price of the shot gun (often owned by someone else who shared the hunting proceeds with the hunter), the cost of ammunition (180-200 Cedis** per cartridge), the cost of a hunting lamp and the cost of a game licence (This varied with the type of animal hunted, ranging from 300.00 for a grasscutter to 12,000.00 for large game). Animals commonly caught were Maxwell duiker, bushbuck, black duiker, royal antelope and grasscutter and the average income from hunting was 9,850 Cedis per week (Table 3.3). This figure was up to 40% more than the salaries of government employees in grades equivalent to the full time jobs of the hunters interviewed. Apart from the direct income derived from bushmeat by hunters, hunting also provides employment and income to a network of people including helpers. carriers and a chain of traders.

    *US $0.88 equivalent to 1.00 in 1974
    **US$1equiv. to approx. 700 in 1993

    Table 3.3 Average catch and income of hunters supplying meat to the Atwemonom market in Kumasi, Ghana (Source. Tutu et al. 1993)




    Age of hunter


    23 - 70

    Number of hunts per week


    1 -7

    Length of hunting trip (hrs)


    1 - 11

    Time spent hunting each week (hrs)



    Average catch per hunt



    income per week from hunting (Cedis)


    1,500 - 27,000

    Selling price of animals caught (Cedis)    
    • Maxwell duiker


    1,600 - 5,000

    • Black duiker


    8,500 - 10,000

    • Grasscutter (Cane rat)


    1,500 - 4,000

    • Royal antelope


    1,500 - 4,000

    • Bushbuck


    9,000 - 27,000

    • Others


    700 - 3,000

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