Organization of trophy (commercial) hunting for species that live in Russia and listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation
There are examples in the world of organizing trophy hunting of rare and protected animals in order to obtain funds for their protection, including successful examples. However, to what extent is this practice applicable in the conditions of modern Russia?
The position of WWF Russia has been and remains unchanged — we are against commercial (trophy) hunting of rare species listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, since hunting of «Red Book» species contradicts current legislation. At present, all species listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation have been withdrawn (with a number of reservations) from economic circulation. If, as a result of environmental measures, as well as natural restoration, the population reaches a sufficient level for sustainable livelihoods, the species should be excluded from the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Only after that it is possible to consider an organization of exploitation, including hunting, of this species.
WWF does not support possible changes in legislation to organize trophy hunting of species included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, because:
- Money from hunting of these species will not be directed for their protection.
With the existing legislation, the money that goes to the treasury as payment for an animal’s extraction will go to the budget, where they will dissolve completely, and it is not at all the fact that the return from the budget for environmental needs will be adequate and will be directed to ensure environmental measures to restore the number of the same species. The receipt of all payments for the use of natural resources to the budget is a general requirement of the current legislation of the Russian Federation.
- Income from trophy hunting is likely to be insignificant.
Supporters of initiating hunting of rare species speak of significant amounts that the operators of hunting tours are ready to pay. Hence, the supporters of Amur tiger hunting talk about 150–300 thousand dollars per tour. But they forget to mention that this money is the cost of the tour, and not the trophy, and most of it will go not to the development of environmental programs, but to the cost of organizing the hunting, which can be very high, as well as the incomes of hunt organizers. Thus, only a small part of the sums discussed can theoretically go (and maybe not) to protect the object of hunting.
- Legalization of hunting of «Red Book» species can cause growth of poaching.
According to the plan, hunting farms, aimed for example at tigers as a hunting object, should play a role of reproduction areas, where tigers settle in adjacent territories, and are called upon to «reconcile» humans and the wild animal living nearby. However, it is possible that the hunting farms will cope with this task only within its borders. And the poaching situation can worsen in the rest of the tiger’s habitat. Reason why «they» can, and «we» cannot, are unfortunately traditional for the population of economically disadvantaged regions. In this case, the legal shooting of rare species of animals may not replace their illegal killings, but only increase the damage to populations.