A spatio-temporal analysis of important hunting species’ trophy size in north-eastern Namibia

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


Within the last twenty years, Namibia has become a leading model of biodiversity conservation, largely due to its Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) model and its allocation of large areas of land towards biodiversity conservation. The CBNRM model is largely based on the rights of communal conservancies to benefit from the wildlife that is present on their land; one such right is to receive meat and revenue from trophy hunting. However, the marketability of desirable trophy animals is dependent on the consistent presence of larger trophy individuals within wildlife populations. The global trophy hunting industry is highly competitive, with larger trophies in each species being sought by premium paying hunters. Over-hunting in specific populations, however, may lead to an unsustainable trophy operation. A negative trophy measurement trend over time may be indicative of overhunting since the preferred trophy genetic trait is selectively removed from the gene-pool by hunters. Three commonly hunted trophy species of Namibia’s north-eastern landscape, namely, buffalo (Syncerus caffer), roan (Hippotragus equinus), and sable (Hippotragus niger), along with the common nationally hunted species, kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), were selected in this study to determine the effects of hunting upon the trophy measurements between 2011 and 2015. The buffalo and roan measurements showed signs of non-significant positive growth trends. The sable trophy measurements show a non-significant negative growth trend, and the kudu trophy measurements showed a significant negative growth trend across Namibia over the 5 years. Though the study provided some insight into the trophy measurement trends for each land-use type (communal conservancies, national parks, and private farms), the distribution of the animals hunted, and the numbers of animals hunted, there are still many variables that could be factored into determining the influence on trophy measurement trends (e.g. game count numbers, rainfall, drought, migration, hunter’s experience, trophy market, predation, fire patterns, rabies, etc.). Namibia can still prove its sustainability if it also makes age-related scoring as a methodology for trophy scoring, and the creation and management of a web-based database to capture the essential details of hunted animals could assist with eliminating data entry errors and with the standardizing of a Namibian approach to redefining trophy quality



trophy, hunting, buffalo, roan, sable, kudu, trophy size


Walters, M.H. (2020). A spatio-temporal analysis of important hunting species' trophy size in north-eastern Namibia. [Masters thesis, Namibia University of Science and Technology