The world of HUNT
HUNT will have activity in six different study case regions in order to capture a contrasting picture of the social, cultural, economic and ecological contexts of hunting. These regions include two in northern Europe (Scotland and Norway/Sweden), one in southern Europe (Spain), one in eastern Europe (Croatia/Slovenia) and two in East-Africa (Ethiopia and Tanzania).
National Consultative Groups
Within each of these countries or regions HUNT will establish National Consultative Groups (NCG's) which will comprise national stakeholders with strong interests and expertise in hunting and biodiversity conservation. Stakeholders will include those with a range of views concerning the value and impacts of hunting from representatives of hunters organizations to government conservation organizations.
Hunting in UK
In Scotland hunting is predominantly carried out on large, privately owned estates, where professional hunters (gamekeepers) are employed to manage wildlife harvests.
The principal game species are red deer and red grouse in the uplands, and pheasants and roe deer in the lowlands. Deer and grouse are managed wild game, whilst pheasants are generally reared and released prior to shooting. Other game bird and deer species are also shot, but at a lower intensity.
Information on the numbers of game present and the numbers shot will be collated from many private estates and national game bag data, held by the Game Conservancy Trust.
National remote sensing habitat data is available via Land Cover Scotland data held by the James Hutton Institute.
National surveys of birds, including avian predators are available from the British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and via the Raptor Monitoring Groups in Scotland.
Hunting in Scandinavia
The Scandinavian studies will focus on the non-agricultural wild lands that are made up of boreal forest and alpine tundra habitats. In Scandinavia hunting rights belong to the landowners, be they private individuals, companies or the state, who can sell hunting permits. In some regions some rights belong to the traditional owners, the Sami.
Most hunting is focused on wild ungulates (moose, red deer, roe deer, wild reindeer), grouse (ptarmigan, capercaille, black grouse), and large carnivores (bears and lynx) and these are the groups that we will focus on.
Scandinavian hunting is motivated largely by the traditional, recreational and meat values of the harvest, although the sale of licenses can be a significant source of income for some landowners. Hunting of large mammals is generally closely regulated with quotas for certain age and sex classes.
There have been many intensive research studies concerning ecological and socioeconomic aspects of harvest, and extensive monitoring programs exist for many species.
Our analyses will focus mainly on a number of representative study areas for which we have access to a range of background data and link these to the national and international institutional framework regulating hunting and biodiversity.
Hunting in Spain
We will consider two study areas with contrasting situations with respect to biodiversity, but where hunting is an equally important activity, and where anomalies in the distribution of some predators have been detected.
Extremadura is a region with a high biodiversity whereas southeastern Castilla-La Mancha is an area where biodiversity is quite impoverished. We will obtain information about management models for the main game species in these areas, from traditional rural hunting performed by local people on community lands to large private game estates, or from large areas with soft or virtually absent game management, to some of the places with the hardest management models in Spain.
This information will be contrasted with available information about biodiversity (national databases available at IREC), complemented when necessary with field surveys. In these same hunting lands we will obtain information from managers about game management techniques used (e.g. predator control, presence of feeding or water points, game crops, etc.) and about socioeconomic aspects of hunting.
Hunting in the Northern Dinarics
The focus area for this study site will be on the forested landscapes that constitute the border between Slovenia and Croatia. This represents one of the most intact assemblages of large mammals in Europe with wolves, bears and lynx all present, along with red deer, roe deer and wild boar.
Most of the area is subject to hunter harvest under a system where hunting clubs rent hunting rights to hunt on public land. Our focus will be on large mammals, especially brown bears which are hunted as a valuable game species in Croatia, and are controlled under a controversial derogation from the EU’s habitats directive in Slovenia.
The need for cooperation between an EU and a non-EU country that share a population and the fact that both countries have been subject to temporary international bans on trophy export in recent years illustrates some of the interesting aspects of this controversial harvest.
Slovenia is part of the EU where bears are recognized as a protected species and bear hunting is only allowed to control conflicts. In Croatia however, bears are considered a game species and hunting is organized for trophies. Assuming the same biological system (and model), there is the opportunity to investigate the effect of different management systems on the sustainability of bear hunting.
Hunting in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a country exceptionally high in biodiversity (including endemic species), however, wildlife populations throughout the country have been reduced to a fraction of what they were due to a number of causes, including hunting (e.g. Grey’s zebra, African wild ass, Swayne’s hartebeest, mountain nyala, and elephants).
The killing of animals appears to have several root causes, including cultural traditions, subsistence, buffers during famines, and reprisal against repressive government regimes. There are several national parks and controlled hunting areas throughout the country, although the human and financial capacity for protected area management is low.
The state is highly focused on the monetary benefits from controlled hunting areas, particularly concession fees and trophy fees, although there has been little to no research into the market value of either and reinvestment of hunting revenue into conservation or development is minimal or absent.
New management guidelines for limited harvesting are currently being initiated under a new country-wide Protected Areas Systems Plan.
Hunting in Tanzania
The Tanzanian studies will focus on the role and impacts of hunting in the Serengeti Ecosystem of Northern Tanzania.
The Serengeti has been recognized as a Global Wilderness Area by Conservation International and is the world’s last intact migratory ecosystem containing in excess of two million ungulates and the largest and most diverse guild of carnivores in Africa.
The Serengeti is zoned into different categories of protected areas including national parks allowing only eco tourism, game reserves allowing only trophy hunting and community-based wildlife management areas allowing both trophy hunting and subsistence hunting.
Illegal hunting both for subsistence and for commercial sale is widespread throughout the ecosystem. Trophy hunting focuses primarily on buffalo and lion whilst subsistence hunting is concentrated on smaller bodied ungulates such as wildebeest, impala and gazelle.
The indigenous population is ethnically diverse and includes agro-pastoralists, pastoralists and hunter-gatherers.
Tourism revenue and support from international NGO's have resulted in an efficient protected area management infrastructure and some limited community development activities.