Namibia’s seals are worth more alive than dead

Seal slaughter is damaging Namibia’s economy, says study

September 2011: Namibian fur seals are slaughtered in their thousands each year, but now a new economic study has confirmed the seals are worth three times as much alive rather than dead.

Comparing the latest figures for the seal trade and seal watching, the report says that the annual Namibian seal slaughter poses a major risk to the far more lucrative seal watching tourism industry.

Pelts can fetch less than £4
Each year in Namibia, nursing baby seals are forcibly separated from their mothers and beaten and stabbed to death for their fur. Their pelts are sold for less than £4 each. Seal watching takes place on the very same beaches where the killing is allowed: Cape Cross, Atlas Bay and Wolf Bay. During the hunt season, from July 1 to November 15, hundreds of baby seals are clubbed to death between dawn and 8am at Cape Cross, a seal reserve.

At 10am, the same beach opens as a seal-watching attraction and hundreds of tourists flood in, oblivious to the carnage that took place just hours earlier.

The report, produced by the Australia-based independent economics consultancy Economists at Large, reveals that in 2008, the seal hunt generated only £320,000, a poor comparison to seal watching which netted £1.3 million in direct tourism expenditure in the same period.

Culling threatens lucrative tourist industry
It gives a detailed insight into the seal slaughter by examining the monetary benefits attached to each part of the trade. Bull seals account for a large proportion of the profits attached to the seal kills, as their penises are sold in Asian markets for alleged aphrodisiac qualities, at about £85 per kilogram. Aside from the low income netted by the seal slaughter, the practice poses a real threat to the far more lucrative seal-watching industry; large scale killing could lead to a collapse of seal populations, as witnessed in the 1990s.

Seal watching in contrast is a popular tourism activity undertaken by around 10 per cent of tourists to Namibia – just over 100,000 in 2008. Based on current growth trends, the report predicts that by 2016 as many as 175,000 tourists will participate in seal watching, generating close £2.2 million in direct revenues. Seal watching also delivers benefits to a far wider range of Namibian society than seal killing, helping boost tourism support services such as hotels and restaurants.

Call on Namibia to end slaughter
Mark Jones, executive director of Humane Society International UK, one of a group of organisation’s that commissioned the report, said: ‘The Namibian authorities have long defended the seal slaughter on the grounds that it generates money and jobs, but this report shows that it could actually be damaging to the economy.

‘We call upon the government of Namibia to end the cruel slaughter of baby seals for their fur, and act in the best interest of its citizens and the seals, by promoting seal watching as a viable and sustainable economic alternative.’

Claire Bass, WSPA Interbational Oceans Campaign Leader, said: ‘ Each year up to 85,000 seals are killed in Namibia to make just a few dollars from their furs; this report highlights that they would be worth so much more to the Namibian economy alive.

‘Eco-tourism is a growing part of Namibia’s identity but tourists will be shocked to find that a seal they photograph one day may be killed the next morning. There is a clear economic case for the government to protect these animals.’

Source:http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/seals-namibia.html

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 12 September, 2011.

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