Hunting for sport is big business in South Africa pumping billions of rand into the country's economy. Sonia Legg reports on the controversial practice that draws both praise and criticism from conservationists.
Big game has been attracting visitors to Africa for decades. But in South Africa there's a new focus. Hunting not watching is the roaring business. SOUNDBITE (English) GAME FARMER STAN BURGER SAYING: "We found a herd, a bachelor herd of Impala males, and the wind was fortunately in our favour and we managed to get him onto the sticks and we shot a very good shot, a clean shot, broke the Impala's spine, put him down with one shot." Stan Burger is a game farmer. And while the sport may be frowned upon by many it's attracting a global following. SOUNDBITE (English) GAME FARMER STAN BURGER SAYING: "Our main business is trophy hunting which we do with mainly America clients from, you know all the different states hugely in the midwest, and we bring them out here and we do a fair amount of hunting on this property, but also on surrounding properties and concessions." The industry employs an estimated 100,000 workers and it's a big earner. In 2013 foreign huntsmen spent more than $91 million in South Africa, a third up on the previous year. Impala were the most popular with 5,700 shot while lions brought in the highest revenue at 122 million rand. An entry level two-week shooting safari costs around $10,000. Adri Kitshoff is Chief Executive of the Professional Hunters' Association. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA (PHASA), ADRI KITSHOFF, SAYING: "It's an economic contribution of about R10 billion. And then you look at the wildlife industry with more than 10,000 game farms , it's a huge contribution to our GDP." South Africa's game population has grown to 24 million from around 600,000 in the late 1960s. And most of it is in private ownership. The pro-hunting lobby says that means ranchers have an incentive to protect the animals. But there is a potential threat looming. The U.S. plans to list lions as an endangered species, meaning hunters won't be able to bring their trophies home. That's a big attraction for many.