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CITES Says Trophy Hunting Should Benefit Local Communities

FILE: A young lion cub plays with a female lion at the Lion Park outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Feb. 4, 2015.

The secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) says communities are likely to benefit from hunting safaris if all countries adopt stringent animal conservation methods that benefit local people.

CITES secretary general John Scanlon told VOA Studoio 7 the conservation of animals like elephants, rhinoceros, lions like Cecil killed recently by an American professional hunter, Walter Palmer, and several others can only be saved through adding value to wild animals.

Scanlon said this can be enhanced if governments classify poaching as a crime equivalent to drug and human trafficking.

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Trophy hunting is a multi-billion industry which generates millions of dollars to safari operators who sell some of the hunts like lions to as much as $50,000 for a single kill. Small animals like impala attract up to $500 in South Africa and Zimbabwe.