The South African wildlife tourism industry is based on trophy hunting and together with international wildlife trade it can represent a major treat to biodiversity conservation. Annually, thousands of hunters participate in hunting activities in South Africa and thousands of trophy items are traded across international borders. This research is a result of comprehensive quantitative analysis in how far data of trophy hunting kills and data of trophy export are consistent on the example of South Africa.
Data were extracted from 2 different sources: trade data reported under the CITES Trade Database on export of trophy items from South Africa within the year 2018; South African Professional Hunting statistics (SAPHs) containing trophy kills information for each species and the country of origin of the hunter. In the year 2018, a total of 3,126 hunting trophy items of 28 endangered taxa were exported out of South Africa to 37 countries that contributed to trophy hunting trade in South Africa. However, 64 countries participated in trophy hunting of endangered taxa in South Africa and a total of 4,726 trophy kills of 28 trophy-hunted endangered taxa were reported. Therefore, the level of inconsistence in data of trophy hunting kills and data of trophy hunting export is significant and differs to varying degrees across the countries contributing to trophy hunting and CITES-listed trophy-hunted species. This research provides possible reasons for the inconsistency and propose recommendations for improving the CITES reporting system.