Hunting Law in Asia
Hunting law or Game law provides the regulations on quota, license, and limitations for the hunting activities. These laws aim to promote the sustainable “use” of wildlife animals and to reduce illegal hunting. This article explains the basis behind the hunting law, hunting regulation in Asian countries, and international cooperation.
What is hunting law
Game laws in English law are applied to “the statutes which regulate the right to pursue and take or kill certain kinds of wild animals.” These laws are based on the principle of nature of property in the common law: physical possession of things and the power to deal with them.
The current hunting law is a tool for conservation with the benefits to establish safety guidelines for hunting that protect both hunters and non-hunters, to offer equal opportunity for all hunters, whether they use modern firearms, muzzleloaders, or bows, and to ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs by collecting license fees, which annually raises millions of dollars.
The laws have the limitation on the hunting areas, hunting seasons, hunting methods and equipment, quotas or bags. The administration makes the conservation plans and issues the licenses for hunting to the hunters. It will benefit the ecosystem in the long run if the rules are carefully planned and fully followed.
Factors affecting the implementation of the hunting law
However, the key issue is that the ecosystem changes all the time, and wildlife management cannot be perfect all the time. Once the quotas and limits fail to meet the basic demand of the ecosystem, the population of certain species may be harmed significantly by the legal hunters with the “proper” license.
Another factor is the swings in the popularity of hunting as one of the important underappreciated human factors involved. A study shows that “changes in the behavior of hunters may place game populations at a greater risk of collapse if hunting regulations are too slow or too incremental in adjusting to the changes in the size of the animal populations.”
Besides, even if the law is perfect with the changes of the ecosystem, either intentional, unintentional, or accidental violation of the laws may have a severe impact on the wildlife population. In order to ensure the enforcement of the law, monitoring and management in the hunting area cost a lot including the police sources and money. One officer as a regional manager with Parks and Wildlife said that “the number of violations in any given year is extremely variable, jumping up and down from year to year with seemingly no real driving factor.”
Persons who fail to purchase a license, as well as those who violate the terms of their licenses, commit acts of poaching. Poaching is another issue for hunting licenses. The intentional violation of the hunting law can lead to criminal duty as well as the cancellation of the permission for hunting for several years.
Hunting laws in different jurisdictions in Asia
Wildlife is protected under the provisions of Wildlife Protection and Hunting Law (Law No. 32 of 4 April 1918. Final Amendment: Law No. 85 of 22 June 1972), as well as its habitat. Hunting restrictions are applied to endangered species or animals whose number is decreasing. A permit is issued by the competent authority for hunting activities, but hunting is strictly forbidden in sanctuary areas, temporary no-hunting zones (up to three years), and other selected places. Hunting restrictions apply also to tackles and explosives. Inspection of the premises where the game live is authorized by the competent authority. No trading or selling of protected fauna is permitted.
Article 1 states the purpose of the law is “to protect and propagate the game, to control and prevent the danger of the harmful game through the execution of game protection project and effectuation of hunting for the purpose of the improvement of living environment and contribution to the promotion of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.”
This law is implemented by the Cabinet order for the implementation of the Wildlife Protection and Hunting Law and Implementation Ordinance of the Wildlife Protection and Hunting Law.
Poaching is a crime according to the Criminal Code of China (Article 341) and hunting wild animals is generally banned by the Wildlife Animal Conservation Law (2018)(Article 21.1) and only the license holder can hunt in accordance with the types, quantities, locations, tools, methods and time limit specified in the special hunting license. (Article 23) There are two types of hunting licenses, one is for scientific research in Article 21.2, the other is the normal hunting in Article 22.
The Law on Hunting of 2000 regulates hunting activities in Mongolia. The purpose of this Law is to regulate hunting and trapping of game animals and the proper use of hunting reserves. Hunting management shall refer to activities to develop the justification for the proper use conservation, and breeding of a territory; animal reserve by investigating and establishing the game animal’s distribution, numbers, herd structure, reproduction, and hunting reserve. Hunting Management reports and evaluations shall form the basis for the activities on the conservation, breeding, and proper use of game animal reserves. Hunting Management shall be conducted by a Certified Professional Organization authorized by the State Administrative Central Organization in charge of environmental affairs.
According to Section 9 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, hunting is prohibited. “No person shall hunt any wild animal as specified in schedules, I, II, III, and IV except as provided under section 11 and section 12.” Article 11 and 12 allow permits in certain cases and special purposes.
The basic discipline of hunting and fishing, including the prohibition of illegal, not licensed hunting and fishing can be found in the Environmental Code. Some relevant norms can be found in the Forestry Code. The detailed regulation for hunting can be found in the Rules of Hunting on the Territory of Kazakhstan.
According to Law No. 354 on Wildlife, wildlife in Tajikistan shall be the exclusive property of the state that ensures protection and efficient management thereof in the interests of the people. By purposeful use wildlife shall be classified as: “(a) rare and endangered species; (b) species subject to hunting; …” Law No. 1118 on Hunting and Hunting Management sets forth legal and economic grounds for hunting and hunting management, regulates social relations concerning rational management and sustainable use, protection and reproduction of the game, natural habitats thereof, and also the right of hunting for natural persons and communities to exercise hunting.
More materials on other Asian countries are coming soon. Read more on Hunting Law in the U.S.
The two pillars of the international regime on the protection of wildlife are represented by CITES and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), adopted in Bonn in 1979.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. CITES was adopted in 1963 and was agreed by 80 countries in 1973 and came into force in 1975, and now there are 183 parties to the Convention. There are three CITES Appendices: Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants, Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled, and Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
CMS (Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) as an environmental treaty of the United Nations, provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. In 2021, CMS has 132 Parties around the world, including 20 countries in Asia.
TRAFFIC is a “leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.” TRAFFIC carries out “research, investigations and analysis to compile the evidence it uses to catalyze action by governments, businesses, and individuals, in collaboration with a wide range of partners, to help ensure that wildlife trade is not a threat to the conservation of nature.” They work “in and connects across some of the world’s most critical wildlife trade hotspots to identify and help address both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development challenges and opportunities linked to trade in wild species.”
Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) is a voluntary partnership of 14 international organizations with substantive mandates and programs to promote the sustainable use and conservation of wildlife resources, which was established in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. CPW is aiming to “increase cooperation and coordination on sustainable wildlife management issues among its members, where such adds value, in order to promote the sustainable management of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife in all biomes and geographic areas, contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to human food security, livelihoods, and well-being.”
The system of licensed hunting can benefit the ecosystem when the quotas are carefully planned by the experts and the law is fully followed with enough police sources for monitoring and management. However, these two requirements cannot be easily achieved in most developing countries in Asia so that the hunting system will harm the ecosystem and cause the reduction of the wildlife population. It is inappropriate for the wildlife administration agencies to sell the hunting licenses for the source of funding to protect other animals. The hunters and the public shall be educated about the dark side of the legalized hunting and the harm of poaching.