This was contained in the preliminary findings of the environmental affairs department’s statistics for 2012, Phasa CEO Adri Kitshoff said in a statement.
The findings showed that tourists who visited for hunting purposes contributed R811m to the economy in 2012, compared to R901m in 2011, Kitshoff said.
Rhino hunting showed the biggest decrease, with 85 fewer harvests in 2012 than in 2011.
This meant only R36m was contributed by rhino hunting in 2012, compared to R84m in 2011, Kitshoff said.
Lion hunting showed the biggest increase, with 151 more harvests in 2012 raising R122m, as opposed to the R77m made in 2011.
There was a public outcry this week when US television personality and game hunter Melissa Bachman was pictured on Twitter alongside a lion she killed while in South Africa, with the comment: “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion… what a hunt!”
Activists petitioned the South African government to “deny future entry” to Bachman, accusing her of being “an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation”. They obtained more than 150,000 signatures.
The environmental affairs department could not be reached to confirm the findings.