Trophy hunting has often been cited as a way of making wildlife “pay its way” and therefore aid conservation but is this really thought through ? Why should wildlife “pay its way” after all does everything in the world we wish to preserve pay its way ? What about other natural wonders, mountains, waterfalls and human made monuments, buildings art work ? Do they all make a profit ? Come to think about it what about humans that don’t make a profit ( most people retire in the developed economies from that point they are a net loss do we make them pay or else !)
Ok lets assume we ignore the moral argument and say “tough” animals that have been on the planet for millions of years must pay their way for an animal (us) that has been around for 250 thousand years.
So just from a pure logical solution should individuals that feel the need, and have the money, be allowed to shoot some of the animals and a portion of that money help look after the ones which don’t get shot ? Would it or does it work ?
Well I and many others think no and for a number of reasons.
- The first one is a bit obvious and really makes the others a bit redundant. It hasn’t worked. Hunting and trophy hunting exists in many areas in Africa yet all those hunted species have declined. There is no population booms of Lions in the Selous in Southern Tanzania, take a look here , where hunting is allowed in around 80% of the reserve.
- Ok so lets pretend you ignore the above or you are just checking the other reasons. Hunting is selective but in entirely the opposite direction of natural selection. Trophy hunters look for trophies ( hence the name !). They look for the biggest horns, heads, manes and tusks. Therefore they pick off the fittest animals, the animals that are dominant within their group. This causes conflict ( leading to more deaths) and the removal of the fittest ( as opposed to the survival of the fittest. To read more about this take a look here
3. Still not convinced by the facts well read on. If you kill an animal for a trophy it is generally going to be a large mammal and will have a social role. Mother, pack leader, hunter and so on. So a single shot can leave an orphan, orphans and or an undefended pack/herd/pride so that one shot kills more than one animal. How brave does that hunter look now knowing they will be causing the death of other unprotected animals, usually young, due to their brief ego fix ?
4. Finally do you honestly think that a large amount of the money ends up going back into conservation from the company that runs a hunting operation ? Don’t take their word look at their company accounts.
So if you are at a dinner party or in a bar and somebody attempts to justify their hunting trip try running these points past them. If they still go on about the “rush”of shooting an unarmed animal with a high velocity rifle then perhaps it’s a good time to change dinner guests or the bar where you drink.