Here's a puzzle: According to Wikipedia’s article on Trophy Hunting, these organizations are “neutral” to it: The National Audubon SocietyDefenders of WildlifeThe Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund”.

Strange, huh? You’d expect they would be strongly opposed to Trophy Hunting.

It's a long argued case, but I think there are several reasons for their stance. One is that hunters take ‘old’ creatures - ones that have passed their mating prime. But do they always do so?

Critics argue that they don’t; and moreover, several say that we can’t afford to lose the dwindling numbers that exist today. In an article in the National Geographic titled “4 Signs the Tide May Be Turning Against Lion Hunting, and 1 It Isn’t,” Brian Howard quotes J. Flocken, the North American director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare:

A century ago Africa had more than 200,000 lions, but today there are an estimated 30,000. With so few lions left, none should be put in the crosshairs. Killing for conservation sounds like an oxymoron and it is.
— Jeff Flocken, IFAW

 

The truth, however, may be more complicated. Much as I dislike admitting it, trophy hunts pay for conservation. They give landowners an incentive to preserve both the numbers and habitat of their game. Countries that permit hunts have increased their wildlife populations, whereas countries that don’t have seen them plummet.

In “A Trophy Hunt That’s Good for Rhinos,” writer and travel buff, R. Conniff argues that:

Over the past 20 years, it has methodically repopulated one area after another as its rhino population has steadily increased. As a result, it is now home to 1,750 of the roughly 5,000 black rhinos surviving in the wild.

In neighboring South Africa, government officials stood by haplessly as poachers slaughtered almost a thousand rhinos last year alone. Namibia lost just two.
— Richard Conniff, New York Times

 

Wikipedia’s Trophy Hunting reiterates those claims:

Kenya, which banned trophy hunting in 1977, has seen a 70 percent decline of wild animals. Because the government has no incentive to protect wild animals, effective enforcement on protecting animals has been a disaster.
— Laurence Frank, UC Berkeley

 

It’s really unfortunate that our wildlife have to be dependent on those that hunt them. Wouldn’t it be better if eco-tourists – I’m talking about people armed with cameras – could take their place?

Perhaps it’s time to clean our lenses and head to a park.

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