Trophy Hunting To Save Endangered Species Is A Counterintuitive

This issue is complex and counterintuitive. The hunting fraternity of trophy hunters is under the assumption trophy hunting is helping to conserve those very animals on the critically endangered list. They believe this is done under the name of conservation. For many, that argument is deeply flawed as its premise is based on breeding animals to kill them for one's entertainment, providing funds to help conserve animals' future progeny to replenish and start the cycle all over again.

Trophy Hunting defined

Trophy hunting or sport hunting is the hunting dedicated to wild game for human recreation. Generally, only parts of the animal are kept as a trophy (usually the head, skin, horns or antlers) and the carcass is sometimes used for food.

Debates pertaining to trophy hunting center on the morality of recreational hunting versus the supposed conservation efforts of big-game and ranch hunting. This type of activity is opposed based on the observed decline in animal endangered species that are the targets of trophy hunting

Trump's Wildlife Advisory Board

Trump's position on trophy hunting is lax and retroactive. With his sons and closest friends as active trophy hunters, he's reversed the federal ban on elephant trophy imports.

In March 2018, he quietly made it legal to bring elephant and lion parts in the US as trophies.

A White House wildlife advisory board, created by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has rewritten federal rules to help the majority board members, who are trophy hunters.

Instead of appointing scientists or conservation experts, the International Wildlife Conservation Council is composed almost entirely of these board members who like to boast about all of their "Big Five" souvenirs – which includes lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape Buffalo.

After reviewing the resumes of the new council's 16 board members, ten of them are high-profile members of Safari Club International, which is a hunting organization that lobbied hard against Obama's federal ban on elephant and lion trophy imports. In the Club's Dallas branch, ex-president Chris Hudson has publicized his auctioning off of a $350,000 permit to kill an endangered black rhino in Namibia.

Opponents of Trophy Hunting

On December 17, 2018, in a letter to the Guardian, a group of well-known celebrities such as Piers Morgan, Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheehan and Joanna Lumley condemns trophy hunting as "cruel, immoral, archaic and unjustifiable."

The ethical position against killing animals for sports is it's unjust to kill animals for one's entertainment. If you're not hungry or defending yourself, the belief is hunting for this purpose is not justified. This is especially heinous if your priority is to collect some of its body parts as a keepsake, trophy or an item to complete a collection, such as the Big 5.

Claudio Sillero, an associate professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and head of conservation for the Born Free Foundation, puts a finer point on this argument: "[To] kill a sentient being for the sake of killing, and stuff its carcass or hang its head on the wall is sickening," Sillero says via email. "Under the veneer of helping the poor in biodiversity-rich, cash-poor nations, these people get away with a wicked abuse simply because they can."

"Although the dollar figures associated with killing a large, often endangered or vanishingly rare, animal can be mouth-watering for those managing wildlife resources in faraway countries, these figures often do not stack up when scrutinized," Sillero says. "Booking agencies, outfitters, professional hunters, air charters, caterers, camp managers and the occasional backhanders, take the lion's share of the fees paid by the clients. Speaking from experience in Africa, most of that money does not even reach the country where the killings take place."

Another justification levied by the trophy hunting industry is that hunting occurs in communal areas outside national parks or reserves where people would not be able to tend to the needs of the wildlife without the help of hunters thinning the herd.

However, Sillero disputes this point. He says "many of the popular hunting blocks are actually adjacent to national parks, and that hunting trophy animals create a vacuum — an ecological void — where new animals move in searching for food or mating opportunities. Those new animals may end up hunted and shot as well, producing a conveyor belt that affects a protected population deep into the park." He adds this was "clearly the case for Zimbabwe lions in Hwange National Park."

Your thoughts readers. Are you for or against trophy hunting?

Primary Source: The Guardian