Wildlife conservation, trophy hunting, and poaching

I am getting a bit tired of seeing posts that disparage trophy hunting as negative to the overall goal of sensible and sustainable wildlife conservation, while ignoring the main cause of endangerment of those same animals… POACHING!!

In terms of percentage alone, it is arguable that trophy hunting kills barely register on the spectrum when compared to the scourge of poaching, worldwide. Add to that, the fact that these trophy hunts provide revenue to a number of entities… the professional hunter and staff… the local economy by virtue of the stays in local resorts, patronage of restaurants, stores, etc… and to the wildlife conservation efforts through fees paid for the hunt.

Poaching, on the other hand, provides no fees, no resort stays, and virtually no economic effect to the local community, and depletes the wildlife quickly, often with significant waste. The money in poaching is made overseas in the black markets of the far east, where those who buy the ivory, pelts, rhino horns, etc. have no idea that an animal dies to get those things, and the poachers don’t care how many they take, and how it affects the local ecosystem. Poaching flourishes when governments and conservation groups seek to ban controlled, licensed hunting, and, in many cases, where those governments are complicit in the poaching… a sad fact in much of Africa where tin-pot dictators hold absolute power, or where the people don’t get involved in changing.

So, NO, I don’t think trophy hunting needs to stop. I don’t, personally, wish to trophy hunt… I prefer only to hunt for the meat… but that doesn’t make it wrong or counter to my interest in wildlife conservation. The US and Canada have done well with the integration of licensed hunting with wildlife conservation, and many other countries around the world have done well with similar models.

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