Big Game Hunting
Trophy Hunting in the eyes of many is no doubt a deplorable action. When you think about it, taking a life of another, even if it is a completely different species, is something quite a lot of people can't do. It could be for religious reasons, morals or simply the act itself.
From here on out, I do want all of you to READ this take carefully, I will try to be as neutral as possible without bias.
First, why do people Trophy Hunt and more importantly, why do certain people endorse it?
When you think of Trophy hunters, you think of white semi-rich to rich people that likes to use their rifle and shoot down some exotic animals, bring a bit of their corpse back home and display it on a wall like some kind of trophy.
That is pretty hard to argue, I've been looking at a couple of photos and many if not all of them seems to display white people posing next to the corpse acting as if they have just done something awesome. To many people, its not exactly something they'd like to see, I admit, I'm indifferent but I understand the disgust many of my friends and colleagues have at those hunters.
But here is the shocker, who or what endorses this Trophy hunting program? Most African governments and/or organisations that works with conservation actually support the Trophy Hunting Program.
There are studies that do support that a WELL MANAGED hunting program is actually effective at not only conserving animal numbers, but even capable of increasing the population as well.
That's hard to believe, killing animals can increase the population?
That's my reaction at first when I've read a couple of articles and watched a few videos in regards to it. However, if they do state it as if it were fact, then naturally there should be some sort of evidence right?
To be honest, I was a little hard pressed for that, I did see some evidence that it certainly is a viable solution.
However, that solution requires several forms of criteria that must be fulfilled in order for Trophy Hunting to be beneficial overall. The argument for Trophy hunting seems to base around providing economic benefits for local communities, warding of poachers which are considerably worse than trophy hunters, provide food for villages, cull certain parts of the population that can harm the population itself and fund long term conservation projects such as building parks etc.
Sounds fair right? Provided that the management of the Trophy hunting is correctly done, then yeah it can possibly work. Poachers are one of the major if not biggest threat to most animals especially of exotic nature. Warding them off is certainly going to protect numbers in a sense.
Culling animal numbers do make sense, there are some cases where hunting is very warranted, for example Lionfishes at the coast of Florida which are known for destroying a large number of species due to their strong ability to hunt and a lack of efficient predators against them (they aren't really native to the area, they've been introduced by human intervention). Another example is the Reindeers in Norway that had the issue of a brain disease caused by a prion. The Norway Government is forced to exterminate the infected herd (I'm aware this isn't trophy hunting, but regardless this is a viable solution against this problem) to ensure that the rest of the animal population (yes animal), remains safe as prions have proven to be difficult to combat due to their virulent nature (I'm almost sure there is no viable cure either).
Economic benefits also makes sense, Trophy hunters (in accordance to trophy hunting program) pay big money just to shoot an animal or two under the direction of the organisation or government. That money can be used to fun conservation projects and hire guards to deal with Poachers as well. To me, these are fairly sound arguments, but there are still a few questions that comes into mind.
Corruption in institutes do happen, what are some of the checks and balances that could be used to ensure the Government and Conservation organisations don't abuse their own system? I'm sure if you are all privy to current African politics, there is a coup currently happening in Zimbabwe as of the writing of this article. It makes you question that if this is happening in an African country, what could we expect from Government controlled organisations that focused on conservation? It does make me feel uncertain about their intentions and capability.
Managing hunting will require a very large space so that animals can roam the area effectively with as much freedom as possible. That means it's not likely there are other forms of facilities that generates revenue in those areas. This makes me question the viability of the economic benefits of the Trophy hunting program. Sure it generates a large amount of money, but at the cost of not only animal lives, but fairly large area as well.
Finally, because the targets of the hunt are usually large and older animals, what effects could it have on the rest of the groups' function if that larger and older animal gets eliminated?
Say if its a lioness for example, how would the cubs learn to hunt? who would protect them from external factors such as other animals?
I'm all for making sure that animals go through with their lives in the most natural way possible, that's almost impossible due to human intervention (poachers being the most problematic).
Trophy hunting, while it does seem sound, needs so many things to go the correct way to make it viable. Is it the most feasible? Maybe, I'm on the fence. I'm sure there may be a better solution down the road but I've honestly yet to find one right now.
But I'd like to hear your opinions guys and girls. Please, let's be civil, I understand that this topic is something of passion to many of you, if that's the case, instead of firing off with a frenzy, you are welcome to PM me of your own opinion.
Note, if there is a mistake, please point it out and I'm happy to correct it.