By Alexis Croswell
Trophy hunting is a specific type of hunting where a portion of the animal is kept as a souvenir to memorialize the experience. It is not illegal, as poaching is, but there is certainly a debate that surrounds the practice.
When photos surfaced of Melissa Bachman posing with a lion she killed, the outrage was immense (for perhaps more complex reasons than solely hunting). In a story on this topic, OGP’s Kristina Pepelko said, “The backlash to her photo is certainly warranted as big game hunting is a poor excuse for conservation, especially when 75 percent of wild lions have been killed in the last 20 years, and this number is likely to accelerate in the next decade if nothing is done, as reported by ABC News.”
Killing animals in the name of conservation is surprisingly something that many groups have claimed. The Dallas Safari Club is proposing to auction off a “special permit” from the government of Namibia to hunt one of Namibia’s 1,800 remaining black rhinos. All in the name of conservation.
While trophy hunting often brings in money to certain parks or locations, it’s counterproductive to the overall idea of conservation. Why shoot something you supposedly want to protect?
1. Trophy hunting can hurt the overall population of a species
Though hunting groups often claim that a small amount of controlled trophy hunting does not harm populations, the opposite appears to be true. In the case of African lions, “Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats…The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride,” reports Jeff Flocken for National Geographic.
The recent Michigan wolf hunt has been filled with controversy - wolves were recently removed from the endangered species list, and soon after, hunted for trophies. The Toledo Blade reports, “People who understand conservation were appalled [about the hunt\. Michigan Technological University Professor John Vucetich, a conservation biologist, said, ‘There is no scientific evidence wolves need to be hunted.’ He added: ‘It’s not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction, only to begin killing the animal.’”
It seems that there would be less destructive ways to conserve a species, specifically, one that doesn’t involve putting a price on their head. More....