Trophy hunting is the killing of animals for recreational purposes. Those engaged in the sport keep the dead animals as a souvenir and often eat the meat.
In Africa, the meat is usually shared with local communities. This is strictly done for recreation and the tourist or the hunter pays tens of thousands of dollar to conservationists to trophy hunt.
Proponents of trophy hunting claim the hunting fees often go toward conservation efforts such as portions of hunting license fees, hunting tags and ammunition taxes.
At a time when some species are endangered, and other on the brink of extinction, should trophy hunting be encouraged?
Recently, we heard the news of the northern white rhino on the verge of extinction in Kenya. Only 3 of these endangered animals are left in the world according to records.
With cases like this, one questions the value of trophy hunting.
Trophy hunting has been controversial for decades. Some activists think it offers no long-term conservation advantage, and provides minimal economic and employment value.
They see it as “unethical, cruel, a threat to non-consumptive tourism like wildlife watching.
Here is a conflicting fact:
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), a non-profit organisation that advocates for conservation and hunting, says that “hunting tourism” is an important tool to combat one of the biggest threats to African wildlife.
They argue that so long as local communities benefit in some way from hunting funds through jobs, payouts, or development projects they are far less likely to poach wildlife that they view as destructive to their livelihood.
Now,Zimbabwe’s Sango Wildlife Conservancy is big on trophy hunting , yet it is willing to, over the next six years, donate 6,000 large mammals to Zinave park in Mozambique as part of the Peace Park Foundation’s programme to rewild a vast tract of land in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier conservation area.
The owner of this Conservancy, Wilfried Pabst, says this donation would not be possible without funds from controversial trophy hunting.
Sango is at the center of Zimbabwe’s Savé Valley conservancy, in remote eastern Zimbabwe.
Besides trophy hunting, other people choose to tame wild animals in their homes and keep them as pets.
This is equally dangerous because you can’t trust the instincts of wild animals. An example of a casualty linked to this practice is an incident in April when a 12-year-old boy was attacked by a tamed lion in his grandmother’s house.
The boy, Kristian Prinsloo, did not survive the attack that left him in a critical condition at a hospital in Pretoria where he died. The three-year-old “tame” lion was kept in a cage at a luxury estate where the boy’s 75-year-old grandmother lived. The lion was one of three belonging to the grandmother’s neighbours in the Limpopo province.
The lion suddenly appeared in the kitchen where the boy was and before Kristian could run to the bedroom as directed by his grandmother, the lion went for his throat.Unfortunately he died.
The question remains, is it worth jeopardizing our safety and the safety of others to satisfy our desire?