Trophy Hunting: Why It Should Be Banned

  1. Definition of Key Terms: 
  • Trophy hunting is hunting of wild animals and displayed trophies
  • Whole or parts of the hunted animal kept and usually displayed to represent the success of the hunter
  1. Reason #1: Trophy hunting contributes to the endangerment of animal species

Humane Society International. “Trophy Hunting – Humane Society International.” Humane Society International, 2018, https://www.hsi.org/issues/trophy-hunting/ Accessed 14 March 2022

  • Tons of species will be driven to extinction because of trophy hunting, and some species already have
  • “Over the last 20 years lion population has gone from 300,000 to less than 30,000,” said Shandor Larenty, an animal trainer and conservationist at Lion Park in Gauteng Province, outside Johannesburg, South Africa
  • The organization Save Animals From Extinction reports “The population of African lions is less than half of what it was just three decades ago, and their populations have been wiped out across much of Africa. Unless we act now, African lions could be extinct in the wild by 2050.”
  • “In the 1950’s, the lion population was at 450,000. Today, the lion population has dropped significantly to only 30,000. Why such a big drop? The answer is simple. Hunting and poaching.”
  • ABC news writes, “75 percent of wild lions have been killed in the last 20 years,  and if nothing is done to slow that pace within 10 years the only lions left could be in zoos”
  • Therefore, since so many animals are being put at risk of endangerment which eventually leads to extinction, if we don’t solve the trophy hunting problem now, we will run out of time.  

Multiple studies have proven the dramatic effect of extinction and that’s not all.

“Trophy Hunting – Are There Pros to Go with the Cons?” Ranger Mac, 17 Feb. 2018, https://rangermac.org/trophy-hunting-pros-go-cons/ Accessed 13 March 2022

  • People trophy hunt for the bragging rights and money without thinking about some severe consequences. It doesn’t show bravery, it just shows carelessness and selfishness
    • “A few years back, for instance, a Texas millionaire paid $350,000 and won a bid to hunt and kill one of the last remaining black rhinoceroses in Namibia.”
    • Again, why do people trophy hunt if it endangers animals? – They do it for displaying the animals parts or making a big stuffed animal out of them all for bragging rights and money
    • More than 200,000 threatened or endangered animals are killed for trophies each year
    • More than half of the United States allows the hunting of black bears for sport.
    • Animals are killed too young to have a chance to reproduce

4. Reason #2: Not only does trophy hunting endanger animals, it has a negative impact on the environment. 

Briggs, Helen. “Trophy Hunting Removes ‘Good Genes’ and Raises Extinction Risk.” BBC News, 29 Nov. 2017,https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42152393 Accessed 14 March 2022

  • My partner will touch up more on this side of our argument, but briefly: killing the largest and strongest animals causes population decline which negatively affects the species and environment
    • For example, killing a dominant lion can leave the cubs vulnerable to other animals and mother nature
    • A Study led by Dr. Robert Knell at the University of London, England found that animals killed for trophies often have the best genes suited for survival.“They also father a high proportion of the offspring, ” said Knell. “But if they’re killed before they can spread their ‘good genes’ around, this reduces the overall fitness and resilience of that population. If the population is having to adapt to a new environment and you remove even a small proportion of these high quality males, you could drive it to extinction.”
    • We’ve seen a similar situation in Yellowstone when the wolves were killed off causing a tremendous effect on their ecosystem
    • To provide some context, EarthJustice, a nonprofit organization based in the United States dedicated to environmental issues states “after the wolves were gone, the bears and coyotes that were left weren’t able to kill as many elk as the wolves had done. Soon, the elk population skyrocketed, resulting in overgrazing, particularly of willows and other vegetation important to soil and riverbank structure, leaving the landscape vulnerable to erosion.” 
    • Wouldn’t that just happen again regardless of areas being “protected”
  • Some people believe that trophy hunting supports the environment because areas are protected for conservation and prevented from human development, and while some of the money from trophy hunting supports conservation, much of it goes to the wrong people and is not used for conservation
  • According to a 2013 study by Economists at Large, “…only around 3% of revenue generated by trophy hunting stays in local communities for welfare, education, and other community-based programs. The vast majority goes in the pockets of the trophy hunting outfitters
  • With eco-friendly tourism as a replacement, the whole issue could be solved. Whilst teaching people about animals, local communities get income areas that are still protected and most importantly, animals are too.
  • Micheal Markalean, Chief Program & Policy Officer, The Humane Society of the United States, “Are these animals worth more to local economies alive or dead? One African conservationist estimated that eco-tourists from just one lodge paid more in a week to take pictures of Cecil than the $55,000 that Palmer spent to put the lion’s head on his trophy wall. Over his lifetime, a living Cecil could have brought in $1 million in tourism.”
  • The Humane Society International explains, “They also do their sport-killing domestically: Bears, bobcats, mountain lions, wolves and other domestic wildlife also fall victim to trophy hunting, damaging natural ecosystems.”

Whether you are an environmentalist or not it is important to understand the impact trophy hunting has on the world and how it will end up affecting us. Like we’ve seen before, taking out one thing can change everything else. That goes for DNA, one deletion messes up all of the codes, and for animals, again, like we’ve seen in the wolves of yellowstone, one removal of a species collapses everything relying on that, the food chain, plants, water etc.

6. Questions the opposing side may have:

  1. In most African countries conservation is underfunded, and many areas simply don’t have the money to effectively manage wildlife without the significant revenue generated from trophy hunting.

→ If eco-friendly tourism was the replacement for trophy hunting, there would be profit which would contribute to African communities more than trophy hunting, and no human development since the area is protected. Ecotourism engages visitors with Africa’s biodiversity and culture, with a focus on preserving it rather than destroying it.

  1. Helps to protect many different species that wouldn’t otherwise be protected. If trophy hunting were to be banned, this land would likely be transformed to generate the most money having negative impacts on wildlife and reducing available habitat.

→  If eco-friendly tourism was the replacement for trophy hunting, there would be profit, no human development since the area is protected. Ecotourism engages visitors with Africa’s biodiversity and culture, with a focus on preserving it rather than destroying it.

  1. Income source for many people and african communities and supports government

→ It’s “fun” until it isn’t – if animals are being killed for fun or as a source of income, what about when they are extinct? Where do you get your income after that? Human Society International: “In eight key African countries, trophy hunters contribute at most 0.03 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and at most 0.76 percent of overall tourism jobs.” HuffPost, Micheal Markalean, Chief Program & Policy Officer, The Humane Society of the United States,“Wildlife-based ecotourism is a big industry in Africa and dwarfs trophy hunting in its economic impact. According to a report by the World Tourism Organization, wildlife-based ecotourism generated an estimated $34.2 billion in tourist spending in 2013. In Zimbabwe, tourism provides 6.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the country, dwarfing the meager 0.2 percent that trophy hunters provide.

  1. Conserves land and biodiversity

→“Research predicts that removing even 5% of high-quality males risks wiping out the entire population, for species under stress in a changing world. Animals prized by trophy hunters for their horns, antlers or tusks usually have the best genes, say UK scientists.”

  1. Hunting protects the land from human development

→  If eco-friendly tourism was the replacement for trophy hunting, there would be profit, no human development since the area is protected. Ecotourism engages visitors with Africa’s biodiversity and culture, with a focus on preserving it rather than destroying it.

          6. Provides jobs

→ The Humane Society International states, “Compared to trophy hunting, wildlife-watching tourism generates far more income to support conservation and provides far more jobs to local people.” “In eight key African countries, trophy hunters contribute at most 0.03 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and at most 0.76 percent of overall tourism jobs.” The common myth that trophy hunting has created 53,000 jobs is not true, Born Free USA states, “Trophy hunting only supports around 7,500 – 15,500 jobs in these nations, which have a combined total population of around 290 million people.”

Works Cited:

“Trophy Hunting – Are There Pros to Go with the Cons?” Ranger Mac, 17 Feb. 2018, https://rangermac.org/trophy-hunting-pros-go-cons/ Accessed 13 March 2022

Briggs, Helen. “Trophy Hunting Removes ‘Good Genes’ and Raises Extinction Risk.” BBC News, 29 Nov. 2017,https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42152393 Accessed 14 March 2022

“Follow the Money: Trophy Hunting Does Not Help Communities.” Born Free USA, 28 July 2020,https://www.bornfreeusa.org/2020/07/28/follow-the-money-trophy-hunting-does-not-help-communities. Accessed 14 March 2022

Robertson, Josh. “Trophy Hunting | Conservation Conversation.” Conservation Conversation | Wildlife Science & Media, 2010, https://www.conservationconversation.co.uk/trophy-hunting Accessed 14 March 2022

Humane Society International. “Trophy Hunting – Humane Society International.” Humane Society International, 2018, https://www.hsi.org/issues/trophy-hunting/ Accessed 14 March 2022

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