If trophy hunters contribute to lion conservation then the world is messed up

Trophy hunters can help lion conservation so says a UK government commissioned report. This has made animal advocates very angry. And when I think about it, I am drawn to one conclusion: if killing lions for trophies helps to protect the lion then the world has to be in a mess. Conservation has come down, in a desperate last stand, to killing the animals that humans are meant to protect as a way of protecting them. Mad? Well no, more like corruption.

Palmer on the left
Does this help lion conservation? Dr Palmer on the left. Trophy hunting makes a lot of people very angry.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK commissioned David MacDonald, director of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) to review trophy hunting and the importation of trophies into Britain. A key failure in commissioning this organisation is that it has received donations from organisations that supported trophy hunting. For example, in 2012 a WildCRU researcher received funding from the Dallas Safari Club for work in Tanzania (source: The Times).

MacDonald concluded that trophy hunting “has the potential to contribute to lion conservation” provided it is well regulated, transparent and “devolves sufficient authority to the land managers”.

Further he says that the money from shooting lions provides a financial incentive to maintain lion habitat. Yes, I agree that when shooting lions brings in a lot of money the people making the money will ensure that there are lions to shoot and that means breeding them and providing habitat for them to live in. But this is not conservation. This is creating a kind of shooting range park where lions are kept to be shot.

True conservation is protecting wild lions in the habitat of their choosing. It means leaving them alone. It also means protecting their prey. On a common sense basis shooting lions can’t be good for conservation. And in any case the money does not always (if ever?) go into conservation. It often goes into the pockets of business people to invest in ventures other than conservation.

There is too much corruption in Africa for this sort of money to be used properly in the interests of wildlife.

MacDonald says that trophy hunting does not have a substantially negative effect on lion population size. I am not sure that that is true. But even if it is true, surely to encourage trophy hunting of lions is to encourage sport hunting generally in Africa of all kinds of large “game”. If you encourage this killing for pleasure it cannot contribute to conservation in the long term. One likely outcome is that sport hunting will be expanded in Africa and through corruption and malpractice it will, in time, have a substantially detrimental effect on wildlife. It is already happening as far as I am concerned.

There is also the negative impact that trophy hunting has on people’s relationship with wildlife. If experts say it is okay to shoot endangered wildlife for fun then we are diminishing the value of wildlife on the planet. This can only lead to further abuse and unethical use of wildlife.

Pieter Kat, director of LionAid said that the report gave a false impression that trophy hunting could be sustainable. It can’t be when it is contributing to the decline in lion numbers.

The truth is that the sport hunting organisations are scared of increased restrictions and are fighting back by corrupting what appear to the public to be neutral and respected scientists in an effort to support their activities. These scientists are being bought it seems to me.

7 thoughts on “If trophy hunters contribute to lion conservation then the world is messed up”

  1. Whether one believes in God’s creation or the big bang, it has taken millions of years to get to this point. And the human species is the one species that will destroy the earth in a few hundred years, if that. There are too many greedy, arrogant, bullies in this world. We really need to gather those in this world who love this home we have, and fight for what we love. God have mercy on our land.

    • There are simply too many humans on the planet. Modern science has reduced infant mortality, boosted fertility and expanded lifespans. Animal life not seen specifically necessary for human use or consumption quickly fall to the bottom of needed species. It’s not spoken that way but habitat is continually reduced and crossed though.

  2. No species was ever saved unless there was a monetary value placed on that species.

    So if you want to save just one lion today you’d better pony-up your personal check for $50,000 to do so. If not, some hunter will gladly do just that to ensure there’s an unending supply of lions to hunt. Whereas you offer NOTHING just so you can want to look at them and whine about others who are actually saving them.

    Put-up or shut-up! It’s that simple. How many lions are you going to actually save this year? At the personal cost to you of $50,000 per lion. 1? 2? A dozen? How many should we put you down for at $50,000 apiece, just say the word.

    • “No species was ever saved unless there was a monetary value placed on that species”

      Why is why the world is a mess. Humans currently need 1.6 earths to live on in terms of resources. Do humans have to reduce everything to $.

      Really Woody you write absolute crap most of the time. Is there any reason why humans can’t live and let live? Why can’t we leave some space for lions and all wildlife. Have we to take all their land from them?

    • Thank you for dribbling again, Jim.
      Please tell how many birdies you have saved from your sling-shot and BB gun neighborhood boys, and at what cost. Furthermore, what do you do to these boys? Kill them, like you do cats?

  3. The kink in this is once you protect a species in what are now pockets of protection they lose the ability to spread out and form new territory so you end up with overpopulation in areas where there is no longer anywhere to relocate. To some extent there are very few places where animals are truly living in the wild and not managed conservation areas.


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