Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What is Trophy Hunting?

The world is full of controversial stuffs. Without them, your life would be quiet, slow, and pretty much boring; even more boring than it already is. Controversies bring disagreement, and believe it or not, people disagree almost all the time on almost everything. One of the biggest most talked-about on-going controversies of them all is trophy hunting – you are allowed to disagree on this too but let us just agree to disagree.

In the event you experience some sort of revelation and actually come out of the house to meet other people, there is a tiny possibility that you get into a debate with a stranger about trophy hunting. Before that happens, it is best to make yourself familiar with the topic. Because during a debate you don’t want to just stand there, listen to others’ arguments, and be humiliated through the entire conversation.

The debate on trophy hunting mostly occurs between, generally speaking, conservationists and hunters. You would assume that conservationists are against trophy hunting, and hunters are the proponents; in real world, however, the case is not really that simple. Hunters are indeed craving for more trophies, but maybe they hunt for the sake of wildlife conservation and this is where things become a bit complicated.

Trophy hunting, in simple words, is a hunting activity of carefully selected animal living in conservation zone such as national park, nature reserve, or protected area. The animals are most frequently endangered species for examples lions, rhinoceros, elephants, bears, and pumas. In trophy hunting, the trophy is the animal itself or its body part; it can be the head, skin, antlers, trunks, tusks, and so on. Before hunters can load up some guns and begin the not-so adventurous undertaking, they must acquire a license-to-kill-animal from the official government and management of the protected area in which they hunt.

Acquiring the license is not as simple as signing some papers and submitting ID cards, because there is a big fee involved here. According to USA Today, the fee could go up to more than $60,000 for an exotic animal hunt. Of course the fee also depends on the species – you may not have to pay a dime to kill a bee, an ant, or a catfish for example.

What is Trophy Hunting
Trophy Hunting fee is so expensive the hunter can only afford bow and arrow

While the hunters do their business mainly for pleasure, the money earned from them is (or supposed to be) used for conservation efforts. It can be used for breeding program, animal rescue, purchasing tracker devices to monitor animals’ movements in the wild, making fences, habitat restoration, and basically for protecting endangered species. Conservation efforts sure can afford a lot of things with tens of thousands of dollar but that is not always the case according to Fortune, because the money is often diverted to some other purposes.

Hunting area management chooses which specific animal to hunt in an area. Hunters are prohibited from killing any other animal roaming in the same place. There is almost 100% chance of killing the animal, however, the management is responsible to make everything look like all-natural. In some respects, it is hard to call the activity “hunting” when you pay for the trophies beforehand. No matter how natural it may seem, everything is designed so that the animal falls into a trap and becomes easy to kill.

It is almost like Deer Hunter game, except this happens in real world and involves real animals as well as real deadly weapons. Also in the game, you get fake trophies which look like a piece tournament cup to give you a sense of accomplishment. Another thing is that you don’t actually have to spend money on Deer Hunter and the game poses no threat to endangered species; you choose a weapon, shoot some deer or other animals, brag about it in the class, and everybody pretends to care. Trophy Hunting, on the other hand, kills a living organism.

Canned Hunting

Trophy hunting is seriously bad, but canned hunting is even worse. Canned hunting started by separating cubs (usually lions) from their mothers. The cubs are fed by humans and kept in cages only for hunters to kill in the future. Even worse, the fee doesn't go for conservation effort.

It is almost like fishing in your neighbor’s pool of goldfish, so there is nearly zero chance of failure even if you are seriously bad at it. Trophy hunting also has a guaranteed success, but at least the money is theoretically used for conservation efforts.

Legal yet Controversial

There are many countries where trophy hunting is considered legal including but not limited to Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia, and Botswana. Two main reasons behind the legal status are as follows:

  • It brings economic development to local people. This can be true for some countries, but Canada does not seem belong to the group.
  • Large amount of money from hunters are used for conservation efforts in various forms. Well-managed trophy hunting generates economic incentives for protection of endangered species. The money earned can be used for scientific research regarding wildlife sustainability and improvement in overall protection such as defense against poaching.

Moral issue is another thing to consider. Of course everyone has every reason to choose any particular hobby, but trophy hunting is not exactly the kind of leisure activity that all elementary school teachers suggest, and for good reasons. We have to admit that it is hard to feel sympathetic for a cockroaches and bed bugs, but endangered lions (or rhinos, elephants, jaguars, bears, pumas, and so on) are not for your pleasures to kill even when you have a luggage full of money at your disposal.

The most common defense that trophy hunting proponents use is that their money actually helps conservation efforts. If they kill one lion, the money benefits much more lions and a lot of other animals. Let us not forget that the people who manage nature reserves and national parks indeed allow for the activity as long as the hunters comply with the laws and regulations. When properly regulated and supervised, trophy hunting does work quite well to support the efforts to bring back animals population, according to a publication by CNN.

All animal conservation efforts have one ultimate goal: protection for animals well-bring and their habitats so wildlife thrive alongside humans. Now if those trophy hunters really do care about conservation, why don’t they just give that money and skip the hunting part in its entirety? The trophies they get are more likely for showing-off; there is no other good use of the trophies other than that. If they need some adventurous activities, there are definitely some perfect alternatives: being a conservationist and actually working for animal conservation.