Banning trophy hunting can have a detrimental impact, experts say

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Experts have outlined "compelling evidence" that suggests banning trophy hunting can negatively affect conservation—arguing that unregulated killings are far more prevalent in non-hunting zones.

More than 130 international scientists—including two from the University of Stirling—say that certain species, such as lions, do not fare well in areas where bans are enforced.

In a letter published in the journal Science, they say that, in African countries that do allow trophy hunting, "more land has been conserved than under National Parks"; and that regulated hunting has boosted wildlife populations globally, including those of rhinos, markhor, argali, bighorn sheep, and many African ungulates.

The authors acknowledge that, if poorly managed, trophy hunting can cause local population declines and admit that there is "considerable room for improvement." However, they add: "Unless better land-use alternatives exist, hunting reforms—which have proved effective—should be prioritized over bans."

Professor Nils Bunnefeld and Dr. Jeremy Cusack, both of Stirling's Faculty of Natural Sciences, are signatories on the letter. Stirling has been involved in related to trophy hunting for more than 10 years, with a focus on the complex link between social, economic and ecological dynamics and drivers when aiming to achieve sustainable trophy hunting.

Professor Bunnefeld said: "In order to make decisions on trophy hunting, we need to have a holistic view and assess the evidence from a variety of angles including social, economic and ecosystem perspective. Trophy hunting, when well managed, can have positive effects on both wildlife populations and people's livelihoods."

Dr. Cusack added: "Robust science underpinning the management of trophy hunting is absolutely crucial. The tools used to support decision-making are constantly improving as we increase our understanding of wildlife responses, human behavior and governance. Trophy hunting is an emotional issue, but it is only through well-informed and unbiased decision-making that we can ensure and humans will coexist in the long-term."

There are high-profile campaigns to ban trophy hunting, with several governments having already legislated again it. Calls for such bans typically cite conservation concerns, however, the authors of the letter—led by the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford—highlight evidence challenging this assumption.

They also argue that ending trophy risks land conversion and biodiversity loss and that it can provide income for marginalized and impoverished rural communities.

The letter concludes: "Some people find repugnant (including many of us), but conservation policy that is not based on science threatens habitat and biodiversity and risks disempowering and impoverishing rural communities."

Explore further

Conservationists, EU MPs urge ban on trophy hunting of endangered species

More information: Jennifer Sills et al. Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity, Science (2019). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0735
Journal information: Science

Citation: Banning trophy hunting can have a detrimental impact, experts say (2019, August 30) retrieved 18 September 2019 from
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Aug 30, 2019
Hunter theme parks. Says it all about us, doesn't it.

Aug 30, 2019
What a load of garbage. False logic. Of course these animals do better when they have larger protected areas. You don't need to allow trophy hunting to have larger reserves, we just have to be less scummy, and understand the need for robust "wild lands" where nature can do its thing. It is the height of arrogance to think and put forth the idea nature needs us to regulate it. We sooo deserve the apocalyptic crap coming down the road. I just hope I live long enough to see it start so I can laugh at all the "how did this happen to us" crying idiots.

Aug 30, 2019
And, in other news.....
Experts say, incarcerating murderers can negatively affect....

Aug 30, 2019
Just make hunting endangered species a capital offense punishable by death and offer a trophy or prize payment to anyone who eliminates (or hunts) a trophy hunter wherever they may hide.

Aug 31, 2019
Have any of you holier than thou twerps ever met and talked to a hunter?

What you'll find is usually a deep appreciation for the animals. They pay a lot of money to restore habitat, to cull herds where it is practical, and to preserve the species for future generations.

For example, see Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, QDMA, the Isaac Walton League, and so on.

Most of these hunters know more about the environment than many of you who drive a desk every day. So it comes as no surprise that big game hunters are actually interested in preserving the species and harvesting only those animals that are mature enough so as not to affect the population as a whole. And for that privilege they pay big money.

But what the hell do I know? I'm just a casual hunter. My family has hunted deer, rabbit, duck, pheasant, and so forth. No, I am not a big game hunter. But the results of this study are no surprise to me. They shouldn't be for you either.

Aug 31, 2019
The real question is whether it keeps the poachers down; they're the ones doing most of the damage. If it does, then it might be a net gain for the wildlife being poached.

Aug 31, 2019
ab3a Unless you are hunting to eat you're not hunting you're just killing for joy. If an animal species needs culling for their own sake or the environments then that should be managed by the government not idiots/psychopaths who like to kill animals because it makes them feel good.

Aug 31, 2019
I'm not a hunter myself, in the sense of going out whenever I can; in fact I haven't been hunting in decades. And when I did hunt, I ate what I killed. But if you could see what a herd of boars can do to a landscape, you might not object so much- and they're good eating too. With no wolves to cull them, and the mountain lions pushed back out of areas the boar will tolerate, and even defend against humans, it's not a matter of whether we will control them or not. The only question is whether we want money for hunting licenses and ammo, or we want to encourage the nutjobs and have the boar eat us out of house and home.

And you best know what you're doing with a rifle if you go boar hunting.

Aug 31, 2019
I will say that the "if" in my statement above-- that big game hunting could help if it suppresses poaching-- is a very big "if" given the state of corruption that seems rampant these days.

Aug 31, 2019
first, follow the Ducks Unlimited model to increase the animal population

second, shoot poachers on sight. feed bodies to Mr. Wu's pigs.

Aug 31, 2019
a trophy or prize payment to anyone who eliminates (or hunts) a trophy hunter wherever they may hide
-Or we could put them to good use...

"In World War II Germany... the SS Sondereinheit Dirlewanger brigade. Formed in late
1940, this unit would operate in Occupied Poland (known as the "General Government"
[Generalgouvernement]) and Belarus, in charge of surveying concentration camps and
take part in the elimination of "partisans".
8 This unit was responsible for more atrocities
than any other SS unit.9 Interestingly, this unit was composed almost solely of former
German detainees from prisons or camps, guilty of crimes related to poaching and
hunting10 as well as murderers and the clinically insane.11 These men were particularly
ruthless and extremely brutal, a main reason why they were chosen for this task.
Additionally, these men were skilled hunters who would find pleasure in hunting humans
like wild animals."

-You fucking nazi.

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