Since you were all such eager beavers, here's my college essay on hunting in Africa. I'm going to say right now that there's no anti-bashing or anything of the sort. This is an academic paper made for an academic setting. Oh and I decided to omit mine and my professor's name for privacy reasons. (Omitted) (Omitted) English 107-012 11/22/14 Trophy Hunting and Conservation in Africa The practice of hunting for sport, especially on the continent of Africa has been the center of controversy in modern media. Instances of this include Melissa Bachman who shot a lion in South Africa, Texan cheerleader Kendall Jones who hunted the “Big Five,” and the Dallas Safari Club auctioning a license to hunt a black rhinoceros in Namibia that went for $350,000. The people who partake in these safaris are the recipients of insults and death/rape threats to the hunters and their families. The modern media has a tendency to vilify people who go on safari and even twisting the facts in order to promote their articles. This kind of gross generalization drives me up a wall. Not only are most of the stories absolutely untrue, but it’s the hunters and the safari outfitters and not any of the animal rights groups that contribute the lion’s share to conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting in Africa has been one of the most effective forms of wildlife tourism, in giving value to animals that would otherwise be either pests or threats to the locals. We may gawk over lions and elephants but they are not easy animals with which to coexist. When living with these sort of animals, you deal with crop raids, property damage, loss of livestock, and in some cases, loss of human life. If animals like these that are nuisances to humans have no value and have no benefit to local people, they will all be shot, trapped and poisoned as problem animals or the locals will turn to poaching to pay for the damages and to feed their families (rhino horn has more street value than gold or cocaine). Establishment of game reserves where hunting is allowed gives value to the wildlife thereby providing compensation from hunting licenses, jobs (as trackers, skinners, and chefs), and whatever meat is taken during the hunt is distributed evenly among the villages. Also, the more value that animals have, the more likely that ranchers will want them on their land so that they may reap the rewards. Hunters are also “willing to hunt in areas lacking high densities of wildlife or attractive scenery, and where people and livestock occur, stressing the potential for trophy hunting to generate revenues where ecotourism may not be viable” (Lindsey,1). This is good for countries like Central African Republic and Uganda which get overlooked by photo safari outfitters. Two countries have taken very different approaches with hunting: Kenya and Namibia. Once upon a time, Kenya was the number one safari destination for hunters from Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and so many more. However, that ended in 1977 when Kenya put a ban on all big game hunting (wing-shooting is still legal). This ban has not had the desired effect on wildlife populations. Some charts say that since then, 30%-70% (Deere 1) of wildlife was lost to poaching and habitat loss. Outside of national park and protected game reserves, wild animals are either shot on sight or they are snared for bush-meat after they had lost their value and were both a nuisance and danger to the locals. The reason that Kenya doesn’t reinstate hunting is that many people literally bribe the cash-strapped Kenya Wildlife Service to make sure that they don’t reinstate hunting. On the other hand, Namibia which had put into action a system that had local farmers participate in conservation and allowed safari outfitters to set up hunting lodges that the locals can collect benefits from such as those previously mentioned. After 20-30 years of this policy, the results speak for themselves. Not only has poaching been virtually eradicated (save for a few incidents this year) but wildlife is recovering at a rate unique to Sub-Saharan Africa. The lion population is one of the few on the continent that is confirmed to be increasing and the country boasts the largest free roaming population of rhinos on Earth. Even the black rhino which is struggling in much of Africa is thriving in Namibia. So as we can see, trophy hunting clearly has its benefits, especially when locals are allowed to benefit. Even though trophy hunting is beneficial, it still has a large amount of critics, especially from groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Many of these groups say that there are several unethical practices that make hunting more trouble than it’s worth. To this I say yes, there has been a history of unethical hunting practices that have contributed negatively to the targeted species. Probably one of the best examples of irresponsible trophy hunting with no benefits to conservation is India. Like Kenya, India was a crown jewel in the sporting community. Hunters from far and wide flocked to this place to have a chance of scoring a trophy tiger, leopard, rhino and more, either on elephant back or a machan (a blind in a tree). However, all of this was done very recklessly. It’s not unusual for many hunters to have several dozen (sometimes 100’s) big cats to their credit. This lack of hindsight had reduced many species such as the Bengal tiger, the Asiatic lion, and Indian rhinoceros to critical numbers, and caused the local extinction of the Asiatic cheetah. Eventually, hunting was banned for tigers in 1972 and across the board in 1980 and has remained so ever since with the exception of animals that are a danger to human life (people can get rare licenses for boar and nilgai too). Another practice that is thankfully waning is the killing of lions that are running prides. “Excessive trophy hunting could theoretically cause male replacements (and associated infanticide) to become sufficiently common to prevent cubs reaching adulthood.” (Whitman 1) If this continues, the next generation of lions could experience a severe bottleneck. Thankfully, more and more people have realized this now and are combatting the problem by setting an age restriction for lions. In Tanzania for instance, the age that a lion is eligible to be taken as a trophy is 6+ years old when a male lion will weaken and be kicked out of the pride soon. There are many ways to age a lion with the most well-known tactics being looking at the mane, the condition of the body, and the nose (the blacker, the older the cat). So yes, there’re a lot of morally inappropriate things that happen in the world of hunting but things like this are getting much stronger backlash and much more harsh consequences. A lot of the reasons people give that trophy hunting should be outlawed are mostly philosophical. Many people in the modern developed world feel that it’s not right for others to kill wild animals, especially not animals that are having enough trouble as it is. I cannot dispute this. People no matter what are always going to find certain things distasteful to their personal interests. That’s perfectly fine to feel uncomfortable with things like this. However, I feel that you shouldn’t go on your emotions until you do at least some research from both neutral sources and sources from both side of the spectrum before forming your own educated opinion. You also shouldn’t try to go for overly idealistic goals such as trying to ban all hunting in a country. This can have extremely adverse effects as we have seen with Kenya. I also think that organizations such as Born-Free, HSUS, PETA, etc. have no right to talk about how African countries should fund conservation when they barely contribute to the cause. For example, Born-Free only gave $62,000 to conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, while HSUS gave only $40,000 and PETA gave a grand total of $0.00. Meanwhile, foreign hunters bring in $200 million into African economies each year. Most of this goes to maintaining the estate the animals live on including putting a cap on poachers. Anti-hunting groups should try and stop forcing their ideology onto a continent just because it doesn’t suit their personal tastes. This is an extremely important issue to me for many reasons. The first and probably the most critical is that wild animals and wild places are in dire straits today. As we speak, more and more wild land is being consumed for human use and wild animals are being poached into oblivion. Thus, I feel that it’s important to find ways to conserve this disappearing wilderness anyway we can. Commercial big game hunting, when done right, has shown itself to be one of the best forces in conserving disappearing wild-land across Sub-Saharan Africa in giving the animals there value and giving locals an opportunity to make money so that less people turn to poaching. Anti-hunting groups should try and stop forcing their ideology onto a continent just because it doesn’t suit their personal tastes. So feel free to form your own opinion but please try to have it be an educated opinion. Works Cited Deere, Nicolas J. "Exploitation or Conservation? Can The Hunting Tourism Industry in Africa Be Sustainable?" Environment Magazine. Environment Magazine, July-Aug. 2011. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://www.environmentmagazine.org/... 2011/exploitation-or-conservation-full.html>. Legarth, Mikkel. "How the Ban on Lion Hunt Killed the Lions." How the Ban on Lion Hunt Killed the Lions. Copenhagen. 26 Sept. 2013. TedxCopenhagen. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. <http://tedxcopenhagen.dk/talk/how-the-ban-on-lion-hunt-killed-the-lions/>. Lindsey, Peter A., et al. "Potential of trophy hunting to create incentives for wildlife conservation in Africa where alternative wildlife‐based land uses may not be viable." Animal Conservation 9.3 (2006): 283-291. Whitman, Karyl, et al. "Sustainable trophy hunting of African lions." Nature 428.6979 (2004): 175-178.