Trophy Hunting Recovers Endangered Species

Hoas

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Source: https://wildvita.org/trophy-hunting-recovers-endangered-species/


Trophy Hunting Recovers Endangered Species

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On the icy cold morning of January, when the sun has forgotten the morning, and with wildlife at its calmest, he starts walking the trail. Bitter wind hitting his face forcing the eyes shut. All that touches the ear is the cracking sound of the snow at his feet. Anxiously observing the hoof and paw prints stamped on the ice creating a never-ending web. He steps impatiently but cautiously as to not mess up the tracks – the evidence that tell the story of the forest that took place the night before. Hands frozen from the chill are warmed from the excitement for the adventure that is to come. With a gun on his shoulder and a loyal hound leading the way he ventures into the wild in hopes to get his prey.

Hunting is the act of setting out into the wild in hopes of attaining a kill. However, the act itself is not what matters in the world of conservation. What matters is the purpose behind setting out into the wild. There are different purposes why one might encounter a hunter and these purposes are what lead to different circumstances.

Poaching, culling, trophy hunting and the maintenance hunting all involve the act of killing an animal – all of these activities, roughly saying, involve the act of hunting but each of them is taking wildlife down a different path. What happens most of the time is that the label is attached to the act of hunting popularizing it as a negative thing. When in reality it is not the act that is bad but some of the purposes it is used for.

Sustainable hunting has been playing an important role in recovering endangered species and keeping populations stable and fit. It does surely sound absurd that hunting works in favor of endangered animals, after all the very definition of extinction is the death of individuals of a species. However, there is an interesting story where trophy hunting prevented species from dying out.

Under the false assumption that the wildlife resources were limitless and inexhaustible, early settlers of North America drove many wildlife species to the edge of extinction by the late-1800s. Before the arrival of the Europeans, elk were the most widely distributed species whose geographical range extended from southern Canada to Northern Mexico, however by the mid-1800s elk started to decline in the eastern United States, and soon all over the country. An estimated 10 000 000 elk rapidly dropped to less than 500 000 individuals by 1970s.

The primary cause for this decline was habitat destruction and market and subsistence hunting. Active market hunting for meat and hides was also a prime cause of American Bison population decline. An estimated number of 60 million American buffalo dropped to 168,000 by 1800. It is crucial for market hunting not to be confused with trophy hunting, as the system of trophy hunting is what facilitated the recovery of these species in later years.

Boone and Crockett Club took the responsibility upon itself to recover these endangered species. They recognized that to facilitate species recovery and to prevent future threats to populations, one of the most important things to encourage was a sustainable harvest. A system that protects the core of the breeding population, specifically females and young male individuals, while focusing the harvest on older males that have already reproduced and contributed their genes to the population. As a result of trophy hunting combined with other conservation tools, North America’s critically endangered wildlife species recovered to more stable numbers.

Some organized groups are demanding a ban on trophy hunting as the activity is regarded unethical and claimed to be ineffective. However, the consequences of eliminating one of the most crucial conservation tools are largely underestimated.

In response to poaching and illegal Ivory trade, Kenya passed a hunting ban in 1977. It was believed that with hunting pressure off, the game would return to high numbers. What took place as a result of the ban was quite the opposite of its intent. Charismatic mega-fauna – lions, rhinos, elephants and large antelopes – are experiencing extreme declines since the late 1970s.

Wildlife numbers have declined on average by 68% between 1977 and 2016. Giraffe with an estimated population size of 76,236 in 1977 dropped to 25 193 by 2013. The number of buffalo decreased to 40,245 by 2013 from 66,169 in 1977. Impala and Hartebeest experienced 84% decline in population size while the eland and Oryx numbers were reduced by 78% since the year hunting ban was passed. Warthog, Lesser Kudu, Thomson’s Gazelle, Topi, Elephant, Grevy’s Zebra and Waterbuck are other unique species undergoing extreme population declines.

Of course it is false to assume that banning consumptive use of wildlife is the sole reason for such declines, other causes of negative wildlife population trends include exponential human population growth, increasing livestock numbers, declining rainfall and a striking rise in temperatures, however, the fundamental cause remains to be ineffective policy, institutional and market failures.

It is not the act of hunting but rather the purpose behind hunting that plays a key role for wildlife. Society preaches open-mindedness and encourages reflective thinking, yet it is this very society that rushes to conclusions. The negative attitude towards hunting not only effects the policy and workings of professionals but it impacts wildlife itself, the very thing society is trying so hard to protect.



Sources and further reading

Conservation visions. 10 February 2017. Should we have trophy hunting in North America? With Shane Mahoney.

Fricke, Kent A.; Cover, Michael A.; Hygnstrom, Scott E.; Genoways, Hugh H.; Groepper, Scott R.; Hams, Kit; and VerCauteren, Kurt C., “Historic and Recent Distributions of Elk in Nebraska” (2008). USDA National Wildlife Research Center – Staff Publications. 922

Hamr, Josef, frank f. mallory, and Ivan filion. 2016. History of Elk (Cervus canadensis) restoration in Ontario. Canadian fieldnaturalist 130(2): 167–173.

Gates, C.C., Freese, C.H., Gogan, P.J.P. and Kotzman, M. (eds. and comps.) (2010). American Bison: Status Survey and Conservation Guidelines 2010. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Lott, D. (2003). American bison. Berkeley, Calif,: university of California Press.

Ogutu JO, Piepho H-P, Said MY, Ojwang GO, Njino LW, Kifugo SC, et al. (2016) Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What Are the
 

Shootist43

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I enjoyed the article but I think it contains an error most likely typographical. Instead of the buffalo declining to 168,00 by 1800, I think it should have read 168,000 by 1900.
 

CAustin

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Thank you for sharing.
 

Newboomer

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I particularly liked the opening paragraph. I think we, as hunters, can relate to that. We set out in search and do not always fulfill our desires. That article should be mandatory reading for all the libtards, weenies and greenies, especially the part about Kenya.

I wonder how many antis have even been out in the woods, say nothing about hunting. How many of them have followed a track just to see where it goes and what that animal was doing? Heard a deer blow, leaves rustle as some critter scurries away, antlers cracking against a tree, or seen a white flag as a whitetail bounds off? How many would even recognize a bull elk, a black bear from a grizzly, a mountain goat from a bighorn?

These are just a few of nature's wonders that we hunters enjoy, strive to maintain and preserve for future generations. That is why we have many organizations established to achieve that very thing. Call it trophy hunting, sustainable harvesting, culling, or whatever, it serves the purpose of preservation of wildlife. A topic very dear to my heart as a lifelong hunter.

End of rant. I will now descend from my soapbox.
 

johnnyblues

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I particularly liked the opening paragraph. I think we, as hunters, can relate to that. We set out in search and do not always fulfill our desires. That article should be mandatory reading for all the libtards, weenies and greenies, especially the part about Kenya.

I wonder how many antis have even been out in the woods, say nothing about hunting. How many of them have followed a track just to see where it goes and what that animal was doing? Heard a deer blow, leaves rustle as some critter scurries away, antlers cracking against a tree, or seen a white flag as a whitetail bounds off? How many would even recognize a bull elk, a black bear from a grizzly, a mountain goat from a bighorn?

These are just a few of nature's wonders that we hunters enjoy, strive to maintain and preserve for future generations. That is why we have many organizations established to achieve that very thing. Call it trophy hunting, sustainable harvesting, culling, or whatever, it serves the purpose of preservation of wildlife. A topic very dear to my heart as a lifelong hunter.

End of rant. I will now descend from my soapbox.
Well said my friend. And that is the shame of it, we understand what it’s like to hear an elk bugle or to watch mountain goats on the edge of cliffs. Watching the sunrise on a warm morning in Africa. I wouldn’t change a damn thing. The antis claim the same but only in magazines or from behind a lens. They only want to save wildlife from behind there laptops or desktops. True some may give a little money but no where near what sportsman contribute. We are the true stewards of wildlife, the brave locals who risk there lives on anti poaching patrols the biologists who devote there lives to wildlife. These are wildlife’s only hope for a future! Not antis. They will if left unchecked destroy the future of places like Africa. Any antis trolling here? Well if you are here’s what I have to say....Stay the hell out of our way and let the people who know do there jobs. Thank you, I now leave my soap box.
 

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