+/-When, in January, a Dallas-based hunting organization auctioned off the right to hunt an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia, animal welfare groups and some conservation organizations blasted the scheme. You can’t save a species by killing it, they said. Hunting organizations – joined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – defended the auction, and said the $350,000 it raised will boost conservation efforts in East Africa. So: Is hunting a viable wildlife conservation strategy? Or is it a contradiction in terms? Teresa M. Telecky from Humane Society International and Joe Hosmer of Safari Club International Foundation continue the debate here.
by Joe Hosmer
Joe Hosmer is the president of Safari Club International Foundation, a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation through sustainable use.
Hunting is vital to the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife populations. Both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species recognize the importance of hunting in conservation and have special provisions in their regulations to ensure hunting continues. Animal rights and welfare activist groups fail to recognize the value of hunting in conservation and even claim hunting is a leading threat to wildlife. In fact, hunting remains a timeless tradition, a livelihood, and a necessity for conservation.
Hunters pioneered sustainable wildlife management through the creation of North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. After early settlers diminished wildlife populations through unregulated harvesting, hunters and anglers assumed responsibility for the management of wildlife and worked to conserve species through harvest limits and the establishment of conservation organizations.
by Teresa M. Telecky
Teresa M. Telecky, PhD is the director of the wildlife department for Humane Society International.
Nearly 40 years ago, Kenya banned trophy hunting. Within the past two years, other African countries have realized the wisdom of Kenya’s approach and instituted similar bans. Botswana and Zambia, once major destinations for pursuers of Africa’s “Big Five” – African elephant, African lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros – have also prohibited this biologically reckless activity because of the harm it causes to wildlife populations. Even the United States, home to the world’s largest number of trophy hunters, has taken steps to join the trend. In April, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) banned the import of sport-hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania over concerns that the hunts were driving down elephant populations already severely impacted by poachers.
It’s about time.
photo David Berkowitz
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