Environment News

Exposing the truth behind trophy hunting

Michele du Plessis

The international wildlife charity, Born Free, has released the findings of their 18-month cross-disciplinary investigation into the practice of wildlife management. In this report, they unveil the truth behind the myths.

“Hunters claim that the fees they pay benefit wildlife conservation, local communities, and the economics of the countries when trophy hunting takes place. They also claim that by targeting ‘problem’ or ‘redundant’ animals their activities represent a legitimate form of wildlife management,” Advocates of trophy hunting said.

“Given that the same conversations kept circling about trophy hunting, whilst the same denials and obfuscation bounced around, we decided to pull together this shockingly eye-opening report. It seemed to us that there was something very odd about a human enterprise that could provoke so much interest, produce so much evidence, and generate huge passions, but which washed around in an apparently fathomless sea of conflicting truths,” Howard Jones, CEO of Born Free, said.

MYTH – Trophy hunting aids wildlife conservation, but the truth is that the evidence collected suggests that it is detrimental. Many species are in decline in the countries that allow them to be hunted. It is a fact that hunters value rarity, therefore the rarest species are targeted. Removing particular animals on the basis of specified individual traits may have a disproportionate impact on the behaviour of remaining animals in the group, and its genetic integrity.”

MYTH: Trophy hunter fees help the local communities

TRUTH: Local communities do not benefit from trophy hunting to any significant degree. An analysis of data published by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, found hunting companies contribute on average just 3% of their revenue to communities living in hunting areas. The vast majority of their income goes to government agencies, outfitters and individuals located in national capitals or overseas.

“We are more closely allied with photographic operators than the hunters. Hunters don’t recognize us; they only recognize the government. We are supposed to get 5% and we don’t even see that,” a village official stated in the report.

MYTH: Trophy hunting can help with wildlife management

TRUTH: Trophy hunters do not generally target problem, redundant or old and infirm animals, preferring to set their sights on animals with impressive traits – the darkest mane, the biggest tusks, the longest horns. This often results in the killing of key individuals, removing vital genetic resources and causing disruption to family groups, populations and, by extension, the wide ecosystems of which they form a part.

“Animals belong in the wild, not on a wall – and we want a future where no animal suffers the agonising death inflicted upon Cecil the lion”, said Howard Jones, “We campaign tirelessly to end the practice, working with airlines, travel and shipping companies to ban the transportation of trophies, whilst putting pressure on the UK and other governments to introduce a ban on the import of hunting trophies.”

The above is only a small part of the full report published. Many other myths were researched and debunked.  For more information or to read the full report – TROPHY HUNTING: Busting the myths and exposing the cruelty visit www.bornfree.org.uk

About Born Free:

Born Free was founded by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie classic, Born Free (1966), together with their eldest son, Will. Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

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