Trophy Hunting - Should we kill animals to save them? Trophy Hunting - Should we kill animals as/f
Author: David Chancellor (GB)
Description: From Charles Darwin and John James Audubon to the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway, the most enlightened hunters have long viewed themselves as naturalists and conservationists, committed to sustainability among animal populations and the preservation of wild places where they stalk game. The linkage has become inextricable. Revenues of hundreds of millions in federal excise taxes levied on hunters go directly to wildlife management and related activities each year in the United States alone. And anyone who keeps a freezer full of venison is likely to tell you that the act of killing your own dinner in the wild is more humane than buying the plastic-wrapped meat of industrially raised livestock. Seen from the air, Africa can appear as an illusion with its rich velds and dramatic rifts, wide deserts, and thundering rivers. These seemingly vast stretches of unfettered, unpopulated wild ostensibly forgotten by time and people. At a glance, it could be a repository for all our ideas about wilderness at its wildest. And yet, today no patch here goes unclaimed, whether it’s marked, monetized, or fought over. The animals that roam the land have become commodified, part of a new consumerism, marketed and sold, their brands pitted against each other, their continued existence, now a question of human demand, whim, and calculation. As big game populations dwindle further under pressure from human encroachment such as shifting climate norms, and widespread criminal poaching, there are hunters who argue that thoughtfully regulated and expensive hunts, such as those for bull elephants in their waning days, makes a sustainable way to protect both species and habitat. Others argue that wild game is the continent’s version of crude oil, and it too will run out someday. What is clear, is that with more than half the planet’s population living in cities, our relationship with the wild has been increasingly divorced from our everyday reality. We’re now less a part of that wild world, from rainforest to veld, as we are more consumers than cohabitants. David Chancellor 2017 1. Huntress with buck, South Africa - A 13-year-old girl from the United States carries a bontebok, shot earlier in the day, back to camp in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Supporters of trophy hunting say hunt fees help conserve wildlife and benefit local communities, opponents say killing animals, such as elephants, lions, and rhinos for sport is unethical and does little to protect them. 2. Fallen giraffe, Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa - A giraffe lies crumpled on a game farm in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, after falling prey to a hunter. Giraffes overall are vulnerable to extinction, but in South Africa, where their numbers are increasing, hunting them is legal. Some hunters want a giraffe-skin rug, others the animal itself, taxidermied upright for display in a room with a high ceiling. 3. Untitled leopard hunter # II with trophy leopard, Namibia - An American hunter stands with the trackers who guided him throughout the hunt, holding a leopard shot moments earlier. Leopards are elusive, and dogs helped track this one down. Namibia later banned the use of dogs because leopard numbers were falling dangerously. 4. Untitled professional hunter with trophy lion, Kalahari, Northern Cape, South Africa - There are now more captive Lions in South Africa than wild ones; approximately 8,000 compared to 2,000 living in the wild. Many of these animals are reared specifically to be shot and owned by wealthy tourists from Europe and North America. Between 2001 and 2006, 1830 Lion trophies were exported from South Africa and in the following five years, 4,062 trophies were exported from South Africa for an increase of 122%. 5. Lioness in a box, Eastern Cape, South Africa - The head and skin of a lion, prepared for display by a taxidermist in South Africa, are boxed for shipment to the American client who shot the animal. In response to dwindling numbers of lions in the wild and doubts about the conservation value of hunting them, the US has recently made it more difficult for hunters to import lion trophies. 6. Villagers prepare to skin an elephant, hunting elephant, Nyae Nyae Conservancy, Namibia - The San people, who inhabitant Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia, limit the trophy hunting of elephant on their lands to 5 individuals per year. A portion of the hunter's fee is paid directly to community members and to fund conservation projects to protect the area’s wildlife and ecosystem. The hunter leaves with the elephant's tusks, skin, and feet. The San receive approximately 3 tons of meat derived from the animal. 7. Hunting Black Bear, Stockholm, Maine, USA - A pair of hunters lifts a black bear shot in Maine, USA in 2016 with a pulley. The bear had been baited, a practise that involves placing caches of food to draw the animals to a particular spot in the forest before the hunting season begins. In Maine, the number of bears, which are not endangered, has been rising. Mainers recently rejected a proposal to ban hunting with dogs and baiting. 8. Untitled hunter in his African Room, Wilmington, Delaware, USA - Surrounded by more than a hundred African game trophies in his home in Wilmington, Delaware, a hunter says that the pursuit of game has been a passion of his since he was 12 years old. "Hunting 'sort of got into my blood',” he says, adding, “I’d like to think I’m a conservationist and a collector.” 9. A hunter removes the skin from a trophy hunted mountain lion, Kanab, Utah, USA - Winter is hunting season for mountain lion because the elusive cats are easier to track on snowy ground. Each season the state sets a hunting quota, a number determined in part by how much livestock lions killed the previous year. Lions killed 416 sheep and other farm animals in 2016, and during the 2016-17 season, hunters took 399 mountain lions.