- April 29, 2020
Wildlife Conservation Hunting Benefits Conservation
WildlifeConservation: Hunting Benefits Conservation
Thepast 100 years have seen the highest decline of wildlife in manyparts of the world. The greatest indicator of this decline is theincreasing number of wild animals and birds that have entered IUCNRed List of threatened and highly endangered species. Similarly, thecampaigns for the wildlife conservations intensified during the past100 particularly after the development of Red list in 1964, time manynations realized the perishing status of most important species.Organizations and government in the world have actively operatedagainst hunting practice to conserve the remaining members ofthreatened species. However, these campaigns were responded withopposition from the pro-hunting groups who derived their argumentsfrom cultural, recreational and economic perspectives. The latestdebate in the field of conservation questions the role huntingpractices play in the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, groupsof individuals and organizations have emerged some supportinghunting while others act against the practice. Nevertheless,hunting does not benefit conservation but instead promotes illpractices that not only reduces the biodiversity but also increasescorruption and poor governance.
Argumentsin Support of Hunting as a Beneficial Practice to the Conservations
Thesupporters of hunting include individuals at local levels who engagein hunting for food, recreational purposes, and spotting. Huntingorganizations such as U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, SafariClub International, and Delta Waterfowl Foundation investssignificantly in these activities. All individuals, groups, andorganizations supporting hunting give several reasons to justify thepractice.
Accordingto the most trophy hunters, the practice provides ample economicbenefits for the conservation projects. Lindsey etal.(6) establish that trophy hunting provides economic incentives topromote conservation of wildlife population and their habitats sincehunters pays for the licenses and other regulatory charges to partaketheir activities. The revenue collected can be used in fencing theprotected areas or benefiting the local community. For instance, astudy by Rademeyer in 2015 revealed that South African Department ofEnvironmental Affairs estimated revenue from hunting was $ $200million in 2014(p.2). The figure included even the amount given tothe game farmers and landowners. According to Ngwakwe and Nehemia(p.306), such amount of revenue can enable communities to achievebasic needs and services such as health and education while at thesame time maintaining the reserved parks and forests.
Thesupporters of hunting argue that the practice help create a balancebetween the population and their food stock. In this case, huntingcan be an effective tool for wildlife population control. The reasonbehind this argument is that when animal population increases, theyover utilize the available water and vegetation (Ngwakwe and Nehemia297). For instance, when a herd of deer enlarges, they feed on grassin the park and turn to small plants and shrubs. If the population isnot regulated, they can damage habitats and other ecosystems(Stigebrandt 42). Scientifically, the habitat`s carrying capacity isusually constant. The reason for this is that food reserves and spacedo not expand and may regenerate slowly than the wildlife’s speedof feeding thereby forcing them to switch from specialized mode offeeding and generalize with other plants for food (Stigebrandtpp.41-50). For the park managers to prevent the destruction ofhabitats, it is important to allow controlled hunting. Besides,achieving a maximum sustainable yield of wildlife resources ispossible through creating a balance between populations and the foodstock.
Inanother argument, those supporting that hunting helps conservationusually questions the need to protect some destructive species suchas bears and wolves. They hold that such species terrorize otheranimals, destroys habitats by breaking plants, and attack humansettlements even when they are not threatened or hungry (Harding 2).Similarly, Ramp and Marc (p. 324) establishes that the ethicalimplications surrounding the conservation of wildlife arise since thepractice may pose dangers to the majority in the society. In thiscase, the conservation may increase the situations of animals againsthuman conflicts especially in settlements neighboring forests andprotected areas.
Argumentsagainst the idea that Hunting Benefits Conservation
Thegroups opposing hunting holds different views based on how theyperceive the implications of the practice to the animal’s wellbeingand sometimes the community. Such groups include the animal rightsactivists, individual with a passion for animals, and governmentagencies who institute policies against the practice.
Theopponents argue that the act of hunting game animals is killing inpractice. In this case, trophy hunting is highly unjustified andshould not only be condemned but also stopped. The intensity ofethical concerns about trophy hunting is evident in the case ofCecil, the lion who was killed in his habitat in Hwange NationalPark, Zimbabwe on July 1, 2015 by an American dentist. Globally,Cecil’s death was received with emotions questioning the enjoymentof dentist Walter Palmer in killing the legendary Lion despite havingpaid 50,000 Euros the permit to kill. Howard (1) reveals that in thepast forty years, poachers have killed elephants and rhinos due tothe rising demand or ivory, on similar terms to Cecil’s case.Consequently, white rhinos are currently on the verge of the Holoceneextinction while elephants in African parks have become highlythreatened for their tusks. This serves the primary reason opponentshold that the practice reduces not only the animal population butalso plant species. Some of the methods use in hunting the biganimals such as elephants involve the use of explosives and diggingof trenches on the ground to trap the animal and facilitate accurateshot. These techniques usually leave vegetation disturbed anddestroyed.
Contraryto the commonly held belief that hunting help preserve speciesthrough population control mechanism, the opponents argue that themotive of profit always overrun the conservation goals leading toincreased killings even when the number animals is below thesustainable range (Muposhi 15). In addition, extended huntingcontinues even in protected parks facilitated by corruption in thewildlife authority departments. Evidently, a study by Muposhi (p.15)explains the problem of regulation as a conservation issue inZimbabwe as the established Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Managementbody are confronted by the need to increase revenue generation fromhunting and the need to perform their policing responsibilities.Besides, a study in Europe established that the animal stock incountries where hunting is illegal such as Italy, Swiss and Kenya hasnever increased to cause any harm in the ecosystem to necessitatepopulation control through hunting (Ramp 325). In this case,population control mechanism of hunting in pursuit of wildlifeconservation goals is unsubstantiated and unjustified.
Finally,the opponents dispute that the practice generates significant revenuefor development of local communities and conservation practices. Theyargue that such revenue usually ends up in the position of thegovernment and the authority. Lindsey etal.(7) hold that even though hunting generates a lot of revenue, only asmall percentage benefits the community. Similarly, the Rademeyerestimates that only 3 percent of this revenue goes to communitydevelopment in Tanzania (p.4). In most cases, the revenue ends up inthe pockets of the few government officials and corrupt localauthority without helping the intended people.
Wildlifeconservation presents a controversy involving different groups,organizations, and government who have an opposing view on the rolehunting practices has in the protection of wildlife and theirhabitats. While each group tends to justify their practices orbeliefs about the conservation goals, it remains important todistinguish destructive behaviors from the appropriate conservationmeasures. Hunting results in the killing of the animal and sometimesthe destruction of their habitats. Therefore, the motives of thepractice contradict with the goals of conservation. Even with theneed to control population, licensed hunting activities can result inthe extinction of animal species that was once abundant. In thiscase, sports hunting is unjustifiable. In addition, it is against theAnimal rights to subject a wild animal to torture and death for funand enjoyment.
Thedecline of animal species can have adverse impacts especially to thebalance of the ecosystems. Each animal has a role for ecosystemfunctionality and productivity. In this case, the natural balancemaintained by forces such as pre-predator relationships are effectiveand preferred in conservation projects. However, if the naturalbalance fails, controlled hunting is a viable alternative. Nonetheless, the primary goal of maintaining the existing geneticpool necessitate endless conservation efforts from individuals,organizations, and governments
Inbrief, hunting is incompatible with the original motives ofconservationists. The practice has caused the massive decline ofelephant and rhinos in African countries like Kenya and Mozambiquebefore the government declared war against poaching. However, withthe implementation of policies and other institution measures,significant changes are evident in these countries, particularlyKenya where the government has burned numerous elephant tusksconfiscated from poachers. This indicates the destructive nature ofhunting and effectiveness of government interventions to conservewildlife. In this case, activities such as sport hunting do notbenefit conservation but instead further destroy the vulnerableanimal species.
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