Trophy Hunting is actually ecologically sustainable

Is it actually? How about the economic benefits? Is it an acceptable means to achieve an end?

In 2015, a licensed American hunter shot a lion named Cecil in South Africa with an arrow for pure leisure and left the golden species to inhumanly die.

The media quickly commissioned this to be the next internet sensation and while Walter Palmer, the hunter, was not charged with any crimes, he received death threats and hate messages from concerned people on the web.

Inherently, we know that it is wrong to kill and it is even worse to murder an unharmed animal.

So, what then are the merits of trophy hunting? Is it remotely worthy of discussion? Shouldn’t it just be outrightly banned?

Trophy hunting vs Poaching

There is a difference between Trophy Hunting and Poaching.

Trophy Hunting is legal as long as hunters have a government issued license that authorises them to kill a selected group of (endangered) species.

While poaching, on the other hand, is wrongful slaughter because it is unregulated, not government administered, and thus illegal. In this context, it deprives animals of their lives, encourages suffering, and possesses a great threat to biodiversity.

The two are distinct and poaching should be highly discouraged.

Trophy Hunting funds conservation

Well, what has gone largely unrecognised in the media is that trophy hunting is actually managed, if not encouraged, by conservation groups.


This fact is often overshadowed because hearing about the slaughter of endangered animals for the sheer pleasure of it renders negative perception among societies.

People have the right to be emotional because it involves questions on its ethical and moral acceptability in the context of social and environmental aspects which makes it extremely troubling to confront.

Despite this, research reveals that hunting has ample fiscal contributions in economies. Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 to hunt one black rhino. There are only a couple of hunters like Corey which make up for 60% of local conservation funding. In 2015, trophy hunters were calculated to have spent about a total sum of $214.851 million in South Africa.

Conservations encourage and mandate trophy hunting because it is a large part of their income. In addition, local communities directly benefit from the hunting expeditions because hunters pay for license fees, transportation, accommodation, shipping costs and more which are massive amounts only to hunt a single species.

helps local communities (photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

Trophy Hunting is important to conversation in Africa since it creates economic incentives for conservationists and governments to protect, preserve, and properly manage the program.

Even if trophy hunting were to be condemned, the land used for trophy hunting may not be suitable to be used for other alternative activities like wildlife-based spaces for photographic ecotourism. So, from an economics perspective, trophy hunting currently maximises the use of capital, land and resources.

It is productive to ecosystems

Trophy Hunting does not allow hunters to just have the right to kill on species as they wish (most favourable common are rhinos).

These licenses typically only permits the capture of unproductive members of the ecosystem like venerable old black rhinos who have passed their prime reproductive time (i.e. infertile) so that it does not compromise the viability of wildlife species. Old black rhinos also get aggressive which causes a threat to locals, their harvest, and other members of the species.

As a result, structured trophy hunting does not possess a threat to the survival of endangered species. The strategies of conservation organisations are based on scientific inquiry. Ultimately, if look at how it truly works, the way in which trophy hunting is ran is ecologically sustainable because the approaches are properly managed — the revenues are funding preservation, supporting local communities, and circulated back to the overall economy. So, what else is there to say on how great, so to speak, trophy hunting is?

Regardless, it still begs to ask: is trophy hunting an acceptable means to achieve this end?

It cannot be a means to an end

While trophy hunting may reap economic baskets, public opinion remains to be divided.

Countries like Namibia and South Africa have seen great success in mandating trophy hunting.

Photo By Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

However the same has not been extended to Botswana as they continue to internally struggle on the issue with mounting criticism from locals and conservationists. In 2014, the country banned hunting but lifted it in 2019, citing the growing conflict between aggressive species and locals, the incline of threats from the wildlife towards local crops, and the loss of income.

The inadequate research and information on the relevance and consequences of the industry led to the lack of clear consensus among conservation NGOs, animal rights groups, and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool which remains to plague the region.

So, should trophy hunting be encouraged by virtue of its economic benefits and advantages for conservation?

(Photo by Benny Vincent on Unsplash)

Elephants are integral to the African and Southeast Asian communities and very much part of their daily lives

Hey there! I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you did, leave a clap! Alternatively, if you think I’m wrong, feel free to comment down below. I’d love to hear from you 💌



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