Did you know? Within the next ten years, the African elephant is expected to go extinct. Despite this haunting fact, the intelligent mammals continue to be shot down by trophy hunters and poachers. To make matters worse, an “iconic Tusker” was recently brought down by trophy hunters in Zimbabwe. Reportedly, each of the mammal’s tusks weighed 100 pounds each. This is harrowing news, as there are reportedly fewer than 50 true Tuskers left in Africa.
Africa Geographic reports that the hunt was legally organized through Stone Hunting Safaris. The company organizes hunts in Zambia in “the Luangwa Valley, Kafue Flats, and Bangweulu Swamps in governmental conservation areas or large privately owned ranches, depending on the required species.” After hunters killed the elephant, Game Animals of the Past and Present celebrated the kill on social media, saying:
“Biggest elephant shot in Zambia in decades, iconic Tusker. Well done great trophy and yes all meat was utilized donated to local villages and schools. Lot of money was payed [sic] for the license to shoot the bull and that money goes towards conservation of not only next elephant generations but the whole ecosystem there benefits from legal controlled hunting.”
In response to negative comments on the post, the Game Animals of the Past and Present responded that all parts of the elephant were used. Reportedly, the hunter takes home the skin and tusks and the meat is “donated” to local villages and schools. The money paid by the hunter then goes toward conservation practices in the region.
This explanation might leave trophy hunters and those who support the practice feeling good, but there is little truth to it. To begin with, a study on the economic benefit behind lion hunting in Africa concluded, “The suggestion that trophy hunting plays a significant role in African economic development is misguided…Revenues constitute only a fraction of a percent of GDP and almost none of that ever reaches rural communities.”
Dr. Naomi shared similar sentiments on the HSUS blog, writing: “Regarding the statement that trophy hunters do a lot for conservation, it’s true that some portion of some hunters’ fees goes to conservation in some countries, but it’s rarely the major source of conservation funding. Usually middlemen—commercial outfitters—take the lion’s share of sport hunting proceeds and local communities and conservation and management agencies get the dregs.”
Additionally, though hunting groups claim that a small amount of controlled trophy hunting is good for the population of various species, the opposite appears to be true. Wrote Jeff Flocken for National Geographic,“Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats…The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride.” If you desire to learn more about the truth of trophy hunting on conservation, click here.
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