Regulated trophy hunting aids wildlife conservation

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On the 7th of April, 2022 The Guardian published a letter submitted by a group of academics and conservationists arguing that bans on regulated hunting can lead to a greater loss of wildlife.

“Animal cruelty is abhorrent, and we welcome actions that unambiguously increase animal welfare. However, campaigns that conflate the cruelty of elephant rides and dolphin attractions with the conservation dividends supported by sustainable hunting (Letters, 1 April) risk decreasing animal welfare and imperilling biodiversity.

We are concerned that pressure from well-meaning campaigners to enact the current animals abroad bill will not in fact “lead the way on animal welfare”. In particular, calls to ban trophy imports, a major component of the bill and a sadly misguided manifesto promise, risk removing key incentives to conserve wildlife in many regions of global conservation significance.

Evidence shows that removing regulated trophy hunting – and the incentives it creates for conservation – without having viable funded alternatives ready can lead to greater losses of wildlife, due to subsequent increases in illegal, unsustainable and inhumane killings of animals using snares, dogs, local weapons and poisons.

A single trophy-hunted lion generates worldwide media attention, but the daily snaring and poisoning of lions in areas where they have little local value is largely ignored. Simplistic solutions to complex problems rarely work.

Adam Hart University of Gloucestershire, Dan Challender University of Oxford, Alayne Cotterill Lion Landscapes, Amy Dickman University of Oxford, Julia Jones Bangor University, Robert Knell Queen Mary University of London, Maxi Pia Louis Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations, Rodgers Lubilo Community Leaders Network of Southern Africa, EJ Milner-Gulland University of Oxford, Dilys Roe IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, Hugh Webster Wild Entrust”