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Trophy Hunting: Putting the “Con” in Conservation

While 2016 has been a rough year for almost everyone, wildlife has had a particularly rough time. More than 180 countries failed to protect decimated and rapidly decreasing lion populations at CITES 2016. Giraffes have lost nearly 40% of their population since the 1980’s, making authorities list the species as “vulnerable”. Elephant populations have been stolen from the wild and transported to United States zoos to live out sad lives in cramped enclosures. Now, there are less than 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild.

The most alarming part of the cheetah’s plight? You can still pay to kill one for just $12,775 before mounting the animal on your wall.

Despite the mass extinction of wildlife, particularly African wildlife, the trophy hunting trade continues to tout their conservation con. Safari Club International, a “nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife, education of the people, and the protection of hunters' rights” claims that they fund and direct worldwide conservation programs by investing “millions of dollars” into conservation and education each year.

They also claim to boost local economies where they hunt, making the lives of the locals better. However, a report produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare states that tourism revenues are less than 7% and an abysmal 3% of the $200 million dollar a year industry goes into community development in the hunting areas.

So, if their goal is conservation, why do the populations of animals they hunt continue to decline at an alarming rate? How does auctioning off a permit to kill one of the last African Black rhinos help conserve the species?

In fact, since firearms have given hunters an advantage over their unarmed targets, wildlife populations have been steadily declining, with the most catastrophic drop in the past twenty years. Not only are the species declining, but they’re also changing their characteristics rapidly.

Hunters want the biggest, strongest, and most beautiful animal to kill and mount on their walls as “decoration”, which has been leading populations of animals to undergo “evolution in reverse”. Elephants with large tusks are now a rarity in the wild and many are evolving to not have tusks at all, an important defense mechanism. If the dominant male lion in a pride is killed, chaos can erupt throughout the pride, with younger males fighting over the dominant role, females killed to protect their cubs, and cubs killed by the new dominant male.

It’s simple. Killing an animal to save their species makes absolutely no sense and does catastrophic harm to the remaining animals. If you love wildlife, shoot them with a camera instead of a gun.

You can take action against trophy hunting by signing the petition here or hosting a rally in conjunction with the 2017 WorldWide Rally for Cecil. Can’t host a rally? Donate to help us provide supplies here.

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