You might have seen the recent uproar over Trump’s decision on big game hunting in Africa. His office initially legalized certain aspects of elephant trade in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The order has since been halted, but it gave us a chance to see another way that liberals are completely wrong.
They criticize big game hunting as savage. They say it hurts endangered species to allow hunters to kill them, and they assert that hunters are cruel and heartless. The truth is, big game hunting is the essential lynchpin in animal conservation, and hunters have led the world in protecting endangered species from the start.
Conservation was Founded by Hunters
This important fact is completely missed by the left. It was Teddy Roosevelt and fellow hunters who first recognized the need for conservation efforts. They noticed that it’s important to keep parts of the world wild, and that doing so was the best way to protect endangered animals. Even in modern times, big game hunters, on average, have a much deeper and broader understanding of the intricacies at play in managing ecosystems.
In an obvious sense, hunters need to protect the longevity of their prey just to maintain their hobby. On a deeper level, their direct interactions with varying ecosystems gives them the firsthand knowledge to see what does and doesn’t work in concentrated conservation efforts. Their conclusion is the same as the many scientists who have studied these issues: habitat destruction is the leading cause of population declines in endangered species.
Hunters aren’t just protecting their hobby. Countless surveys and investigations have shown that they care about issues tied to conservation on a personal level. A full 86 percent have made it clear that they prefer to do specialized hunting on conservatories where their money can be shown to do local good. They are consistently willing to pay the same price for a lesser tag if it means the animal they are killing has to be put down anyway.
As many as 90 percent of big game hunters actively avoid hunting in regions where governments exceed endangered animal quotas, fail to quell illegal hunting or generally don’t contribute to conservation efforts. These are a conscientious group that puts their money where their mouths are by selectively purchasing tags and licenses in places where that money can do the most good.
That overarching conscientiousness is why big game tags have been so successful at helping endangered species recover. One of the best success stories of all time is the white rhino. At its worst, population numbers dwindled to the hundreds. Big game trophies were legalized and made extremely expensive. Within a decade, land owners had invested so much into preserving habitats that white rhino numbers exceeded 11,000.
In Zimbabwe, elephant conservation land doubled when international export licenses became available. The habitat preservation helped tens of thousands of elephants thrive, even in the midst of a notoriously corrupt government and massive poaching. The resources provided by big game hunters were and are enough to actively protect reserved land. Elephants are still struggling outside of the conservation zones, but within, they are thriving.
Ultimately, like most issues, this boils down to money. Too many governments around the world lack the resources to pay to protect endangered species. This is especially true in some of the more desolate regions in Africa. Battling starvation tends to be the priority. The two primary revenue streams to protect wildlife comes from ecotourism and big game hunting.
Ecotourism isn’t viable in very many regions. To draw enough tourists, the conservation has to be close enough to major ports of travel, and it has to be open enough for people to see well.
Big game hunting doesn’t face those limitations. Hunters often want to pursue animals in their true natural habitat, which means their conservation efforts produce the best possible land for helping endangered species rebound. The number of animals killed for trophies is a scant fraction of the population growth seen from the revenue those tags produce.
This has never been seen more clearly than with the Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. It is the most important conservancy in the world for lions and rhinos, and it is entirely funded by hunting fees. It produces thousands of local jobs and is credited for roughly half of the population rebound of the lions and rhinos that have found safety within the borders.
There are countless examples that show that big game hunting is the most cost-effective and sustainable approach to protecting endangered animals. Hunters are the people who best understand how to protect animals and preserve ecosystems, and they do so with vigor.
~ American Liberty Report