Hunting is a contentious hobby, with many naysayers complaining about how unnecessary it is to kill animals for food or sport. The truth is humans are biologically designed to eat meat and hunting helps animals in many ways. In particular big-game hunting actually helps protect species in Africa and other parts of the world. Here are just a few of the ways hunting is great for these animals.
It Raises Money for Sanctuaries
Big-game hunting is a huge business in Africa. Hunters paid $744 million in 2012 for the privilege of traveling to the continent and hunting trophies and that number remains nearly the same today. The right to hunt a trophy animal, particularly one of the Big 5, can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $300,000 depending on the situation and time. That money often goes towards funding habitats and game reserves for endangered and at-risk animals.
The efforts and money from hunting have brought in so much money that conservationists are now able to employ drones and GPS equipment to help cut down on illegal trafficking.
It Helps Pay for Jobs
The hunting industry in South Africa alone employs 70,000 people and is one of, if not the biggest source of commercial income in the country. With 9,000 hunters entering the country each year and spending money on local goods it’s a huge boost to the economy and helps feed families and creates jobs.
Without the money brought in by hunters many locals would return to poaching to put food on the table.
It Increases Land Area for Animals
Hunting was shown to have positive impacts on the amount of land area reserved for animals in recent studies. Some countries have more than doubled the protected land area for the Big 5 allowing them to prosper and have room to grow. In one country a report indicated that legalized hunting gave the white rhinoceros population enough land and protection for the species to increase from a few hundred to over 11,000.
It Cuts Down On Overpopulation
Overpopulation certainly isn’t a problem for much of the species roaming the African continent, but in recent years elephants have made such a comeback they’re beginning to be an issue. Elephant populations in Zimbabwe have recovered so much thanks to conservation efforts they’re now turning formerly woodland areas into grasslands. This is bad news for all those poor woodland creatures that no longer have a home.
Anyone familiar with deer populations in America can tell you about the havoc too many of one species can wreak. Hunting the elephant population helps to cull the herd and prevent them some destroying local wildlife.
It Increases Local Awareness
Most importantly, hunting has the positive effect of making locals care about the environment and animal welfare. Due to the combined factors listed above, locals in Africa have begun focusing on setting aside land for these animals and working to prevent illegal poaching. They’ve recognized that keeping the animals alive and allowing them to be hunted brings in more money than poaching them and selling ivory.
No amount of outsiders wishing for something to be done can force locals to want to help the wildlife. But, through hunting and economic growth they can be shown ways in which the animals can be vital to their own well-being. That’s why big-game hunting is actually a great thing, so load up your gun (and your wallet) and take a trip back to the Mother Country, fellas.