It pays, it stays – British Zoology Student Experiences “Trophy Hunting” For the First Time
28 October 2020

The Africa I had learnt about from television bore no resemblance to reality.”

While practitioners of sustainable use will understand the nuances associated with international hunting as a form of conservation, the concept is often misunderstood by those far removed from the practice.

This lack of understanding is often simply due to a lack of perspective on the issue. Without seeing the conservation results of regulated hunting initiatives in person, it can be difficult to wrap one’s head around the idea.

This was precisely the case for this British zoology student, who describes seeing this perspective upon visiting Africa for the first time.

He recounts his experience in Zambia, seeing no wildlife despite driving through the country for ten hours.

The Africa that he knew, filled with iconic species and teeming with wildlife, was only seen in areas engaging in “trophy hunting.”

The most important take away from this trip was the principle of “it pays, it stays.” In order for wildlife and habitats to be conserved, it must first be given value.

International hunting achieves just this. Hunting activities generate real economic value, thereby supporting wildlife areas while preventing them from being converted to more destructive forms of land use, such as agriculture.

It is suggested this perspective, gained by experiencing hunting activities first hand, is one that is overlooked by those calling for a ban on “trophy hunting” in the United Kingdom.

While the author of this article confesses that he is not an advocate of “trophy hunting,” he acknowledges that a ban would do “more harm than good.”

It is stated that, in the absence of viable alternatives, a ban would only “tie the hands of the very people that are working to conserve the wildlife we consider to be our international heritage.”

As supporters of sustainable use and the rights of communities living in wildlife areas, the CIC would urge policymakers in the UK and beyond, to think beyond emotions, and to look at the science and to engage with the relevant stakeholders.

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