What is Trophy Hunting? Advantages, Disadvantages in Pakistan

What is Trophy Hunting?

Traditionally, trophy hunting refers to the hunting of various sort of wild animals for sport, pleasure and the fun of it and to display some parts of the animal (usually the head) as a trophy or use their parts to harvest useful products like musk, ivory from elephant tusks or deer antlers that are sold for a high price.

Due to the rapidly declining population of fauna and endangerment of many animals, many government put a ban on it. However, even now the government offers license or grants permission for trophy hunting some animals after carefully selecting them based on many different reasons an example of which could be that the animal is a predator of a keystone species in the ecosystem and is not endangered itself.

Therefore trophy hunting is not completely bad always as in Conservation Hunting and so, it is allowed in the case of eliminating old animals such as Alpha Wolves or Elderly Markhors that prevent any other member of their species to come near their respective packs, due to their territorial nature the result of which can be detriment to their populations.

Check out: Hunting and Poaching of Wildlife – Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Trophy Hunting in Pakistan:

In the case of Markhors especially, which are not just the national animal of Pakistan but also endangered, this is because they also prevent any other male from approaching the females in their pack and hence this can reduce their reproduction and put their dwindling population in peril. So, for this purpose, Pakistan had started a trophy hunting challenge where people could pay to obtain a permit to kill such elderly markhors. These people could have the pleasure of hunting a real animal while the amount they paid to hunt them would directly be utilized to conserve the Markhor populations.

Related: 12 Vulnerable and Endangered Animal Species of Pakistan

However, it is important to stress that killing any animal, plant or living thing without any reason is wrong and cruel. People can instead just donate money for their conservation and get a small token of national recognition or a medal. But if people who seek the thrill of the hunt are adamant on killing such animals than they can obtain permits from respective countries which are rightly very costly. Currently, Pakistan sells permits for markhor and ibex for foreigner to trophy hunt.

Advantages of Trophy Hunting:

  1. Conservation Hunting: Contributes to their conservation as this is a process where hunting down an animal is sanctioned by authorities, for the preservation and betterment of the pack. In this type of trophy hunting the animal is usually too old to breed yet aggressive and doesn’t allow other animals to come near its pack or females and often kills other competitors or male members in a fit. Conservation hunting offers hunting opportunity in which the individual can chasse the thrill of the hunt for a hefty sum of money, which is then used for conservation. The hunter, in turn, can either opt to leave the animal with the park or collect it as their trophy.
  2. Controlling Animal Population: It helps control the animal population and remaining stagnant for too long. Trophy hunting, therefore, takes out some of these animals so that the population of a specific animal that has exceeded the number of prey they feed on is controlled.
  3. Financial Benefits: Helps the country financially in the efforts for conserving endangered or keystone animal populations directly.
  4. Contributes to Preserving Dead Animals- Taxidermy. The animals that have died such as the last white rhino or any animal that has gone extinct, can be preserved by stuffing them and preserving them in a very life-like manner which is then placed in a museum for keeping a record of species, awareness, cultural and historical learning.
  5. Reducing Poaching: Although trophy hunting is a hotly contested matter on ethics however, trophy hunting could end poaching altogether- which is completely illegal. Both are cruel ways of taking out an animal no matter what but it is arguably better than hunting a healthy animal for sport and nothing but bragging rights or using a part of an animal while leaving the rest of the animal to bleed out and die. As trophy hunting is under government control, it would only allow for the killing of certain animals after the hunters pay for it which will be beneficial to the government.

    You may also be interested in: Animal Abuse In Pakistan And What Can Be Done About It?

Disadvantages of Trophy Hunting:

  1. Killing animals for no reason is cruel. Many vegans and animal lovers would not want any animal to be killed for human pleasure or capitalist ventures.
  2. Lax/Inefficient Laws: Many governments do not regulate properly their trophy hunting laws and little is done to curb this. Reports state that around 100 million animals are killed each year and most of them go unreported.
  3. Misuse of Money: Often the money taken for trophy hunting by the government is not used for conservation efforts as it is up to the government’s discretion on how they use the money. A lot of people take this as a sign that the government based incentives for trophy hunting in the name of conservation efforts have not yielded any visible efforts and so is just another capitalist venture.
  4. Endangered Animals: Some Trophy hunting associations in the African countries offer the opposite- the trophy hunters get paid to kill animals instead of the other way around. The glorification of hunting the big 5 animals- lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo is celebrated even when out of the 5 only the buffalo is not endangered whereas the rest are.

Also check out: Biodiversity Management Methods, Techniques And Importance

Animals in Danger of Extinction in Future in Pakistan – List

The debate on the matter of trophy hunting is age old, however there have been numerous cases and instances when both the pros and cons of trophy hunting were visible. An interesting case occurred in Botswana, an African country who had banned completely any and all sorts of trophy hunting in the country in 2014 however, they later lifted the ban, mainly because the number of elephants had grown to more than 130,000 which was more than any other country, and subsequently, they were destroying crops and posed a threat to the people.

Thus, unless the government is completely transparent about the money received and how it is going to utilize it for the conservation efforts or environmental protection, trophy hunting is nothing but another way of authorities to earn money at the expense of animals whose lives are deemed dispensable.

You might also wish to read: Fading Footprints: A Tale of Survival Struggle


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