Trophy hunting refers to game hunting for pleasure. According to hunters, the trophy refers to the part of the animal as the head, the skin and the horns that are preserved as proof of their hunting victories. They are displayed in rooms called arcades that can be found in the hunter’s home or office. In Africa, the five great wild animals that are often hunted are rhinos, lions, elephants, leopards and buffaloes. In fact, studies show that between 1970 and 2005 60% of large animals found in protected areas were killed. Trophy hunting is legal in most countries. However, there are restrictions that accompany the sport as when hunting, weapons that can be used and animals to hunt.
Types of trophy hunting
Trophy hunting can take various forms, including ranching, hunting African trophies and hunting the North American trophy.
Ranch Trophy Hunting
Ranch hunting involves keeping animals specifically for trophy hunting. Examples of such game bred for trophy hunting purposes in Texas and Florida include species of antelope, deer and sheep from Asia, the Pacific islands and Africa. Other species include the Iranian red sheep and the Indian blackbuck among others.
Hunt for the African trophy
The hunt for African trophies refers to game hunting in Africa which has been underway for many years. Africa is famous for its wealth of game that is found in their natural habitat as lions, elephants, leopards and lions.
Hunt for the North American trophy
In North America, the hunt for trophies focuses on the mountain lion, called puma, panther or puma.
Controversy regarding trophy hunting
The proponents of the trophy hunt say that hunting taxes help finance conservation. Some countries like Tanzania attribute its success in preserving its lion population to trophy hunting income. According to a report by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, between 2008 and 2011, the hunt for trophies generated $ 75 million for the country’s economy.
However, many are against the trophy hunter. This is for many reasons. Large animal populations are shrinking at a faster rate than in the past. Therefore, attention must be on conservation rather than hunting for sport. Although it is touted that trophy hunting provides funds for the conservation of wild animals, in most cases the money is poorly managed by most governments due to corruption. As a result, the big game is rapidly becoming endangered due to threats to its habitat. Furthermore, experts claim that trophy hunting affects the genetic health of wildlife populations, since in most cases the hunted animals are the oldest among their populations because they have obtained attractive trophies. These animals generate strong offspring with good genes that allow them to adapt to new environments.
According to a group known as In Defense of Animals (IDA), most trophy hunters seek the glory of killing the largest and rarest game animals, rather than participating in conservation. Other organizations that oppose trophy hunting include League Against Cruel Sports, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.