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The controversial and complex relationship between sport hunting and its affect on global conservation efforts is a multifaceted dilemma. The benefits of sport hunting in conservation are often accompanied by adverse side effects. However, through Andrew Loveridge’s work titled Does sport hunting benefit conservation?, and through the in-class lecture by Dick Stein, President of the Safari Club International Connecticut Chapter, it has become made clear that under the right conditions “…the benefits of sport hunting can outweigh any disadvantages if responsibly managed and monitored” (Loveridge, 235).
This is to say that although unfavorable byproducts of sport hunting are often inevitable, the numerous benefits are worth risking the ecological damages. The bulk of this essay will use support from Dick Stein’s presentation and Loveridge’s literary work to prove the truth behind this particular stance on such a controversial debate.
Loveridge, Reynolds, and Milner-Gullard collaborate in David Macdonald’s work titled Key Topics in Conservation Biology to emphasize that poorly regulated hunting practices almost always lead to target animal population degradation (Loveridge, 224).
This can be seen in historical and contemporary examples including that of the Dorcas gazelle, the Nubian bustard, and certain migratory birds, among numerous other instances (Loveridge, 224). These are instances in which sport hunting, regardless of generated revenue and particular regulations, has been a failure toward global conservation efforts. However, Loveridge argues that the sport hunting regarding wild turkey, white-tailed dear, and beaver, among other species, has been a success in terms of their proper conservation (Loveridge, 224). Loveridge claims through the ‘Convention of Biological Diversity 2003′ that “Modern conservation is about reducing extinction risks, maintaining essential ecological processes, preserving genetic diversity and ensuring that the use of species and ecosystems is sustainable” (Loveridge, 225).
This has partly been accomplished through national parks and government departments whose origins stem from the defense of hunting reserves and the elimination of poaching (Loveridge, 225). The most important factors in these successes, which are outlined by Loveridge, derive from a systematic and organized process of decision-making.
Determining whether or not certain types of sport hunting will raise funds is followed by the question of how that revenue can benefit conservation in that particular region. Next, the potential hunting practices must have a positive affect on habitat conservation, and lastly the side effects of such sport hunting must not negatively impact the hunted populations or the local people of that region (Loveridge, 226). In my opinion, accompanying controversial techniques must be eliminated from the sport, such as the use of assault rifles and other impractical and unfair means of hunting, as these methods play no practical part in the thrill of the chase’ (Loveridge, 226) or in the moral dilemma of taking a living animals life, weather ultimately beneficial for the greater good or not. On the contrary, revenue generated from clients paying to immobilize trophy animals to be tagged for research and the reward of molded elephant tusk replicas is a much more ethical type of sport hunting, which I believe should be encouraged among safari hunt clients (Loveridge, 226). Other alternatives can be offered in replacement of sport hunting, Loveridge and Stein have given convincing evidence of further benefits toward this type of conservation, namely that of sport hunting revenue.
Statistics show that substantial revenue can be generated through sport hunting around the globe. Examples of this include red grouse shooting in Scotland which alone generated 940 full-time jobs and 17 million pounds of GDP in 2000, fox-hunting 7000 full-time jobs, and within the United States nearly $35 Billion was contributed to the economy in 1991 of which $2 Billion was spent annually on conservation and habitat acquisitions (Loveridge, 228). The financial benefits toward conservation deriving from sport hunting are clearly a major benefit of well-regulated programs around the world, especially in developing countries. Dick Stein also emphasized throughout his presentation about the importance of this regulation, which he explained started in the 1930s when the Pittman Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was implemented in the United States. He went on to explain that the main purpose of this act was the eleven percent tax it imposes on all sport hunting equipment, most of which contributes to conservation. In addition, Stein discussed the numerous other benefits of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which include employment opportunities, scientific research funding, and hunter education programs. Although Stein admitted that he has hunted non-problematic animals, he argued that sport hunting helps control predators of diminishing species and vulnerable local communities in certain regions. Loveridge concurs with Stein as he says, “…where population management is thought desirable, hunters may take on the role of extirpated natural predators” (Loveridge, 230). He also adds to this theme by explaining how “…hunting revenue and activity can contribute to local infrastructure (clinics, schools, roads), further enhancing its value” (Loveridge, 229).
Loveridge goes on to explain the benefits of sport hunting on habitat conservation and protection, explaining that hunting is the “main motivation for investment in habitat management” and “wide conservation benefit” (Loveridge, 231). Additionally, he argues that sport hunting increases the amount of available habitat to wild species, and that without such revenue political forces would most likely transform this habitat into areas of livestock production (Loveridge, 231). So, in conclusion, it can be seen that the negative byproducts of sport hunting can often be avoided with systematic planning and sound organization of hunting and conservation planning. Also, alternatives to sport hunting such as photographic tourism can cause greater incidental environmental damage, as the number of tourist must be exponentially greater than that of sport hunters (Loveridge, 235).
Lastly, the benefit of sport hunting toward conservation is not only evident among the improved conditions of wild animals and their habitat, but also of local communities who share a home with these gorgeous creatures. In short, Loveridge concludes that “…the benefits of sport hunting can outweigh any disadvantages if responsibly managed and monitored” (Loveridge, 235). I too agree with this concluding statement based on the eye-opening lecture of Dick Stein and the informative context of Loveridge’s work, however I personally urge the current and future generations of sport hunters and conservationists to work toward discovering equally effective conservation techniques that don’t require the expense of another living animals life, purely on an ethical level.
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