Trophy Hunting - where one's hobby is to kill

Theodore Roosevelt, the former president of the United States of America, was once on an unproductive hunting trip to Mississippi where he could not find any bears. His guide was able to find one and tied it to a tree so that the president could atleast have the satisfaction of shooting a bear but the president refused to shoot the bear and hence, giving him his more popular name, Teddy Roosevelt.

The world has moved on from open ground hunting to largely restricted forms of hunting known as trophy hunting and canned hunting, albeit the latter being illegal. Trophy hunting is a type of hunting where the primary goal of the hunter is to obtain the animal as a whole or its parts as a trophy. Alternatively, Canned Hunting is hunting wherein a defenceless animal is offered to the hunter to be hunted within an enclosed space.

Trophy hunting is legal in few countries such as South Africa, the USA, and Canada etc wherein the animals or the game usually are the "big five" species of lions, African elephant, African leopard, rhinoceros and the African Buffalo. Ironically, India, fabled as the safari country, has banned all forms of hunting as per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Trophy hunting, however, is subject to conditions such as the type of animal which can be hunted, the weapon to be used etc which is equivalent to permitting homicides to use only a particular type of weapon to kill a particular group of people.

If it pays, it stays

A typical trophy hunter is one of the wealthy elite generally Caucasian and old. The range of costs for trophy hunting is given below but there were instances where hunters paid 350,000 USD to legally shoot critically endangered black rhino in Namibia.

Ranch hunting, a type of trophy hunting wherein the animals are bred specifically to be hunted. Ranch owners breeding these animals often masquerade as conversationalists but fail to realize that the aim of conservation is to protect and not to kill.

Poaching is illegal in many countries as poachers kill 1 or 2 rhinos a day but trophy hunting is legal as they kill more than 2 rhinos a day. Additionally, the local killing of any animal is a crime but when done by the rich, it is to keep the wildlife population in check.

The males are most hunted. The ones with huge tusk, long horns, heavy mane and sharp teeth are in demand. Thus eliminating a chance of natural selection and thereby, leaving behind the ones with "bad genes" and potentially driving the species to extinction.

The time is not too far when humans would be trophies for nature if we do not stop using nature as a trophy.




Source: Killing for trophies: an analysis of global trophy hunting trade by IFAW

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