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ISSN: 1488-8386 (Print) 2160-0651 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tbid20
Conservation trophy hunting: implications of
contrasting approaches in native and introduced-
Achyut Aryal, Craig G. Morley, Phil Cowan & Weihong Ji
To cite this article: Achyut Aryal, Craig G. Morley, Phil Cowan & Weihong Ji (2017): Conservation
trophy hunting: implications of contrasting approaches in native and introduced-range
countries , Biodiversity, DOI: 10.1080/14888386.2016.1263974
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14888386.2016.1263974
Published online: 18 Jan 2017.
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Conservation trophy hunting: implications of contrasting approaches in native
and introduced-range countries
Achyut Aryala,b,e, Craig G. Morleyb, Phil Cowanc and Weihong Jid
aSchool of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; bDepartment of
Forest and Resource Management, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Rotorua, New Zealand; cLandcare Research, Christchurch, New Zealand;
dInstitute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand; eWaste Management NZ Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand
Tensions between trophy hunting, sport/conservation hunting, invasive mammal species control
and compassionate conservation highlight the rising worldwide issue in the wildlife management
and the tourism sector. Hunting, either for food or recreation, has played a signicant role in the
development of the conservation movement from its inception. While initially considered part of
wildlife tourism, some ‘conservation hunting’ focuses exclusively on trophy hunting, especially iconic
species, often justied to generate conservation benets and revenue for the local community.
Exploitation to incentivise protection has many proponents, but the trade-o at a population level
for the protection of animal lives has considerable ethical and practical challenges. Further, trophy
hunting can also drive population-level changes that may cause population collapse. Here we
discuss trophy hunting practice in Nepal, New Zealand and compare the harvesting approaches in
native and introduce range countries.
We believe that tensions between trophy hunting, sport/
conservation hunting, invasive mammal species con-
trol and compassionate conservation are highlighting a
rising worldwide issue in the wildlife management and
the tourism sector that needs to be addressed (Aryal
et al. 2015; Leader-Williams et al. 2005; Ramp and Beko
2015). Hunting, either for food or recreation, has played
a signicant role in the development of the conservation
movement from its inception (Leopold  1986,
1949). While initially promoted as part of wildlife tourism,
some ‘conservation hunting’ focuses exclusively on trophy
hunting, especially of iconic species. Such hunting is oen
justied in terms of conservation benets and revenue for
the local community. While exploitation to incentivise
protection has many proponents, we consider that the
trade-o at a population level for the protection of animal
lives has considerable ethical and practical challenges that
need to be addressed (Ramp and Beko 2015). Further,
the ecological consequences of trophy hunting need
closer examination to ensure unanticipated or negative
outcomes are avoided, such as population-level changes
that may cause population collapse (Aryal et al. 2015).
In the twenty-rst century, the tenets of animal con-
servation ethics (Gamborg, Palmer, and Sandoe 2012)
support the development of sustainable trophy hunt-
ing approaches that maintain viable populations while
assisting local communities to improve their social and
economic status. For example, bharal (Pseudois nayaur)
and Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) have been
hunted for sport and trophies in Nepal since the 1980s,
generating considerable revenue based on hunting quo-
tas determined by the government (Aryal et al. 2015).
However, the non-lethal approach promoted by the com-
passionate conservation ethic (Ramp and Beko 2015)
views trophy hunting quite dierently.
e motivation for promoting trophy hunting is oen
driven by context-dependent values which, we believe,
need to be more closely evaluated. As an example, in both
New Zealand and Nepal, tahr are prized as a recreational/
trophy hunting resource (Aryal et al. 2015; Davys, Forsyth,
and Hickling 1999; Department of Conservation (DoC)
1993, 2006; Forsyth 1999). In New Zealand, tahr are
considered a ‘pest’ by conservationists because they are
non-native and hunted. By contrast, within their native
range in Nepal, tahr are categorised as near-threatened
(IUCN Red Data; Bhatnagar and Lovari 2008). While tro-
phy hunting has generated signicant revenue in Nepal
and other countries (Aryal et al. 2015), it is having a severe
conservation; tahr; blue
Received 4 November 2016
Accepted20 November 2016
© 2017 Biodiversity Conservancy International
CONTACT Achyut Aryal email@example.com
2 A. ARYAL ET AL.
ratio of the target species, population structures, level
of predators and human impact (Milner, Nilsen, and
Andreassen 2007; Whitman et al. 2004). For sustainable
hunting of tahr in Nepal we recommend a minimum
age threshold of greater than seven years of age (and
for bharal, a horn size greater than 46 cm, curved and
more than eight years old: based on the lifespan of the
animal, 10–15 years; Aryal, unpusblished data). In
developing these strategic hunting policies, we believe
a more considerate conservation approach is required
that incorporates both animal welfare and the ethics of
hunting, and maximisation of the benet to conservation
from the money raised by trophy hunting.
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
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eect on tahr population dynamics; for example, hunting
mainly of males has skewed population sex ratios, thereby
progressively reducing the reproductive male population
(Aryal et al. 2015). Clearly, the dynamics of such a skewed
population needs to be better understood to ensure eec-
tive management. In New Zealand, only a few individuals
were initially introduced resulting in a narrow gene pool.
us, this founder population could easily fall within an
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sures of inbreeding and deleterious genes arising from
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Similarly, more female African lions (Panthera leo) are
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dity which drives population-level changes that may cause
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cies within their reserves. Consequently, hunting quotas
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et al. 2011).
Globally, the consequence of trophy hunting on specic
genders is poorly understood (Aryal et al. 2015; Caro et
al. 2009). We suggest that international standards guided
by scientic and ethical evidence should be formally
developed to determine when, where and of what sexes/
age classes of animals hunting is allowed. is should
assist legal protection to ensure that hunting quotas are
not exceeded and that the correct age classes are taken,
whilst also promoting respect for all wildlife. Similarly, we
suggest that all quotas should be set based on scientic
date and well-constructed population harvesting models.
On the benet side, we suggest hunting fees should be set
by private auctions as that approach generally results in
the highest prices for trophy auction (Palazy et al. 2012).
Festa-Bianchet (2003) showed, for example, that bighorn
sheep (Ovis canadensis) trophy prices reached US$400,000
at auction and contributed signicantly to government
revenue and the local community (Aryal et al. 2015).
Trophy hunting for males may create a population
imbalance and additional risks of population extinction.
erefore, we suggest a minimum age for trophy males
should be set as part of hunting quotas based on sex
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