ArticlePDF Available
432 25 OCTOBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6464 SCIENCE
the authors do. Conservation increasingly
operates within an ethical frame whereby
protecting wild plant and animal species
must first and foremost benefit human
communities and becomes unacceptable if it
imposes a burden on people. This emphasis
is leveraged by social science, which has a
growing importance in conservation and is
becoming more concerned with social justice
than with an objective understanding of
social systems (2). As a result, conservation
practices such as green militarization or
human population displacement are often
arbitrarily excluded by scholars from the
conservation toolkit and mostly mentioned
from a critical or adversarial ideological
standpoint (3).
Yet, these practices have the potential
to deliver impressive results. The greater
one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis)
population in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
rebounded after the deployment of army
troops to fight against poaching and the
expansion of the park (4). African Parks—
a nongovernmental organization manag-
ing protected areas with a total control
approach—set up anti-poaching forces
with SWAT-like training and succeeded in
increasing Chad’s Zakouma National Park
elephant populations (5). In the Central
African Republic, African Parks purchased
from Bulgaria more than one hundred war-
grade weapons with 90,000 rounds under
an exemption from the UN embargo and
shipped them to the Chinko Project, a 17,600-
km2 wildlife refuge it manages with full law
enforcement competence (6). Displacement
is another ostracized conservation tool (7).
However, by displacing thousands of people
in northeastern China, the government
has reduced human population density by
more than half and consequently Amur
tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) and leopards
(Panthera pardus orientalis) are recovering
in the area (8).
Opposing green militarization or
population displacement negatively affects
conservation, and viable alternatives are
often lacking. Although some people find
these approaches unethical, conservation
policy that is not based on science threatens
habitat and biodiversity. If ethical concerns
remain selective and subjective, conser-
vation is unlikely to succeed. The same
pragmatic, results-oriented rationale that
Dickman et al. advocate for trophy hunting
may need to be expanded to other controver-
sial conservation approaches.
Guillaume Chapron1,2* and José Vicente López-Bao3
1Department of Ecology, Swedish University
of Agricultural Sciences, 730 91 Riddarhyttan,
Sweden. 2Wildlife Conservation Research Unit,
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford,
Tubney, OX13 5QL , UK. 3Research Unit of
Biodiversity (UO/CSIC/PA), Oviedo University,
33600 Mieres, Spain.
*Corresponding author. Email: guillaume.
1. A. Hiller, R. Ilea, L. Kahn, Consequentialism and
Environmental Ethics: Routledge Studies in Ethics and
Moral Theory (Taylor & Francis, 2013).
2. J. Toby, “Left-wing politics and the decline of sociology,
The Wall Street Journal (2019).
3. R. D uffy et al. , Biol. Conserv. 232, 66 (2019).
4. A. Dudley, “Nepal’s rhino numbers rise, thanks to
national and local commitment,Mongabay (2017).
5. R. Nuwer, “The rare African park where elephants are
thriving,” National Geographic (2017).
6. UN Security Council, S/2018/729 Overview of
Sanctions Committee Documents (2018).
7. C. Geisler, Int. Soc. Sci. J. 55, 69 (2003).
8. G. Jiang et al., Biol. Conserv. 211, 142 (2017).
G.C. is a member of the IUCN Large Carnivore Initiative for
Europe, IUCN Canid Specialist Group, and IUCN Cat Specialist
Group. J.V.L.-B. is a member of the IUCN Canid Specialist Group.
Editor’s note
When the Letter “Trophy hunting bans
imperil biodiversity” (A. Dickman et al.,
30 August, p. 874) was published, Science’s
policy of asking all manuscript authors to
declare conflicts of interest did not apply to
Letters. This policy is now under revision
to ensure that authors of Letters also make
readers aware of financial and advisory
competing interests. Science has therefore
requested that the authors of Dickman et al.
declare their competing interests. They have
done so in an addendum to their Letter.
Jeremy Berg
Trophy hunting: Role of
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans imperil
biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874),
A. Dickman et al. adopt a radical consequen-
tialist approach. Not only do they discard
any deontological concern relevant to trophy
hunting but also, remarkably, they oppose
policies that would consider deontologi-
cal objections against trophy hunting. Said
otherwise, according to Dickman et al.,
evidence-based policy-making must trump
moral-based policy-making.
Consequentialist approaches are not
uncommon in conservation (1), but Dickman
et al.’s Letter is important because it opens
the question of whether ethical objections
limit nature conservation and whether it
is time to move beyond such objections, as
Edited by Jennifer Sills
Army troops helped protect the greater one-horned
rhino population in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
Published by AAAS
on October 24, 2019 from
25 OCTOBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6464 433SCIENCE
Trophy hunting:
Values inform policy
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans imperil
biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874), A. Dickman
et al. mischaracterize context, offer weak
evidence, and overlook the role of values.
They caution against trophy hunting bans,
yet the policies they cite do not ban trophy
hunting. Two of the policies discontinue
only import of lion trophies (1); the others
ban the import of trophies from a delim-
ited set of endangered species (13). These
are not blanket bans on trophy hunting
but species-specific import restrictions.
Although Dickman et al. contend such bans
would “imperil biodiversity,” their evidence
is selective [e.g., (4, 5)] and does not directly
support the contention that import bans
yield negative conservation outcomes.
In raising concerns about sustainable
community development, Dickman et al.
set up a false dichotomy: Either restrict
the import of wildlife trophies to Western
countries or promote self-sustaining African
communities. Western nations can support
sustainable development of African nations
while regulating the import of wildlife tro-
phies by their own citizens. Although import
bans in Western nations potentially affect
African communities, these impacts should
not be confused with the impacts of discon-
tinuing trophy hunting. Especially where
trophy hunting generates few benefits for
local people (6, 7), negative socioeconomic
effects of import bans will likely be limited.
Dickman et al. further assert that “calls
for hunting bans usually cite conservation
concerns,” but such calls are often motivated
by moral concerns (1, 3, 8). Indeed, the
authors allude to this in suggesting policy
should be based on science, not feelings
of “repugnance.” This position establishes
another false dichotomy. Adjudicating policy
requires both understanding the likely
results of a policy (science) and evaluat-
ing whether those results are desirable
(val ues ) (9). Such evaluative judgments are
expressed by emotions (10). Policies support-
ing sustainable community development
may seek to remediate the harms of Africa’s
colonial history. Recognizing these harms as
injustices—a moral judgment—engenders
emotions such as anger. Policies may also
aim to combat perceived injustice against
nonhuman animals, which may similarly
elicit outrage. In short, emotion attends
moral judgment, which informs policy.
Conservation is rife with risk. Humans
and wildlife face physical and biological
risks; hence both are subjects of concern.
But conservation strategies may carry moral
risks as well, even when enacted out of
concern. Science can quantify risks, but it
cannot tell us whether they are acceptable
or by whose values they should be judged.
Governments are right to institute policies
that manage the landscape of risk by weigh-
ing scientific evidence and accounting for
the values of their citizens.
Chelsea Batavia1*, Jeremy T. Bruskotter2, Chris
T. Darimont3,4, Michael Paul Nelson1, Arian D.
Wallach5, and 56 signatories
1Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society,
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA.
2School of Environment & Natural Resources,
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
3Department of Geography, University of Victoria,
Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada. 4Raincoast
Conservation Foundation, Sidney, BC V8L 3Y3
Canada. 5Centre for Compassionate Conservation,
School of Life Sciences, University of Technology
Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia.
*Corresponding author.
1. E. Ares, “Trophy hunting, Briefing Paper 7908 (House of
Commons Library, London, UK, 2019).
2. U.S. Congress, H.R. 2245—CECIL Act (2019).
3. H. Horton, “Britain will have toughest trophy hunting
rules in the world as Government announces ban of
‘morally indefensible’ act,The Telegraph (2019).
4. D. W. Macdonald et al., Mammal Rev. 47, 247 (2017).
5. W. J. Ripple et al., Trends Ecol. Evol. 31, 495 (2016).
6. T. Pasmans, P. Hebinck, Land Use Pol. 64, 440 (2017).
7. A. Yasuda, Soc. Nat. Resour. 24, 860 (2011).
8. Born Free Foundation, “Ban trophy hunting: Help end
this barbaric sport” (2019).
9. K. D. Moore, M. P. Nelson, Eds., Moral Ground: Ethical
Action for a Planet in Peril (Trinity University Press, San
Antonio, TX, 2010).
10. A. Damasio, Looking for Spinoza (Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt Publishing, New York, 2003).
J.T.B. has received funding from the Ohio Agricultural
Research and Development Center, the Ohio Department of
Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, and the Association for Fish and Wildlife
Agencies. He serves in an advisory capacity for Project Coyote
and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. M.P.N. has
received funding from the National Science Foundation and
serves in an advisory capacity for Project Coyote.
List of signatories
“...Batavia et al. urge us not to confuse the
effect of restricting imports on local people
with the impacts of discontinuing trophy
hunting [but] the former is meant to bring
about the latter...” —Dickman et al.
Full text:
content/366/6464/433.1 /tab-e-letters
Trophy hunting:
Broaden the debate
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans imperil
biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874), A. Dickman
et al. argue against trophy hunting bans, but
the bans they mention are neither blanket
nor hunting bans. France only suspended
lion trophy imports, whereas Australia and
The Netherlands banned import permits
for trophies of several species (1), but other
trophies continue to be collected worldwide
and domestically. Indeed, a ban on the
import of a trophy into a nation does not
constitute a ban on hunting by its nation-
als; Dickman et al. confound the two, which
is disingenuous and raises the question of
whether hunting is a sport or a form of com-
modity acquisition (2).
International movement of trophies
is regulated under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES), governed by member states.
Unless there is evidence of trade threaten-
ing the survival of a species, sovereign states
can allow hunting and export trophies,
but potential importing states also have
sovereignty over their response to concerns
of their constituencies and have the right to
implement what CITES calls “stricter domes-
tic measures” (3). Debates around this have
been politicized, which typically happens
when scientific data are too inconclusive to
guide policy formulation (3).
Dickman et al. misrepresent the respon-
sibility of importing states over hunting
policy; ironically, they may stimulate blanket
bans by arguing against opt-outs for some
countries for certain species. Moreover, they
fail to mention that where hunting zones
are protected areas recognized by civil law,
they would remain so. In addition, habitat
in hunting zones is often not effectively
protected, and the collapse of trophy hunt-
ing observed in certain areas is not due to
trade bans but to a failing balance of costs
and benefits (4, 5). Trophy hunting is neither
the main threat to nor the main opportunity
for wildlife conservation, and we encourage
a broader debate.
Hans Bauer1*, Bertrand Chardonnet2, Mark Jones3,
Claudio Sillero-Zubiri1,3
1Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Zoology,
University of Oxford. Tubney OX13 5QL, UK.
2African Protected Areas and Wildlife, 92210 Saint
Cloud, France. 3Born Free Foundation, Horsham,
RH12 4QP, UK.
*Corresponding author.
1. E. Ares, “Trophy hunting,” Briefing Paper 7908 (House of
Commons Library, London, UK, 2019).
2. C. Ba tavia et al., Conserv. Lett. 12, e12565 (2019).
3. H. Bauer et al., Conserv. Lett. 11, e12444 (2018).
4. H. Bauer et al., PLOS One 12, e0173691 (2017).
5. B. Chardonnet, “Africa is changing: Should its protected
areas evolve? Reconfiguring the protected areas in
Africa” (IUCN, 2019).
H.B. has received funding from or is a member of University
of Oxford, Born Free Foundation, IUCN Cat Specialist group,
IUCN Save Our Species, Wildlife Conservation Network,
National Geographic, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Leo
Foundation, GIZ (German Technical Development
Published by AAAS
on October 24, 2019 from
434 25 OCTOBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6464 SCIENCE
Cooperation), and Leipzig Zoo. B.C. has received funding
from or is a member of African Union/IBAR, IUCN, GIZ
(German Technical Development Cooperation), KfW (German
Financial Cooperation), Afrique Nature International, Ecole
Inter-Etats des Sciences et Médecine Veterinaire de Dakar
(EISMV)/University of Minnesota, African Wildlife Foundation,
OIE–World Organization for Animal Health, and AFD (French
Agency for Development). C.S.-Z. is Chair of the IUCN Species
Survival Commission Canid Specialist Group and Chief
Scientist of Born Free Foundation. He has received funding
from or is a member of University of Oxford, University of
Vermont, Wildlife Conservation Network, Fondation Segre,
Conservation International Critical Ecosystem Partnership
Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, IUCN Save Our Species,
National Geographic, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, IUCN Cat
Specialist group, IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist group, and
IUCN Human Wildlife Conflict Task Force.
“...It is...hypocritical for a rich country
to...reduce the viability of trophy hunting
in poor countries while taking no action
against domestic sport hunting...”
—Dickman et al.
Full text:
content/366/6464/433.2 /tab-e-letters
Trophy hunting: Bans
create opening for change
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans
imperil biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874),
A. Dickman et al. warn that banning
trophy hunting, a practice many of them
deem “repugnant,” could threaten African
biodiversity and livelihoods. What they
actually describe is how loss of funding
may impart these effects, without specify-
ing any unique benefits of trophy hunting.
It is defeatist to defend business-as-usual
instead of promoting alternative conserva-
tion activities that could sustain formerly
trophy-hunted species and areas.
Trophy hunting relies on deep geopo-
litical inequalities, particularly in Africa,
where it often fails to deliver demonstrable
conservation outcomes (1) and can inter-
sect with crime (2). It yields low returns at
household levels (3), with only a fraction
of generated income reaching local com-
munities (4). It also siphons off wildlife
from adjacent protected areas (5), reduces
population connectivity and resilience, and
can have genetic consequences such as
reductions in body, horn, and/or tusk size
(6). Its effects on wildlife demography and
behavior can be profound (7).
Trophy import bans present an opportu-
nity to rethink how we can conserve wildlife
in nonextractive ways that are consistent
with shifting public opinion. The system is
primed for change. The recently polled U.S.
public shares attitudes with other countries
enacting trophy import bans and especially
strongly disapproves of trophy hunting of
African elephants and lions (8). Sustainable
alternatives exist and could reduce reliance
on a small and narrowing cohort of wealthy
Western “donors” (9).
For example, land use reforms, co-
management, and greater participatory
stewardship can provide a more sustainable,
resilient, and equitable system (10). Locally
adjusted and bottom-up management
practices (11), granting communities land
titles, conservation-compatible agricul-
ture, and coexistence approaches can also
benefit communities and conservation more
than trophy hunting. In addition, tourism
reforms could invigorate domestic tourism
(12), minimize leakage of tourism income to
foreign investors, and reduce the footprint
of wildlife-viewing tourism through green
development investment. Diversified nature-
based tourism beyond photographing and
viewing wildlife could incorporate survival
skills/bushcraft training and agritourism,
emphasizing local knowledge, cultural
exchange, and inclusion of women. Finally,
environmental investments could connect
would-be micro-investors more directly to
wildlife-wealthy communities. Financial
strategies such as decentralized markets
made possible by blockchain technology
could use carbon and biodiversity credits for
conserving habitats. Sustainable enterprise
development could generate direct financial
benefits to local communities.
During transitions, nongovernmental
organizations could raise funds to pay
concessions or countries could agree that
a private entity would temporarily assume
game reserve management. As the bans are
not blanket but import bans, they provide
the impetus and the time to incrementally
switch to practices that maximize contribu-
tions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Katarzyna Nowak1,2*, Phyllis C. Lee3,4, Jorgelina
Marino5, Mucha Mkono6, Hannah Mumby7,8 ,9 ,
Andrew Dobson10, Ross Har vey11, Keith Lindsay4,
David Lusseau12, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri5,13,
and 71 signatories
1The Safina Center, Setauket, NY 11733, USA.
2Department of Zoology and Entomology,
University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba,
9866, South Africa. 3Faculty of Natural Sciences,
University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK.
4Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Langata, Nairobi
00509, Kenya. 5Wildlife Conservation Research
Unit, Zoology, University of Oxford, Tubney
OX13 5QL, UK. 6Tourism Cluster, University
of Queensland Business School, University
of Queensland, QLD 4072, Australia. 7School
of Biological Sciences, University of Hong
Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong. 8Department of
Politics and Public Administration, University
of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong. 9Centre
for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant
and Environmental Sciences, University of the
Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa.
10Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-
1003, USA. 11School of Economics, University of
Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. 12School
of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen,
Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK. 13Born Free Foundation,
Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK.
*Corresponding author.
1. J. Selier et al., J. Wildlife Manage. 78, 122 (2014).
2. T. Milliken, J. Shaw, “The South Africa–Viet Nam Rhino
Horn Trade Nexus” (TRAFFIC, 2012).
3. M. Segage, Master’s thesis, University of Limpopo (2015).
4. I. Nordbø et al., J. Sustain. Tour. 26, 68 (2018).
5. A. J. Lover idge et al., Biol. Conserv. 134, 548 (2016).
6. D. W. Co ltma n et al., Nature 426, 655 (2003).
7. J. M. Milner et al., Conserv. Biol. 21, 36 (2007).
8. Responsive Management, “Americans’ attitudes
toward hunting, fishing, sport shooting and trapping”
(N S SF, 20 1 9 ).
9. C. Batavia et al., Conserv. Lett. 12, e12565 (2018).
10. IPBES, “IPBES global assessment summary for policy-
makers” (2019).
11. Z. T. Ashenafi, N. Leader-Williams, Hum. Ecol. 33,
539 (2005).
12. S. B. Mariki et al., J. Environ. Pol. Plan. 4, 62 (2011).
Tourism reforms could make wildlife-viewing tourism greener and more beneficial to local communities.
Published by AAAS
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25 OCTOBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6464 435SCIENCE
P.C.L. is Director of Science, Amboseli Trust for Elephants.
R.H. consults for the Conservation Action Trust and the EMS
Foundation. D.L. is a member of IUCN Sustainable Use and
Livelihoods Specialist Group and a member of IUCN Species
Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group. C.S.-Z.
is Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Canid
Specialist Group and Chief Scientist of Born Free Foundation.
He has received funding from or is a member of University
of Oxford, University of Vermont , Wildlife Conservation
Network, Fondation Segre, Conservation International Critical
Ecosystem Partnership Fund, African Wildlife Foundation,
IUCN Save Our Species, National Geographic, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, IUCN Cat Specialist group, IUCN Wildlife
Health Specialist group, and IUCN Human Wildlife Conflict
Ta sk Fo r ce .
List of signatories
“...[T]he true risk is...losing funding
streams that require the presence of trophy
hunted species...and therefore incentiv-
ize conservation of their populations and
habitat...” —Dickman et al.
Full text:
content/366/6464/434 /tab-e-letters
Trophy hunting:
Insufficient evidence
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans
imperil biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874),
A. Dickman et al. argue that banning
trophy hunting would be detrimental to
conservation. We agree that evidence for
effectiveness is important before actions
are taken. However, Dickman et al. do
not provide evidence that bans to trophy
hunting harm biodiversity (1).
Dickman et al. claim that trophy hunting
indirectly benefits biodiversity because
populations (and their habitats) are bet-
ter protected in places or times where
trophy hunting has occurred. However,
no comprehensive research has tested
that hypothesis. Even previous work by
Letter authors Dickman and Johnson (led
by Macdonald) concludes that we know
too little to infer whether trophy hunting
(selective hunting for recreation) con-
tributes to the conservation of wild lions
(2)—one of the best-studied trophy-
hunted species.
Dickman et al. overstate their case. For
example, the claim that “more land has
been conserved under trophy hunting than
under national parks” seems based on the
statement from Lindsey et al. (3) that
“[o]ver 1,394,000 km2 is used for hunting
in sub-Saharan Africa, exceeding the area
encompassed by national parks by 22% in
the countries where hunting is permit-
ted” (3). However, this interpretation is
misleading because those lands include
private lands, protected areas that allowed
subsistence hunting, and various other
classes of protected areas, not exclusively
trophy hunting concessions. In addition,
the authors’ prediction that a ban on
trophy imports or hunts would indirectly
harm biodiversity could be just the
converse: Perhaps hunting concessions
would be upgraded in protection by
catalyzing a governmental rethinking of
carnivore management systems. An evi-
dentiary basis for informing controversial
policy interventions, such as trophy hunt-
ing, demands strong inference with full
disclosure of uncertainties and disentan-
gled value judgments from observations
or inferences.
Stronger evidence might be gleaned
through adequate tests of the effective-
ness of trophy hunting for protecting the
hunted population, including broad-scale
experiments using multiple replicated
land parcels subject either to hunting
or another putative form of biodiversity
protection under similar socioeconomic
systems, or tracking of populations
before and after trophy hunting
(accounting for other threats). Rigorous
examinations would likely reveal
outcomes that vary by population, geog-
raphy, other threats to biodiversity, and
socioeconomic and governance contexts.
Finally, the addition of a long list of
signatories implies a call to authority
that should play little or no role in what
should ultimately be an evidence-based
scientific debate. By contrast, clear
evidence, transparently conveyed and
clearly demarcated from the ingrained
values of those involved (whether they
support or reject trophy hunting), could
help elucidate environmental, ethical,
social, and economic dimensions of
this controversial activity whose
ultimate conservation effects remain
poorly understood.
A . Tre ve s1*, F. J. Santiago-Ávila1, V. D. Popescu 2,3,
P. C. Paquet4,5, W. S. Lynn6,7, C. T. Darimont4,5,
K. A. Artelle4,5
1Nelson Institute for Environmental studies,
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
USA. 2Department of Biological Sciences
and Sustainability Studies Theme, Ohio
University, Athens, OH 45701, USA. 3Center for
Environmental Research (CCMESI), University
of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania. 4Department
of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria,
BC V8W 2Y2, Canada. 5Raincoast Conservation
Foundation, Sidney, BC V8L 3Y3, Canada. 6Marsh
Institute, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610,
USA. 7Knology, New York, NY 10005, USA.
*Corresponding author. Email:
1. A. Treves et al., Conserv. Biol. 33, 472 (2018).
2. D. W. Mac dona ld et a l., Mamm. Rev. 47, 247 (2017).
3. P. A . Li ndsey et al., Biol. Conserv. 134, 455 (2007).
A.T. is President of the Board of Directors of Future Wildlife, a
tax-exempt organization with the mission to preserve nature,
especially wild animals, and an unpaid science adviser for
Projec t Coyote.
“...[A]ction should not be taken without
evidence for its effectiveness...[but] we
believe the burden of proof clearly lies with
those who support [the removal of trophy
hunting]...” —Dickman et al.
Full text:
content/366/6464/435.1 /tab-e-letters
Trophy hunting: A moral
imperative for bans
In their Letter “Trophy hunting bans
imperil biodiversity” (30 August, p. 874), A.
Dickman et al. argue that trophy hunting
should not be discontinued. However, their
premise is not viable when examined under
the light of basic morality.
Whether Dickman et al. concur or not,
wildlife has the basic right of existence, irre-
spective of human existence and interests.
Intentional killing of animals to satisfy the
whims of wealthy individuals is detestable.
No potential gains, even those that are
promoted by Dickman et al. as beneficial
to wildlife, justify undermining the moral
basis of the protection of Earth’s natural
resources. It is our responsibility to sup-
press the destructive tools at our disposal so
that these resources remain unharmed.
Culling of endangered species is a self-
evident fallacy. Our foremost emergency is
to restore endangered species to their for-
mer state, irrespective of human interests.
Unless required for basic existence, hunting
of all forms is a practice that should be
eradicated like the smallpox virus. Beyond
rational arguments, the most appropriate
response to the Letter by Dickman et al.
is outrage.
Arie Horowitz
Philadelphia, PA, 19106, USA
“...[Discontinuing] trophy hunting...without
implementing better alternatives risks
worsening the situation for both wildlife
and people...” —Dickman et al.
Full text:
content/366/6464/435.2 /tab-e-letters
Published by AAAS
on October 24, 2019 from
Trophy hunting: Bans create opening for change
Lindsay, David Lusseau, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri and 71 signatories
Katarzyna Nowak, Phyllis C. Lee, Jorgelina Marino, Mucha Mkono, Hannah Mumby, Andrew Dobson, Ross Harvey, Keith
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz4135
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... Some of the rural communities consider trophy hunting an effective conservation tool to protect rare and unique wildlife species in remote areas ( Harris and Pletscher, 2002 ;Lindsey et al., 2006Lindsey et al., , 2007Damm 2008 ) unlike the others who regard trophy hunting as an extension of colonialism ( Mkono, 2019 ;Nowak et al., Argali, Bighorn sheep, and many African ungulates ( Funk, 2015 ;Khan et al., 2019 ;Roe and Cremona, 2016 ), while providing income for marginal and disadvantaged rural communities ( Dickman et al., 2019 ;Funk, 2015 ). In such cases, trophy hunting has been used purely as a conservation tool for achieving overall biodiversity conservation goals inside a Community Conservation Area (CCA) . ...
... Studies indicate that in hunted populations, animals showed clear signs of disturbance i.e., smaller group sizes, lower calf recruitment rates, and high nervousness than conspecifics in the absence of trophy hunting ( Hariohay et al., 2018 ;Khan et al., 2019 ;Rashid et al., 2020 ). The private sector is said to reap more from trophy hunting fees than local communities ( Nowak et al., 2019 ), which adversely affects wildlife conservation and management of protected areas ( Di Minin et al., 2016a ). The continuing loss of important wildlife species intended for trophy hunting is another major challenge ( Craigie et al., 2010 ), which appears to be one of the key causes of declining lion populations within and outside Tanzania's protected areas ( Packer et al., 2011 ). ...
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The benefits for biodiversity and human wellbeing are debated for many countries. Some communities in rural mountain areas of the world consider trophy hunting as an integrated conservation and development strategy to protect biodiversity and sustain livelihood. This review will provide the evidence that has been gathered to discuss the benefits of CHTP in the HKPL landscape focusing on Pakistan and Tajikistan”. Trophy hunting, which is intensely debated these days, is perhaps confused with the underlying philosophy of community-based trophy hunting programs. This paper seeks to inform these discussions with a fresh perspective on CTHP based on first-hand experience and learning from the high mountain landscapes and communities of Asia - Pakistan and Tajikistan. The article essentially reviews the effectiveness of CTHP model for conserving rare and threatened wildlife populations, protected and conserved areas, and community welfare and economic uplift. Results reveal that CTHP has been instrumental in halting illegal hunting and poaching wildlife and eventually increasing their populations in many important yet isolated habitats while improving community livelihood and local economy. The CTHP forms a vital part of the rural socio-ecological resilience for remote and isolated mountain communities. It has offered economic incentives for an integrated conservation and development paradigm to combat wildlife poaching and illegal trade and diversify livelihoods harness vital biodiversity conservation values. The paper also elaborates on the societal impact of financial flows and their use for improved lives and enterprises. There are however, some significant problems related to trophy hunting programmes, including the lack of accurate information to understand the effect of trophy hunting on herd structure and size, weak policy implementation, lack of transparency and corruption. Regular monitoring of wildlife, understanding population dynamics, appropriate allocation of hunting quotas, hunting revenue, proper evaluation, and careful documentation of CTHP processes and their impacts are urgently required to make CTHP more effective and sustainable.
... In the case of white rhinos, it helped enable their numbers and range to grow significantly. Nowak et al. (2019) suggest that trophy hunting bans 'create opening for change'. In the case of African rhinos there is a high risk that such action now would result in negative socioeconomic consequences at meaningful scales (Parker et al., 2019) with concomitant adverse outcomes for rhino conservation. ...
Legal hunting of highly threatened species – and especially the recreational practice of ‘trophy hunting’ – is controversial with selected ethical objections being increasingly voiced. Less attention has been paid to how hunting (even of threatened species) can be useful as a conservation tool, and likely outcomes if this was stopped. As case studies, we examine the regulated legal hunting in South Africa and Namibia of two African rhino species. Counter-intuitively, removing a small number of specific males can enhance population demography and genetic diversity, encourage range expansion, and generate meaningful socio-economic benefits to help fund effective conservation (facilitated by appropriate local institutional arrangements). Legal hunting of these species has been sustainable, as very small proportions of the populations of both species are hunted each year, and numbers of both today are higher in these countries than when controlled recreational hunting began. Terminating this management option and funding source could have negative consequences at a time when rhinos are being increasingly viewed as liabilities and COVID-19 has significantly impacted revenue generation for wildlife areas. Provided that there is appropriate governance and management, conservation of certain highly threatened species can be supported by cautiously selective and limited legal hunting.
... Many communities in Africa and elsewhere support TH (Chakura et al. 2020), but the voices of primarily Western animal protection organizations drown out those of the citizens most affected (Madzwamuse et al. 2020). Claims that alternative wildlife-friendly land uses, especially phototourism, could replace TH (Nowak et al. 2019) are optimistic. Many places are unsuitable for phototourism and currently offer no prospect of viable alternative wildlife-based land use (Di Minin et al. 2016;Naidoo et al. 2016). ...
Article Impact Statement: Media coverage of trophy hunting highlights the potential for misinformation to enter public and political debates on conservation issues. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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Legal hunting of threatened species—and especially the recreational practice of “trophy hunting”—is controversial with ethical objections being increasingly voiced. Less public attention has been paid to how hunting (even of threatened species) can be useful as a conservation tool, and likely outcomes if this was stopped. As case studies, we examine the regulated legal hunting of two African rhino species in South Africa and Namibia over the last half‐century. Counter‐intuitively, removing a small number of specific males can enhance population demography and genetic diversity, encourage range expansion, and generate meaningful socioeconomic benefits to help fund effective conservation (facilitated by appropriate local institutional arrangements). Legal hunting of African rhinos has been sustainable, with very small proportions of populations hunted each year, and greater numbers of both species today in these countries than when controlled recreational hunting began. Terminating this management option and significant funding source could have negative consequences at a time when rhinos are being increasingly viewed as liabilities and revenue generation for wildlife areas is being significantly impacted by COVID‐19. Provided that there is appropriate governance, conservation of certain highly threatened species can be supported by cautiously selective and limited legal hunting.
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Sustainable wildlife management (SWM) is based on a synergy of traditional/local knowledge, advances in scientific knowledge, and fast-evolving economic and social circumstances. A widely accepted cornerstone of SWM globally is that conservation and utilization need to be effectively integrated, emphasizing the benefits humans can derive from biodiversity, thereby further encouraging people to protect and value wildlife though its management. However, with demand from biological resources growing at an unprecedented rate and the emergence of social media, conservationists must respond quickly to new challenges and conflicts associated with species management and public policy. For example, the rise of the “Compassionate Conservation” (CC) movement, fueled by social marketing and media, which promotes the welfare of individual animals, has introduced a set of challenges for conventional conservation management as it opposes most or all forms of wildlife utilization and hunting. CC advocates are increasingly influential at global and national policy levels; hence, it is imperative that conservationists are informed and aware of the future challenges from a rapidly changing global society. In this paper, we report the findings of a large semi-structured questionnaire in China which investigated the attitude of the urban public toward sustainable wildlife management (SWM) and wildlife conservation across a range of issues and identified the key socio-economic and demographic factor drivers for those attitudes. The survey was conducted from November 2018 to October 2020, across 15 cities randomly selected among China’s seven administrative geographic regions. The survey was initially conducted through face-to-face interviews, but later, due to COVID-19 restrictions, was completed via online questionnaires. A Likert seven-point scale method was used to score the public’s degree of agreement or disagreement for each question; a multivariate stepwise linear regression method was used to analyze whether the overall attitude of the respondents toward SWM and wildlife conservation was affected by their demographic characteristics; and a classification and regression tree (CART) was used to conduct an in-depth analysis of the issues with negative scores in the questionnaire, so as to understand how the respondents’ demographic characteristics affected the public’s attitude about such issues, which could supplement results obtained from the multivariate stepwise linear regression analysis. The results show that the public are broadly supportive of SWM, but only moderately so. On issues of “Animal Welfare and Rights,” “Wildlife Utilization and Captive Breeding,” and “Trophy Hunting”, the core concerns of the “Compassionate Conservation” movement and the overall public view are more antagonistic to conventional SWM. We also find specific demographic characteristics significantly influence attitudes about SWM, with vegetarians, those with religious beliefs, and with lower educational standards demonstrating weaker support for SWM. For younger people, “Animal Welfare and Rights” is a special concern, hence, we identify this as a key issue to be addressed for SWM and conservation in the future. Our research suggests that conservation organisations may need to adapt their management aims and practices to avoid direct conflict with the rising tide of animal rights sentiment, especially among the young. Furthermore, significant investment will be required to promote science-based conservation in social marketing on all social media platforms to help educate and engage the public with the science behind conservation management.
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Tolerance of hidden trophy hunts and inadequate oversight of hunting permits threatens protected species and undermines public trust.
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Reported effects of trophy harvest often are controversial. The subject is nuanced and many studies lack details necessary to place their results in context. Consequently, many studies are misunderstood or their conclusions misapplied. We propose that all dialogues about trophy hunting include a definition of how they use the term trophy, details of variables measured and why they were selected, and explanations of temporal and spatial scales employed. Only with these details can potential effects of trophy hunting be understood in context and used for management and policy decisions. © 2021 The Wildlife Society. Effects of trophy harvest often are controversial because many studies lack important details. Dialogues about trophy hunting must include a definition of how they use the term trophy, details of variables measured and why they were selected, and explanations of temporal and spatial scales employed so that potential effects of trophy hunting can be understood in context.
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The use of trophy hunting as a wildlife management option has been a highly controversial topic, especially in southern Africa, but trophy hunting has historically also taken place also throughout Asia. In China, trophy hunting was the topic of intense public discussion more than a decade ago, leading ultimately to the suspension of this practice in 2006. Yet, this debate was dominated by urban voices, with no formal consultation of rural populations from minorities such as the Tibetan herders who previously benefited financially from commercial trophy hunting acting as guides and who are also concerned about the negative impact of rising blue sheep numbers on livestock grazing. We used a discrete choice experiment econometric method to better understand the trade‐offs made by both urban and rural populations across China in relation trophy hunting as a rural development and wildlife management tool. We find that trophy hunting is supported by the majority of rural residents but opposed by most urban residents, although there is heterogeneity within both these groups. We recommend that policy‐making in this realm should be informed by a better understanding of the preferences of different stakeholders, including the local people who bear the costs of living with wildlife. Islands and coastal environments are increasingly threatened by multiple stressors including rising sea level, invasive species, and human development. By surveying rodents in the Lower Keys, FL, we show that endangered silver rice rats use the tidally inundated mangrove forests fringing these islands, whereas invasive black rats are more likely to occur in upland environments. As such, rising sea level may benefit this endangered species, but only if human development is limited.
Technical Report
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This study analyses the configuration of protected areas in order to identify the points that will help them to tackle the challenges they encounter and to secure their future. The main recommendations involve improving their size and their boundaries, in order to help conserve species, as well as their functions and their natural balances. Today, it is of vital importance to have an adequate budget for managing a protected area: this is currently estimated at 7 to 8 US Dollars/hectare per year (in Africa). Whichever management mode is adopted, if this budget is not available, the protected area will not be able to play its role.
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Concerns about poaching and trafficking have led conservationists to seek urgent responses to tackle the impact on wildlife. One possible solution is the militarisation of conservation, which holds potentially far-reaching consequences. It is important to engage critically with the militarisation of conservation, including identifying and reflecting on the problems it produces for wildlife, for people living with wildlife and for those tasked with implementing militarised strategies. This Perspectives piece is a first step towards synthesising the main themes in emerging critiques of militarised conservation. We identify five major themes: first, the importance of understanding how poaching is defined; second, understanding the ways that local communities experience militarised conservation; third, the experiences of rangers; fourth, how the militarisation of conservation can contribute to violence where conservation operates in the context of armed conflict; and finally how it fits in with and reflects wider political economic dynamics. Ultimately, we suggest that failure to engage more critically with militarisation risks making things worse for the people involved and lead to poor conservation outcomes in the long run.
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Trophy hunting has occupied a prominent position in recent scholarly literature and popular media. In the scientific conservation literature, researchers are generally supportive of or sympathetic to its usage as a source of monetary support for conservation. Although authors at times acknowledge that trophy hunting faces strong opposition from many members of the public, often for unspecified reasons associated with ethics, neither the nature nor the implications of these ethical concerns have been substantively addressed. We identify the central act of wildlife “trophy” taking as a potential source of ethical discomfort and public opposition. We highlight that trophy hunting entails a hunter paying a fee to kill an animal and claim its body or body parts as a trophy of conquest. Situating this practice in a Western cultural narrative of chauvinism, colonialism, and anthropocentrism, we argue trophy hunting is morally inappropriate. We suggest alternative strategies for conservation and community development should be explored and decisively ruled out as viable sources of support before the conservation community endorses trophy hunting. If wildlife conservation is broadly and inescapably dependent on the institution of trophy hunting, conservationists should accept the practice only with a due appreciation of tragedy, and proper remorse. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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As traditional international trophy hunting destinations are becoming less accessible due to hunting restrictions and regulations, new destinations are entering the scene, such as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, located in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan has grown to be one of the top destinations for international trophy hunting of argali Ovis ammon and ibex Capra sibirica, both of which are in danger of extinction. Empirically, the article draws on a case study from the largest region in Kyrgyzstan, At-Bashy, and 395 questionnaires with local inhabitants from 5 villages, and 1 interview with an international trophy hunting tour operator. In this article, the impacts of trophy hunting as a tourism practice in a rural context is discussed in terms of its sustainability and through the opinions of the local inhabitants. In sum, the negative impacts of trophy hunting in At-Bashy seem to overrule the positive ones, and in its current form it is not sustainable. The local inhabitants report about a decrease in argali and ibex during the last years; they receive basically no economic benefits from hunting tourism; and not surprisingly, 70% of the population rejects the further development of the industry in its current shape.
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Trophy hunting of African elephant is often implemented as an income generator for communities surrounding protected areas. However, the sustainability of hunting on elephant populations, especially with regards to international cross-border populations has not previously been evaluated. We assessed the effects of trophy hunting on the population dynamics and movements of elephant in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area, which is spread across the junction of Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Currently, no common policy exits in quota setting for cross-border species, and each country determines their own quota based on limited data. Using VORTEX, we determined the sustainability of current quotas of elephant off-take under different ecological and hunting scenarios. We used distribution data from 6 aerial surveys and hunting data per region to determine the disturbance effect of hunting on bulls and breeding herds separately. Hunting of bulls had a direct effect in reducing bull numbers but also an indirect effect due to disturbance that resulted in movement of elephants out of the areas in which hunting occurred. The return interval was short for bulls but longer for females. Only a small number of bulls (<10/year) could be hunted sustainably. At current rates of hunting, under average ecological conditions, trophy bulls will disappear from the population in less than 10 years. We recommend a revision of the current quotas within each country for the Greater Mapungubwe elephant population, and the establishment of a single multi-jurisdictional (cross-border) management authority regulating the hunting of elephant and other cross-border species. © 2013 The Wildlife Society
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A better understanding of common property resource management systems and institutions is important for conservation and development, as fortress-based approaches towards conservation are increasingly questioned. This paper examines how an indigenous resource management system has operated and supported the protection of an Afro-alpine area in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. The community was mainly concerned to regulate their own use of natural resources, including collection of firewood and thatch, and grazing by livestock. The original common property resource management system operated under a previously undescribed indigenous institution known as the Qero system, which was enforced through sanctions and punishments imposed by the community. The Qero system was suspended following the Agrarian Reform in 1975, which resulted in the breakdown of the traditional land tenure and land rights systems within Ethiopia. In the Central Highlands, user rights and management responsibility shifted to include formerly marginalized groups. Nevertheless, the common property management system has shown sufficient resilience to withstand these changes and pressures, and is still functioning with defined user groups and byelaws to regulate resource use and manage the area. Nevertheless, attitudes to current and future management are polarized between former and present managers of the common property regime.
Global biodiversity conservation has recently focused on the roles of land management strategies of land sharing vs. land sparing. However, few studies have evaluated the roles of social and ecological interactions in modifying the effectiveness of land management for top predator conservation. Using a 65-year dataset from northeastern China, we evaluated the roles of government social policies in resolving human-wildlife conflicts and improving human livelihood. From 1998 to 2015, both big cat populations and their habitats have increased. Concurrently, regional human population density decreased by 59.6%, forest volume logged was reduced by 62.6%. Consequently, increases of key prey species were observed during the same periods. Although populations remained small, the annual finite rate of increase was 1.04 for the Amur tiger population and 1.08 for Amur leopards from 1999 to 2015. Habitat areas occupied by big cats increased significantly. Overexploitation of forest resources and big cat declines under previous unsustainable land use are progressively being reversed under land sparing. Large economic investment and intense human-relocation projects coupled with efforts to reduce poaching and illegal hunting and trapping demonstrate a complex social and ecological synergy in big cat conservation in China.
This article highlights the social impacts of sport hunting on the livelihoods of local people using a case study around Bénoué National Park, Northern Cameroon. Sport hunting is a way for local people to receive economic benefits from wildlife resources concerning community conservation. However, social impacts on local people, including displacement and restriction of access to natural resources, have rarely been considered. Nineteen months of fieldwork, mainly based on interviews and observations in one village, showed that sport hunting in Northern Cameroon generated tax revenues of about US$1.2 million in 2008 and also provided profit sharing and employment opportunities to local communities. However, this figure is less than that in other African countries such as Tanzania, as both employment opportunities and profit sharing are inequitable in this community. Simultaneously, locals’ rights over natural resource use, especially hunting rights, even for their livelihoods, were regulated.
Between 1999 and 2004 we undertook an ecological study of African lions (Panthera leo) in Hwange National Park, western Zimbabwe to measure the impact of sport-hunting beyond the park on the lion population within the park, using radio-telemetry and direct observation. 34 of 62 tagged lions died during the study (of which 24 were shot by sport hunters: 13 adult males, 5 adult females, 6 sub-adult males). Sport hunters in the safari areas surrounding the park killed 72% of tagged adult males from the study area. Over 30% of all males shot were sub-adult (<4 years). Hunting off-take of male lions doubled during 2001–2003 compared to levels in the three preceding years, which caused a decline in numbers of adult males in the population (from an adult sex ratio of 1:3 to 1:6 in favour of adult females). Home ranges made vacant by removal of adult males were filled by immigration of males from the park core. Infanticide was observed when new males entered prides. The proportion of male cubs increased between 1999 and 2004, which may have occurred to compensate for high adult male mortality.
There is a lack of consensus among some conservation NGOs and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This lack of consensus is due partly to a lack of reliable information on the economic significance and ecological impact of the industry. We provide a review of the scale of the trophy hunting industry, and assess both positive and negative issues relating to hunting and conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting occurs in 23 countries in Africa, with the largest industries occurring in southern Africa and Tanzania, where the industry is expanding. The trophy hunting industry has remained static or is shrinking in Central and West Africa. A minimum of 1,394,000 km2 is used for trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, which exceeds the area encompassed by national parks. Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism. However, there are a number of problems associated with the industry which limit conservation benefits. Several of these problems are common to multiple countries, suggesting that if solutions were developed, conservation benefits would accrue over large areas.