One of the biggest issues related to wildlife that has been bothering me is legalized hunting. No need to mention, this is also one of the most controversial. There are both ardent supporters and fervent opponents to it. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which side you are on. Some examples of legalized hunting would be trophy hunting and canned hunting.

The former is where trophy hunters go for the best specimens of each species. For instance, in the case of lions, they go for males with the thickest manes and for elephants, they choose bulls with the longest tusks.

The latter occurs when captive animals are released back into the wild only for hunters to shoot them. In return, these hunters pay large sums of money which can then be used to fund conversation efforts.

I’ll give my views on trophy hunting first. Glamour? Power? Fame? Money? Adrenaline Rush? Ask any trophy hunter why he does what he does, and I can guarantee those are some words you will hear from them. I find it extremely ironic that those words can be associated with something that is nothing more than a blatant act of selfishness. What’s worse is that those words are usually spoken without the slightest remorse! Of course, it would be wrong for me to say that ALL trophy hunters are like that. There are times when hunters became the most passionate of conservationists. Kudos to them! 

However, what is most disturbing about trophy hunting is that the people actually ENJOY it. Killing is killing. No difference whether it’s killing a man or an animal. “Is trophy hunting a form of serial killing?” by Gareth Patterson brings up many valid arguments. He finished off with this sentence, “Lastly, serial killing has been described as a “20th-Century phenomenon”. The same could be said of Western trophy hunting in Africa.” Unsurprisingly, I agree with him. There are even videos on Youtube recording the whole hunt, from the initial meticulous planning to the final shot. How anyone can raise a gun and point it at an innocent, inquisitive animal is way beyond me!!

Issues of morality aside, trophy hunting has an adverse impact on the stability of the ecosystem and the future of the species itself. By taking out the best specimens of species, usually the males, this effectively leaves those with less desirable traits to continue on. In the long run, this leads to an overall weaker pool of gene diversity and as a whole, the species will slowly deteriorate.

Then, there’s canned hunting. This is even more disturbing! Releasing a captive animal back into the wild only to take its life? That’s just plain sick. These hunters pay hefty sums of money in return which are much needed in conservation efforts, and from their point of view, they are being noble. However, why do something and expect others to be grateful? If you want to do something, then do it full-heartedly and not expect anything in return. At least that’s how I think. Otherwise, don’t do it!

In my opinion, arguments for hunting are weak attempts at covering up their insecurities and selfishness. So what if a hunter pays proper respect to the animal after it’s down? It does not change the fact that the animal was killed just to satisfy the hunter’s 5-second lust for an adrenaline rush and glory for killing the animal with the longest horns or thickest mane. The morality of legalized hunting will always be trapped in a never-ending debate. After reading my piece, it’s time to answer the question I asked in the beginning.

Whose side are you on?

JV.

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