At first glance, most of everyone would think ‘What an absurd question.’ How can killing animals save animals? It is pretty hard to wrap your head around but it is true. In specific situations, trophy hunting does more good than bad.

Trophy hunting is the human recreational act of selectively hunting and killing of wild game. A part of the animal is usually then kept and displayed as proof of a successful hunt. It is a practice that many rich people partake in, many going to African countries just for the hunt. They pay a lot of money to the locals to help them locate their prey and carry supplies for them. Though it is a highly frowned upon practice right now, the money that is going to the locals might be extremely beneficial for both the locals and the animals itself.

Many of these governments have recognized the benefit of trophy hunting and have started using money generated from it to fund conservation efforts. They directly funnel the money from hunting to protect the animals from poachers, the biggest reason for them potentially going extinct. Poachers systemically wipe out entire species off the map just to make a profit. They kill hundreds and thousands of animals every year. Trophy hunting, on the other hand, is quite different. It is usually, a wealthy individual, who wants to shoot one animal and the government decides which animal. They pick out a weak or old animal on the brink of death or an animal that is a threat to other animals. In short, they choose animals that have a negative or no effect on the environment at the time. Using this practice, South Africa’s rhino population have gone up from 100 to 18,000. South Africa also gives some money from Trophy hunting directly to the locals which is the incentive they need to give land to the rhinos and protect them from poachers. One-third of all rhinos now live on private land.

This is a great practice on paper as it depends on there being no corruption and being as efficient as possible. But many countries in Africa do not meet either of these criteria as of right now. The problem is not all of the money that comes from hunting directly goes into conservation efforts. People’s desire to make money over caring for the animals is a primary reason for this. This has made it hard for people partaking in trophy hunting to differentiate between good and honest conservations groups and corrupt and dishonest ones.

It was obvious that hunting alone cannot help economies grow and protect the animals. Other conservation efforts like tourist focused animal preservation is also important. But the reason for this article is to shed light on this previously thought no-benefit act might have a silver lining for both us humans and the animals.