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October 26, 2013 / V A Nichols

We are not all hearing the same definition of the word ‘conservation’


Is conserving land and only selected wildlife species to hunt them the meaning of Conservation?
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Posted September 12, 2013 by
Location New York, New York

Is conserving land and only selected wildlife species to hunt them the meaning of Conservation?


Is conserving land and only selected wildlife species to hunt them, for the “enhanced pleasure” of hunters as they call it, the meaning of Conservation?


The North American conservation movement has admittedly evolved to become preservation of wildlife for the consumption and use of humans, not for the protection of either animals or the natural order of the ecosystem.  Ideas of Teddy Roosevelt, hunter, vs John Muir, environmentalist/naturalist and advocate of wilderness preservation, others, and politics have a lot to do with what we think is Conservation. (1)   We are not all hearing the same definition of the word.


Aside from the cultural and psychological trauma that Indigenous people experience when the animals that they consider sacred are slaughtered for the sport of hunters, does trophy hunting benefit those communities if they are given money after the killing?   With the intent to prevent total devastation due to human expansion, there has been support in the past from WWF, Sierra Club and others to try this as a solution to keep wildlife viable.  Studies now show that where hunting exists, endangered species go extinct much more rapidly than where there is no hunting. (5,6)  The black rhino, the lion, clouded leopard, and the elephant are all losing ground rapidly or have become extinct in areas where hunting takes place.  The Humane Society also disputes that communities see much if any of this money.  (5,6,7).  Tourism attractions to these areas from wildlife preserves from Africa to Yellowstone Park are able to bring in large amounts of money to sustain wildlife, through photo safaris and other public events.  But they cannot accomplish this in an atmosphere of violence, where the public grows to love and respect the animals who are then gunned down by trophy hunters and others who despise an entire species.


It is said by some modern trophy hunters that they are just following in the footsteps of Native people, and that hunting is a way of life. They use the same words to rev up for the hunt and slaughter of animals considered sacred, including wolves, coyotes, even horses, that not that long ago were used to talk about slaughtering Native people. These words are not forgotten, they are just not repeated out loud in a world that is trying to move forward, except by these hunters. ‘The only good one is a dead one’, ‘because I’ve got children’, because I just like to kill stuff’, or ‘because I can, I’m the apex’, etc. This has nothing to do with living in Harmony, walking in Beauty, or learning the Medicine of each animal.


Many hunters say that they would only kill for food, or self-defense, which was the tradition in a time where people truly lived from the land.  On pursuing this it is becoming very rare in today’s world that this is not really trophy hunting, or making a living by slaughtering large numbers of animals for pelts, whether endangered or not. It is not likely that a wolf would attack a human, more likely livestock. Deaths from predators are in very small numbers compared to farm conditions, respiratory illness, infections etc. (3,4)


This is a modern thing, not a tradition.  This is misuse of animals, not conservation.

Gifford, John C. (1945). Living by the Land. Coral Gables, Florida: Glade House. p. 8. ASIN B0006EUXGQ.
Turner, James Morton, “The Specter of Environmentalism”: Wilderness, Environmental Politics, and the Evolution of the New Right. The Journal of American History 96.1 (2009): 123-47 online at History Cooperative
“Livestock Losses”  Wild Earth Guardians, (2011)
“Self-reported cattle deaths reveal minor losses to predators”, Defenders of Wildlife (February 2012)
Flocken, Jeffrey, “When it comes to trophy hunting, rural African communities don’t get the gold”, International Fund for Animal Welfare (Jun18, 2013)
Economists at Large, 2013, The $200 million question: How much does trophy hunting really, contribute to African communities? a report for the African Lion Coalition prepared by Economists at Large, Melbourne, Australia,



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