Hunters: The Best Conservationist, Ever (Part 3)

by david on October 10, 2012

What other benefits does hunting provide for the village?  Well, there are a few more.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, goes to waste from the animal.  The skins are used by local artisans or businesses to make items to sale.  Even the internal organs of the animal are consumed by the indigenous people.  Each day the hunter is in the field, he and his PH are boots-on-the-ground poaching deterrents.  I personally have found and removed snares.  My PH reported the locations and suspicious activities to authorities, which resulted in arrests.

I would like to use another story to help illustrate the second way giving an animal value helps preserve it.  Suppose a rancher has a leopard taking an occasional goat or sheep to feed herself and her young.  In the old days and places where leopard hunting is not legal, or there was no one willing to pay to hunt them, the rancher would shoot any leopard on sight.  When a kill was discovered, it was laced with arsenic or some other poison in an attempt to kill the leopard if it came back to finish its meal.  The poison would not only kill the leopard but anything else that found the kill, such as jackals, caracals, wild dogs, and buzzards.  The poison-laced carcass killed anything that cared to take a bite of it.  If the mother made it back to the den with a piece of the poisoned meat, the cubs would have a fairly quick, and probably painful, death.  If not, they would die slowly from starvation.  One can hardly blame the rancher from protecting his livestock, and thereby his family.  If he cannot take care of and feed his family, why work the ranch at all?

Now, let’s add the hunter back into the equation.  There is a trophy fee of $3500-$5000 for the leopard, and the rancher gets a percentage of this if he allows the hunter to come shoot the problem animal.  Suddenly, the loss of a $25 goat or a $75 sheep does not sound so bad.  Heck, for $3500, he might even think it is ok to allow old mother leopard to have a few more litters.  In reality, leopard hunters take great care to only take male leopards, so mama is pretty safe anyway (unless she is a frequent repeat offender but you get the point).

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