Why do international conservation experts at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) NOT oppose hunting??
Conservation biologist Ross Pomeroy reports out over on Real Clear Science:
African lions have taken a beating over the decades. While they numbered in the hundreds of thousands a century ago, today, between 23,000 and 39,000 animals remain, spread across just one-fifth of their historic territory. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists lions as "vulnerable," one step up from "endangered." Habitat loss, disease, and human interference are the major reasons for the decline.
Considering those dire statistics, you might think that the IUCN would oppose trophy hunting. After all, the singular act of killing reduces a species' population. But the organization actually supports it.
"Trophy hunting is a form of wildlife use that, when well managed, may assist in furthering conservation objectives by creating the revenue and economic incentives for the management and conservation of the target species and its habitat, as well as supporting local livelihoods," the IUCN announced in a 2012 report.
That same report reveals two case studies where the establishment and proper regulation of trophy hunting grounds actually helped threatened animal populations recover. Nature writer Richard Conniff shared even more examples in a 2014 op-ed published in the New York Times, including that of Namibia, where lion populations are now increasing. In Conservation Magazine, Jason Goldman shared another instance:
"According to a 2005 paper by Nigel Leader-Williams and colleagues in the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy... the legalization of white rhinoceros hunting in South Africa motivated private landowners to reintroduce the species onto their lands. As a result, the country saw an increase in white rhinos from fewer than one hundred individuals to more than 11,000, even while a limited number were killed as trophies."
In a 2013 study published to PLoS ONE, an international team of researchers zeroed in on the trophy hunting of lions. They found that the number of hunting kills in Africa has fallen considerably, down to just 244 per year. That number was as high as 550 a decade ago. They also urged countries with legalized lion trophy hunting to restrict trophy kills to males six years of age or older, to ban the hunting of females altogether, and to require minimum hunt lengths of at least 21 days to ensure that hunters are being properly selective. Most importantly, the researchers recommended that countries take an evidence-based approach to setting hunting quotas.