• 54°

Catawba professors agree trophy hunting can help wildlife

SALISBURY — Two Catawba College professors are among the more than 130 signers of a letter published last week in the journal Science. The letter states that there is compelling evidence that banning trophy hunting would negatively affect wildlife.

Dr. Luke Dollar and Dr. Andrew Jacobson, professors in the college’s department of environment & sustainability, co-signed the letter, alongside additional experts and colleagues from around the world.

The letter is expected to generate controversy, discussions and dialogues in the general public and conservation community on a global scale.

While many of the authors find the practice of killing endangered free-ranging wildlife for sport distasteful, they point out that in areas without trophy hunting, species such as lions fare badly because unregulated killing can be far more prevalent than it would be in hunting zones.

The letter notes: “Trophy hunting can provide income for marginalized and impoverished rural communities. Viable alternatives are often lacking; opponents of hunting promote the substitution of photo-tourism, but many hunting areas are too remote or unappealing to attract sufficient visitors. Species such as lions fare worst in areas without photo-tourism or trophy hunting, where unregulated killing can be far more prevalent than in hunting zones, with serious repercussions for conservation and animal welfare. Focusing on trophy hunting also distracts attention from more severe threats to wildlife.”

In African countries that do allow trophy hunting, “more land has been conserved (in hunting concessions) … than under National Parks,” the authors cite. Regulated hunting has boosted populations of southern white rhinos, wild sheep and goats — such as bighorn, markhor and argali — among many additional wildlife species.

The authors acknowledge that poorly managed trophy hunting can cause local population declines, and that there is “considerable room for improvement,” but, they say, “unless better land-use alternatives exist, hunting reforms — which have proved effective — should be prioritized over bans.”

“We’re not in a position where all the land currently in hunting concessions would magically be converted to new, additional National Parks if trophy hunting is banned,” notes Dollar.

“Without the presence of hunters and managed hunting, land may likely be quickly cleared of wildlife and converted for agricultural use to support cattle or crops,” adds Jacobson. “When it comes to feeding their families versus preserving wildlife, the necessary choice for most local people is clear.”

“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global conservation authority, clearly concludes that ‘well-managed trophy hunting can — and does — positively contribute to conservation and local livelihoods.’ ”

Comments

Local

City, Bell Tower Green Inc. sign agreement formally handing over maintenance responsibilities

High School

East holds off South for homecoming victory

Business

NC unemployment on 12-month streak of lower rates

High School

High school football: West comes up just short against Concord

Coronavirus

FDA says Pfizer COVID vaccine looks effective for young kids

Nation/World

Warrant: Baldwin didn’t know weapon contained live round

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with breaking into used car dealership, stealing Ford Mustang

Crime

Kannapolis man charged with accidentally killing foster brother

Business

Renting out Wrenn House is next on menu for Bell Tower Green Park

Local

City to purchase, replace floating aerator devices for wastewater treatment

Business

NC Community College president details importance of connection between businesses, educational institutions

Entertainment

Sheriff: Alec Baldwin fired prop gun on movie set that killed woman

Coronavirus

CDC panel recommends expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster rollout

News

Truck driver killed after collision with school bus in Newton

Crime

Iredell County man charged with murder after three bodies found in burned Statesville house

Crime

Massive search for Laundrie ends as FBI identifies remains in Florida

Cleveland

Nation’s largest barn quilt mural to be unveiled in Cleveland on Saturday

College

Charlotte among six schools joining American Athletic Conference

Crime

Few details available after Kannapolis shooting claims life

Business

East Spencer apparel store will host free luncheon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

College

Catawba College receives record $200 million contribution to endowment

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found at Salisbury home

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office releases details of NASCAR driver’s assault at coworker’s home

Elections

Council candidates discuss city’s handling of ‘Fame’ relocation, protesting, pandemic