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aggressive and interfere with the proliferation of the rest of the herd, especially in the rhino species. That’s why a legitimate trophy hunt to benefit conservation can remove a problem animal from a herd. The right way to hunt No one thinks that putting a suffering dog to sleep is inhumane. The same logic applies to hunting. Mother Nature does not provide for a comfortable death in the wild. In an ideal world, all hunters should only consider animals that are in the last stages of their lives. Usually, these animals are in for a painfully slow natural death that includes losing their teeth and starving, or a painfully quicker natural death by being eaten alive by other predators, even in a reserve. This may sound harsh, but sometimes ending an animal’s misery is the most humane thing to do. That’s why it happens in American veterinarian offices every day. Economic benefit for locals Properly run, legal hunting brings in money for the wildlife cause and local communities. In a 2007 study, Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist with the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, found that “in the 23 African countries that allow sport hunting, 18,500 tourists pay over $200 million (U.S.) a year to hunt lions, leopards, elephants, warthogs, water buffalo, impala, and rhinos.” After the hunt, the meat -- from older, non-reproducing males -- is usually donated to the locals. In addition to the much needed financial benefits, this “selective harvesting” of animals being consumed by locals is far better for wildlife conservation than the indiscriminate, non-selective “kill anything that comes by because my kids are hungry” type of killing that would certainly take place without organized hunting. Because the animals have an elevated value to the communities, they will do whatever they can to protect them. The world’s human population is growing exponentially. That isn’t good news for the world’s wildlife population. Any solution must include conservation and resource management. I keep my mind open to all kinds of solutions. My organization has partnered with Ducks Unlimited to initiate an ecological study and future restoration project for wetland habitat considered vital to thousands of species of waterfowl, shorebirds and fish along the northern Pacific coast of Mexico. We’ve started an anti-rhino poaching training academy in South Africa where we enlist former U.S. Navy SEALs who are teaching local recruits military tactics to fight the black market that is a major source of funding for global terrorists. And recently, we sponsored the world’s first “catch-andrelease” tranquilizer dart hunt, which sedates an animal but doesn’t kill it. This can serve as an alternative to trophy hunting. Conservation through commerce should not be viewed in a negative light. It is a fantastically important part of conservation. I encourage all hunters to only participate in legal and properly-run hunts and to raise awareness about protecting endangered animals so that they don’t go extinct. Published by National Geographic on July 29: What happened to Cecil is the result of “a few bad apples and is not typical of the vast majority of trophy hunting,” says Wayne Bisbee, a trophy hunter who founded Bisbee’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund <http:// bisbeesconservationfund.org/> in Texas to support wildlife protection. In addition to raising funds for conservation and culling herds, responsible hunters deter illegal poachers by serving as eyes and ears on the ground, Bisbee adds. The next step for Zimbabwe should be to step up enforcement of their hunting laws, to prevent more illegal takes, says Bisbee. “Responsible hunting is going to pay for that,” he adds, pointing out that Zimbabwe is among the world’s poorest countries. -Wayne Bisbee BISBEE’S CONSERVATION JOURNAL Q1/Q2 • 2016 87


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