Travel News

Big game ban: helping or hindering the fight against hunters?

And so the backlash has begun on a practical level. Delta, American Airlines and a fair few other airlines either have banned or are likely to ban the shipping of legally hunted lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies.

Our anti-hunting sentiment was instilled in us on a trip two years ago to South Africa. We discovered that the gestation period for a rhino is 18 months, that extinction doesn’t have to mean the death of the last of a species but instead the destruction of the gene pool by over-hunting, with animals becoming so inbred that the species is no longer viable.

For this reason, the battle against hunting is one that must be won without pushing these strange pleasure seekers into the shadows and into the underworld. Sadly this underworld is currently thriving when it comes to one animal: the rhino. The price of a rhino horn (it’s worth stating that a rhino horn is made up of the same indigestible material that your own toenails are) is now more than gold on the black market, simply because it is seen as an aphrodisiac.

In even sadder news, some absolute fool from Vietnam suggested it could cure cancer (it really can’t), meaning that illegal hunters are still looking for ways to beat the system and continue their gruesome and pointless hunts. With this in mind, the worry is that with these major airlines now refusing to keep the legal hunters happy, the hunters may start letting the rules go to hell and could start hunting for animals where they shouldn’t be.

Should this happen and the conservation groups start losing the funding from the hunters, the parks will have to start fighting the poachers and the hunters. It’s hard to see how the animals will turn out to be the winners in this situation. While the intention of Delta and others is correct, surely education and firmer regulation is the way forward to ensure that hunters die off before their prey does?

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