Hunters paying $150,000 to kill an endangered rhino may save the species
Brendan Borrell explores the thorny issue of trophy hunting of rhinos, together with the potential legalisation of the trade in rhino horn, and the economics of conservation. To read the original article, click here.
Comment from Save the Rhino
Brendan Borrell’s piece on Bloomberg news tackles rhino trophy hunting by the horns. As previous visitors to our website and Facebook pages will know by now, Save the Rhino International is in favour of the sustainable use of wildlife, including culling, cropping and trophy hunting, provided it is carefully managed so that wildlife populations as a whole are not harmed and that the proceeds are directed back into conservation. You can read more about the arguments on either side by following the links listed under May 2010 on our partnership with Safari Club International, here.
Only two of the people / organisations that wrote to us to complain about our stance had ever donated to Save the Rhino International. One person had previously given $500. The other, an organisation – let’s call it The Foundation – had previously given Save the Rhino three grants totaling £61,000. The Foundation's Director wrote to us to say that the Trustees did not agree with our stance on trophy, or recreational, hunting and that it would not fund our work again.
This raised a series of interesting questions.
We asked whether The Foundation intended to stop funding all organisations that were in favour of trophy hunting. If so, this would presumably mean that it no longer funded the following:
- Any charity that had a Trustee on its Board that was a hunter or in favour of hunting
- Any charity that had knowingly accepted a donation from a hunter or hunting organisation
- Any project based in the National Parks or Game Reserves of countries that allow hunting (includes Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa)
We also asked The Foundation whether it would consistently apply its anti-hunting policy to all applicants in the future. We know that at least 3 organisations listed on its website or in its Annual Report as recipients of grants have donors / Trustees who are hunters, or support hunting as a valid means of conservation management. The WWF is mentioned in Brendan Borrell’s article as “embracing the notion that legalized hunting – and the creation of a market for the right to shoot and harvest an animal – may help endangered species”. The Foundation has previously supported WWF; will it continue to do so?
The Foundation said that it was not willing to meet with us, or to discuss the questions we had raised.
Losing The Foundation’s support was a blow, obviously. But we can’t let the tail wag the dog: we believe that properly managed rhino hunting has a valid role in rhino conservation (and this position is supported by the UCN’s SSC African Rhino Specialist Group’s Scientific Officer) and we should not chase good will at the expense of our principles.
Cathy Dean, Director, Save the Rhino International, 11 November 2011