Wildlife conservation is exceedingly dependent upon the hunting industry. While at first this may seem contradictory, hunting is in fact a vital aspect in ensuring wildlife populations for future generations. Too often the hunter is criticized for declining wildlife populations, when in reality, the hunter is significantly invested in ensuring the opposite. Preserving natural habitats, contributing to local economies, and even growing wildlife populations are just a few benefits obtained through legal hunting practices. It is this insight that is often misunderstood or disregarded.
Hunting bans can actually speed up the extinction of many animals as they remove the economic value of wildlife, and that without value is destined to decline. Financial incentives allow all people to approach a situation with a common understanding of something’s value. It is at this point that people can come together for a common goal to prevent extinction of natural resources and ensure their existence for future generations. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was created for just this reason, to set regulations on the harvest of wildlife and establish conservation organizations. Since its establishment in the 1860s, many animals have been reintroduced and now have populations on the rise. Not only this, but without the contribution from hunters, taxpayers would have to spend millions to achieve the same goals. The income generated from the hunting industry far exceeds that generated from other forms of ecotourism and is derived from fewer tourists, reducing their ecological impact while providing increased revenue for conservation initiatives.
This model is beneficial for other countries as well. The sale of hunting licenses and tags in Africa go directly toward wildlife management and other conservation efforts. The economic success of hunting tourism hinges on the quality of the game species harvested, which in turn relies on the quality of the habitat to provide their environmental needs. Therefore, it is in the best interests of hunting operators to maintain pristine habitats for game species. The financial support provided by the hunting industry is a critical investment in maintaining biodiversity. Hunting supplies a direct line of financial support in the form of taxes, hunting licenses, etc, but the indirect benefits are great as well.
With a desire to ensure the preservation of natural habitats and ensure the presence of animals on that land, there is an overwhelming drive to maintain and even grow what already is present. Wildlife is protected and cared for by the economic value they have proven to have through hunting. Through continued education about hunting and the substantial benefits it provides toward conservation, wildlife will flourish.
The Warren Wildlife Gallery firmly supports the mission of hunting as a means of conservation and hopes that all will be able to enjoy the adventure that wildlife in its habitat has to offer, especially for the next generation.