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Climate and Environment

Padmaparna Ghosh
Journalist and podcaster
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piqer: Padmaparna Ghosh
Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Does Hunting Ever Aid Conservation?

In a crushing blow to conservationists, China recently legalised trade in tiger and rhino parts for "medical use". Among other ramifications, this act carries the legitimate risk of increased poaching and hunting. This news took me back to a classroom I sat in two years ago at Trinity College, Dublin, participating in a heated, animated debate on whether hunting can save endangered species, especially the African Rhino. I was on the side of "No, it cannot", which I felt was the "right side". The question of whether big game trophy hunting can benefit the conservation of endangered animals is a fraught one. 

Apart from conservation concerns, the issue is also tangled in ethical and moral dilemmas. I, for one, cannot imagine a world where creatures are killed to generate revenue... to save them. It seems perverse and entirely anthropocentric. But then do we have evidence of whether this actually works in the real world? I present one of my top five podcast episodes ever—The Rhino Hunter from the exceptional podcast Radiolab. 

On this episode, Abumrad and Krulwich home in on Corey Knowlton, a Texan trophy hunter, who paid US$350,000 at auction for a permit to kill a rare black rhinoceros. Can an act of killing save several others? It is a very difficult topic. But if such moral (and financial) dilemmas interest you, listen to this evocative episode today.

Does Hunting Ever Aid Conservation?
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