Two sides of the same coin
For the past few years, I have been conversing with the posters on a popular forum site specifically for those who have a love of hunting. As an anti-hunter per se, I cannot say I made many friends there, nor did I see much altruism or empathy in them. I did, however, discover a common goal. Don't get me wrong here, it's not a goal that we share in the same capacity, and it's certainly not one that will solve the argument of anti and pro-hunting. Both sides of the argument think too differently upon this to ever agree, nevertheless, we share in the goal of conservation.
For the hunting community, conservation is necessity to allow them to continue hunting for the foreseeable future and beyond, and should their right to hunt be taken away, they would soon stop trying to contribute. For the anti-hunting community, on the other hand, it's all about the conservation of animal species and saving them for future generations to enjoy. There is no ulterior motive for the anti, despite the hunters belief that anti's just want to take away what they believe is their God-given right to hunt.
Hunting and conservation at odds?
Despite conservation being an ulterior motive for the hunting community, there are parts of hunting such as sustainable offtake that are dubious with regard to conservation. It must be said that these people really do contribute in the main. Poaching and illegal wildlife killing, for example, are two huge problems in African countries but could be worse if hunting were to be stopped. In Mozambique in 2015, one hunting operator alone removed 1,600 gin traps and 8,000 snares from the surrounding land. That one operator will also have protected the wildlife within his or her boundaries from poachers and saved countless more animals. Without hunting, this operator would have lost his business and his ability to aid in conservation.
Also related to poaching, snaring, and illegal killing of African wildlife is the mantra of 'if it pays, it stays.' The African people are far more likely to protect and leave wildlife alive if it has a value to them and is not just a pest or threat. Human and animal conflict has risen over the years in African countries and continues to do so as more and more land has to be shared by the two in close proximity to each other. Hunting provides wildlife with a value in the capacity of providing jobs and food to the local communities. For example, it's estimated that in Tanzania alone, over 3,700 people are employed by the hunting industry (who in turn support around 88,000 family members). Meat from kills is also donated to the local communities by hunters who have been successful.
I will not pretend that I believe that the argument for hunting as a conservation tool is valid or effective enough to save many species of wildlife on its own. I also will not pretend that they're a group particularly amenable to change or compromise when it comes to their activities. They do however have a point with regard to hunting being able to contribute to conservation. #Travel