A couple decades ago, there was something called the Bambi effect. Deer, normally considered a destructive nuisance, were humanized in the Disney film “Bambi” and contributed to backlash against hunters.
Hunting is a necessary act by man, to keep populations in check. Predation has been and always will be one of the most important aspects of population control. Man has changed the landscape, creating a safe environment for herbivores while simultaneously driving apex predators far away. Without some way to control population, the damage wreaked by overpopulation would become staggering.
However difficult it is for people to stomach, death is a necessary component of life, and contributes to an overall health in an ecosystem. While deer are hardly endangered, the same logic applies to endangered species. Carefully trimming populations like pruning a rosebush allows for maximum growth potential.
The most recent and blatant example of the Bambi effect is Cecil the lion. All debate about the legality of the hunt aside, trophy hunting in Africa is a massive boon to the economy, helping local populations and taking care of the environment.
Over $200 million goes to Africa each year, paid by hunters, and that figure does not count the secondary economic benefits brought to the continent by the industry. The trophy hunter retains a trophy, but the entirety of the meat is distributed to local villages. Prides are freed up from older and ailing lions, reducing conflict within the pride.
The alternative to trophy hunting isn’t that appealing. If all hunting is banned, then the only hunting will be poaching, by hunters interested only in a trophy and who want to remain anonymous.
Legalizing trophy hunting helps villagers and hunters, and makes poaching less profitable. Trophy hunters respect their prey, outlawing it will ensure the only ones killing animals are purely driven by profit and not respect or a desire to help African communities.
Most telling is the fact that the local Zimbabweans don’t care about the lion. In a part of the world where 25 percent of children will die of starvation, an old lion doesn’t really rank up there in terms of importance. I can’t imagine how baffling it must be for a Zimbabwean to hear of the huge public outcry by Americans who are silent and unfeeling when it comes to the suffering of other humans.
Studies confirm the environmental and economic benefit of African trophy hunting, while the only argument against hunting comes from a purely emotional attachment to animals who bear a resemblance to the Disney characters of childhood.
Disregarding blatant suffering and the sheer ludicrousness of the fact that people in this world still don’t have ready access to water in favor of a lion is inexcusable.