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Monday, 2 February 2015

Two Sides of Illegal Hunting Part 2A: Tourism

(Note: This is part 2A of the series Two Sides of Illegal Hunting which explores both sides of the issue of illegal hunting. Parts 1A and 1B introduce with reasons to explain why illegal hunting happens, and parts 2A and 2B will feature consequences and reasons against it. A third section, an informal reflection, will also be included. Links to the full series can he found here:

Reasons Against Illegal Hunting: Tourism

Sometimes there is a conflict of interest in terms of economic benefit versus the protection of nature, but tourism is an industry that often depends on local wildlife. Ecotourism has become a popular choice for many tourists, and popular activities such as Safaris has provided an additional economic incentive to preserve wildlife. A “trophy-hunted” elephant may be sold for $4 000 to $20 000, with the often-forgotten cost of the rest of the elephant’s life, which may be as long as 60 years or more in the wild*. However, throughout an African elephant’s life free in its natural habitat, it may produce a revenue of $1 million distributed along different aspects of the tourism industry, including travel agencies as well as the local economy (Animal Welfare Institute, 1983). People are naturally attracted to beauty found in nature, and will often choose to spend their money to see animals in their natural environment, especially rare, endangered, or vulnerable ones like African elephants. Similarly, according to Lee Durrell’s State of the Ark (1986), a hunted lion may be sold for up to $8 500, but a mature male lion living in the wild may attract $500 000 in tourism revenue (Animal Welfare Institute). The tourism industry is an important part of some countries’ income, as well.

The money gained from tourism can be put towards the local community as well, reducing the need for illegal hunting by providing employment and by extension greater degree of social empowerment. This is exemplified by the fact that in 2011 “tourism accounted directly or indirectly for one in every 20 jobs in Sub Saharan Africa in 2011, and is one of the few industries on the continent in which women are well represented as employees and managers” (World Bank, 2013). Often there are conflicting opinions on the value of money weighed against the value of life*, however even if the unit of measurement is in dollars, these animals are still worth more alive in their natural habitat than dead on the blackmarket.
* The nontechnical aspect in part 3 (the final part) will elaborate on this point.

Sources (For Part 2A only)
Animal Welfare Institute. "Trophy Hunting vs. Ecotourism Revenues Endangered Species Handbook." Endangered Species Handbook. N.p., n.d.[1983?] Web. 2 June 2014. 
Durrell, Lee. State of the Ark1986. Web. Sept 2013.
World Bank News. "Africa's Tourism Set to Boost Economic Growth, Create New Jobs, and Now Outpace Other Regions for New Tourism Investment." World Bank News. N.p., 3 
September 2013. Web. 2 June 2014. <>.

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