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 with Rob Miskosky

Finally, A Voice With Reason

They are called the “International Union for Conservation of Nature”. Worldwide they are better known as the IUCN and according to their website, their “work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.”

From the IUCN's briefing paper.
With more than 1,200 members (including the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada), 11,000 scientific experts and 1,000 staff working in more than 160 countries “to help the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges”, the IUCN is no small dog.

Often, large groups of this nature are viewed with suspicion by hunters, anglers and trappers and perhaps justifiably; after all, too often the contributions made to conservation by hunters, anglers and trappers are simply shrugged off by those folk that buy into the ramblings of the anti-crowd and their “donate” buttons.

However, the IUCN appear to have a different agenda and that includes looking at things properly and putting them in perspective.

After Cecil the Lion made headlines around the world, a huge, uneducated uproar followed calling for a ban on trophy hunting or, at the very least, a ban on imports derived from trophy hunting. Several weak-kneed businesses in the service industry broke to the pressure and took a negative stance against trophy hunting. Today, they merely look like weak-kneed fools, especially after the IUCN published a briefing paper this month on trophy hunting.

According to the IUCN, “In the European Union (EU), a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for the signing of a Declaration to ban import of trophies into the EU (European Parliament 2016). This paper seeks to inform discussions
on this Declaration.”

The paper presents an objective, unbiased look at trophy hunting, both its good and bad practices, and the affect it has on wildlife populations and communities where trophy hunting is commonplace.

Early in the paper, the IUCN dispels several myths around trophy hunting by stating;
● Trophy hunting is the same as “canned” hunting;
● trophy hunting is illegal;
● trophy hunting is driving declines of iconic species, particularly large African
    mammals like elephant, rhino and lion;
● trophy hunting could readily be replaced by photographic tourism.

“None of these statements is correct.”

The paper also discusses the result of blanket bans or restrictions stating, “They are a blunt instrument that risks undermining important benefits for both conservation and local livelihoods, thus exacerbating rather than addressing the prevailing major threats of habitat loss and poaching.”

The IUCN also recognizes, “...hunting can be a positive driver for conservation because it increases the value of wildlife and the habitats it depends on, providing critical benefit flows that can motivate and enable sustainable management approaches.”

And, “Removing the incentives and revenue provided by hunting would be likely to cause serious declines of populations of a number of threatened or iconic species.”

Which has been proven repeatedly.

As the saying goes, “If you want to save a species, hunt it!”

The paper concludes with 10 “Case studies of trophy hunting having positive conservation and livelihood benefits.” Two case studies come from our part of the world including Case Study 3 – Bighorn Sheep in North America, and Case Study 10 – Polar Bears in Canada.

Anti-hunting advocates scream for bans and restrictions with their positions based on emotion. They ignore the evidence when presented by those who understand the true meaning of wildlife conservation. Will they ignore this IUCN report too?

You can read the IUCN briefing in its entirety here:

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

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