Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book



Trophy hunting is a specific type of hunting where a portion of the animal is kept as a souvenir to memorialize the experience. It is not illegal, as poaching is, but there is certainly a debate that surrounds the practice.

When photos surfaced of Melissa Bachman posing with a lion she killed, the outrage was immense (for perhaps more complex reasons than solely hunting). In a story on this topic, OGP’s Kristina Pepelko said, “The backlash to her photo is certainly warranted as big game hunting is a poor excuse for conservation, especially when 75 percent of wild lions have been killed in the last 20 years, and this number is likely to accelerate in the next decade if nothing is done, as reported by ABC News.”

Killing animals in the name of conservation is surprisingly something that many groups have claimed. The Dallas Safari Club is proposing to auction off a “special permit” from the government of Namibia to hunt one of Namibia’s 1,800 remaining black rhinos. All in the name of conservation.

While trophy hunting often brings in money to certain parks or locations, it’s counterproductive to the overall idea of conservation. Why shoot something you supposedly want to protect?

1. Trophy hunting can hurt the overall population of a species

Though hunting groups often claim that a small amount of controlled trophy hunting does not harm populations, the opposite appears to be true. In the case of African lions, “Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats…The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride,” reports Jeff Flocken for National Geographic.

The recent Michigan wolf hunt has been filled with controversy – wolves were recently removed from the endangered species list, and soon after, hunted for trophies. The Toledo Blade reports, “People who understand conservation were appalled [about the hunt]. Michigan Technological University Professor John Vucetich, a conservation biologist, said, ‘There is no scientific evidence wolves need to be hunted.’ He added: ‘It’s not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction, only to begin killing the animal.'”

It seems that there would be less destructive ways to conserve a species, specifically, one that doesn’t involve putting a price on their head.

2. Does it really bring in money to help the animals and local communities?

A study on the economic benefit behind lion hunting in Africa concluded, “The suggestion that trophy hunting plays a significant role in African economic development is misguided…Revenues constitute only a fraction of a percent of GDP and almost none of that ever reaches rural communities.”

Dr. Naomi Rose agrees as stated on the HSUS blog, “Regarding the statement that trophy hunters do a lot for conservation, it’s true that some portion of some hunters’ fees goes to conservation in some countries, but it’s rarely the major source of conservation funding. Usually middlemen—commercial outfitters—take the lion’s share of sport hunting proceeds and local communities and conservation and management agencies get the dregs.”

3. Trophy hunting is elitist

Since trophy hunting for “big game” usually takes place in more remote locations in which people need to fly into, or charter transportation, it’s not really an activity that’s open to anyone. Not that having it open to more people would make it any better, but trophy hunting tends to be richer people going out for the thrill of the chase – under the guise of conservation. For example, the Trump brothers came under fire after photographs of them with animals they had killed in Africa surfaced. Mother Nature News reported that there are many other ways the brothers could have helped the people of Zimbabwe, rather than hunting and killing animals.

True conservation activities should involve the local community in a way that is sustainable, and trophy hunting does not accomplish this ideal.

4. Trophy hunting can be linked to poaching

If trophy hunting were to ever hope to be known as “conservation,” there would have to be extremely close monitoring by scientific and state bodies regarding the health and legality of the hunt.

While a certain amount of regulation does take place, it is not enough to prevent the possibility of trophy hunts being used as cover for poaching. According to a report “The Myth of Trophy Hunting” by Save African Animals, “Opening up even a limited legal trade creates a smokescreen for poachers which is almost impossible to police. Prior to 1986, when the whaling moratorium was introduced, legal quotas were widely used as cover for poaching, driving some species near to extinction. The same is happening with trophy hunting of endangered species.”

The hunting of animals for trophies, especially large game animals, can lead to a slippery slope in which the animals are the victims. The report also includes more information on the many issues behind trophy hunting.

5. Financial incentives can hurt the population of a species

Monitoring the population of a species takes a lot of resources for conservation groups and governments. It is possible that misinformation can lead to incorrect reporting of numbers to encourage hunting, or the financial benefits of continued hunting lead groups to inflate their reported numbers.

Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal biologist, explains “…Sport hunters’ fees put economic pressure on managers to inflate hunting quotas beyond sustainable levels…Despite what science and common sense said, the quotas were increased and the [population of] bears declined.”

The infamous Canadian seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals per year, and the seals are used for their fur and other body parts. Sea Shepherd reports that, “There is no scientific justification for these quotas as the seal counting techniques used amount to little more than guesswork. Further, Canadian author and naturalist…Farley Mowat, estimates that for every seal landed, another is shot and lost under the ice, not to be included in  the count. According to the Canadian government, the hunt will not harm seal populations, however, the facts dispute their unfounded claim.”

Some humane ways that you can help protect animals include:

  • Simple eco-tourism – instead of going to shoot big game, why not take a trip to simply appreciate these animals in their natural state?
  • Habitat protection – Visit national and international protected parks or contribute to these organizations.
  • Support organizations like the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund that are working towards conservation that doesn’t include killing.
  • If you live in Michigan, get involved with the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Why Feeding White Bread to Wild Birds is Killing Them

Feeding White Bread to Wild Birds is Killing Them

Why We Need to Teach Kids That Exotic Animals Are Not Pets or Toys

Why Its Important to Teach Kids That Exotic Animals Are Not Pets or Toys

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

36 comments on “5 Reasons Trophy Hunting is not Conservation”

Click to add comment
4 Months Ago

I think hunting should be band

Ryan Lange
10 Months Ago

Why not kill animals? It\'s just like a wolf killing a deer. We are the top of the foot chain. GOD SAID SO. Animals were made FOR us. Hunting is not only fun, it is natural and more ppl should do it. Stop being whiny little bitches

02 Nov 2017


Wade Michaels
30 Nov 2017

At least wolves know how to hunt more mercifully. They do not go into other animals territories and slaughter most if not all of them. Wolves hunt for food. Humans hunt for sport. Its cruel, what some people do. Mr. Lange, you seem like the classic American: Likes hunting, is a hardcore Christian, and you come across as a bit ignorant. Yes, we should be able to hunt animals, but we should do it more leniently, so the animals have time to replenish their numbers. Instead of killing the animal and taking photos, or making it into a trophy, respect it and use its resources for good, do not just leave them to rot. Like deer hunting, use the meat for food or to sell for money. You could take a note from the Native Americans, they know how to hunt correctly. One more thing, I would politely like to ask you, that while this is a free site, and it is America, your opinion could be voiced in a more respectful way. We need to behave like people, not animals.
Wade T. Michaels

05 Feb 2018


07 Mar 2018

People like you give hunters a bad name. Animals should be treated with respect, especially by those who hunt. Hunting for a trophy is non-sportsmanlike and morally reprehensible. Once you grow up and become a man, Ryan, you\'ll understand, you don\'t kill for fun. That\'s not what wolves do.

riley anthony
10 Mar 2018

It\'s idiots like you that don\'t understand the value of conservation. Just because you can do something doesn\'t mean you should. You CAN rape someone but you don\'t. It\'s called humanity. When you get older a younger person CAN throw you down the stairs, but they don\'t. WHY do must we deal with the obtuse?

S. Schulte
1 Years Ago

Trophy Hunting is not a sport, it\'s murder, please sign this petition to take away the platform those sorry people like to brag on!

Jake Eagleshield
3 Years Ago

Kill to conserve? Talk about an oxymoron.

07 May 2015


Gaetano Bonaviri
3 Years Ago

unfortunalely " the World Wildlife Fund that are working towards conservation that doesn’t include killing" is not correct: WWF DOES backs trophy hunting.

Mel Kensit
3 Years Ago

excellent post thank you. . We would also in turn like to share this with you, it seems Marilyn was the first in the media to stand up in public speak out against Kendall Jones http://radiogirlproductions.blogspot.com/2014/06/an-open-letter-to-kendall-jones-hunter.html

Stu D. Baker
4 Years Ago

Sorry, but my mother was only beautiful on the wall.

Joan Edwards Davis
4 Years Ago

if it is beautiful.......DON'T KILL IT!!!!

Jim Span
4 Years Ago

luckily, i live in the rockies, where eating venison is standard. as far as trophy hunting, that seems to be strictly a white people thing. ell degenerates just spouting the partyline rhetoric. americas not the only place people hunt to eat.

Patricia Anne Franczyk
4 Years Ago



Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on

Do Not Show This Again


Submit to OneGreenPlanet

Terms & Conditions ×