Behind the bushes in the grassy open plains of Zimbabwe, a man stands with a gun pointed towards a beautiful lion. His mane golden and head held high, he walks through the grasslands like a king, completely unaware of what is about to occur. The man positions his gun, and in an instant and shoots the lion dead. He walks triumphantly towards the animal; it’s his trophy now.
Trophy hunting has always been a controversial topic. Trophy hunting has been a part of American history since 1892. In California, kids as young as 12 years old can obtain a hunting license to hunt big game species (bobcats, deer, bear, etc.).
Trophy hunting is considered a hunting sport that helps wildlife conservation. It does bring in a lot of money that could then be spent on nature reserves and to help conservation, but if there are no more animals left to conserve, there is no use for this conservation money. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to hunt animals, people could donate directly to wildlife reservations if they want to help the conservation effort.
Climate change and animal poaching have been harming the diverse species we have here on Earth. The African Wildlife Foundation stated that by 2050, there will be no more lions left on this planet if nothing changes. Everyone should try and increase the population of these animals, not decrease it.
Several weeks ago, a video of a man shooting a sleeping lion went viral on the internet. Even though it was stated that the video that it was filmed in 2011, it was only recently leaked out onto different social media platforms. The man was later identified as Guy Gorney, a trophy hunter from Illinois who has killed over 70 animals.
The lion was sleeping peacefully in Zimbabwe before Gorney came up and shot him several times. The lion woke up quickly in pain from the bullet, but Gorney didn’t stop there. He shot two more bullets before he was told to stop. His guide praised him for his “spectacular catch” and like all trophy hunters, Gorney even posed for a picture with his newfound trophy. Many people, including me, were outraged. How can you praise someone for taking the lives of innocent animals?
In an interview in 2015, Gorney said, “You can say, why’d you shoot a lion? I love zebras, so shooting a lion probably saves 70 zebras a year, give or take. There are all these kinds of balances in nature.” The food chain exists on Earth for a reason, predators eat their prey and it moves in a cycle. Killing off a predator throws off the food chain and causes many different problems for the ecosystem.
Hunting an already critically endangered animal doesn’t help with conservation, it only causes it to become more endangered than it already is. Conservation begins with increasing populations, not the other way around.