In 2014, the Dallas Safari Club auctioned a trophy hunting permit for $350,000. While the permit led to the death of a black rhino, the $350,000 helped the Namibian government preserve the rest of the herd.
Where are we going? To the value that trophy hunting gives to animals.
The Value of a High Price
Because of the death of Cecil the lion, trophy hunting has been in the news. A controversial topic, it relates to the ethics of killing animals, to preserving endangered and vulnerable species, to the safety of African villagers, to national finance, to international trade. The list is endless.
So, for now, let’s just look at money.
To imagine where the money is, we can think of animals that roam freely, others that are limited to game preserves and a third group in a regulated environment that are trophy hunters’ targets. Those that become a part of the trophy hunting world generate considerable income.
You can see below for 2011 the “mean price for the cheapest trophy hunting packages (daily rates and trophy fees) for each of four key species.”
Or, we can look at this table:
Our Bottom Line: The Price System
Conveying a message about value, prices create incentives. Ironically, the trophy hunting that threatens these animals also gives them value. And that value protects them. Aware of the income from which they benefit, locals tolerate the lions that threaten their safety. Otherwise they would poison them. Correspondingly, African nations need the animals that preserve their trophy hunting income.
Might we conclude that a $350,000 permit for a black rhino could help to preserve the species?