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The baby and the bathwater: trophy hunting, conservation and rural livelihoods

One of the most controversial topics in sustainable wildlife management is trophy hunting, which is recreational hunting that targets wild animals with specific desired characteristics, such as large size or antlers. There are moves at various levels to end or restrict the practice for ethical and conservation reasons, including through bans on the importation of hunting trophies.

In this article - which appears from page 3 in Unasylva 249, an international journal of forestry and forest industries - the authors make the case for the positive role of trophy hunting in supporting conservation and local rights and livelihoods, illustrating it with six case studies in Africa, Asia and North America.

The authors conclude that, although the governance of trophy hunting needs reform in many countries, bans and import restrictions would undermine successful conservation and communitydriven development programmes that are funded largely by trophy hunting.

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