It saddens me when I hear arguments that private management of farmed elephants, rhinos and lions constitutes an acceptable vision of conservation.
How can we possibly accept a vision of the Earth in which wild animals only have a place if an unfortunate few are forced to surrender their very lives to fund their brethren's survival? That they are forced to live within boundaries of private game ranges specified by real estate transactions rather than within their natural habitat, where they would otherwise thrive the way they were meant to in nature?
And what happens when an animal is no longer sought after as a hunting trophy? Are we then expected to simply shrug our shoulders and admit that they deserve no protection?
That is not a conservation strategy. It is a lack of one.
Abandoning endangered animals to private owners who allow trophy hunting is an utter abdication of government responsibility to uphold the common good.
The argument that hunting provides the local human communities a wealth of benefits is based on false premises as well. Revenue derived from private sector hunting tourism doesn't come close to meeting the complex needs of communities long promised a share of the proceeds and distracts governments from addressing the most pressing issues at the intersection of environmental needs and human development, including water rights, population growth, and land-use planning.