Hunting Threatened Species
Hunting for food certainly isn't always bad - especially compared to factory farming - even if hunting has a big impact on animal populations. But if it includes hunting animals that are considered threatened or near-threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it just pisses us off (especially if you flew from the other side of the planet to do it). This safari website has a gallery of photographs of people proudly (and I mean huge grins) standing over the carcass of many animals that fall into that category (see a few photos below, if you can stomach it... but be warned, it's not pretty). We dug up some info about each species to show how vulnerable it is.According to Wikipedia, the Leopard is considered "near threatened" ("a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future"):
Once distributed across southern Asia and Africa, from Korea to South Africa, the leopard's range of distribution has decreased radically over time due to hunting and loss of habitat, and the leopard now chiefly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. There are fragmented populations in Pakistan, India, Indochina, Malaysia, and China. Due to the loss of range and continual declines in population, the cat has been downgraded to "Near Threatened" species; its numbers are greater than that of the other Panthera species, all of which face more acute conservation concerns.
The lion is considered threatened (sub category: vulnerable):
Lion populations are untenable outside of designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. [...]
Most lions now live in eastern and southern Africa, and their numbers there are rapidly decreasing, with an estimated 30—50 percent decline over the last two decades. Currently, estimates of the African lion population range between 16,500 and 47,000 living in the wild in 2002—2004, down from early 1990s estimates that ranged as high as 100,000 and perhaps 400,000 in 1950.
Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, although lions may take calves or weak individuals. They are, however, increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching. Once numbering in the millions, the African elephant population has dwindled to between 470,000 and 690,000 individuals according to a March 2007 estimate. While the elephant is a protected species worldwide, with restrictions in place on capture, domestic use, and trade in products such as ivory, CITES reopening of "one time" ivory stock sales, has resulted in increased poaching. [...] Since recent poaching has increased by as much as 45%, the current population is unknown (2008).
At the turn of the 19th century, there were approximately one million rhinos. In 1970, there were around 70,000. Today, there are fewer than 18,000 rhinos surviving in the wild.
Three of the five species of rhino are "Critically Endangered" as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). A taxon is classified as critically endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of a range of pre-determined criteria. It is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The southern subspecies of the white rhino is classified by the IUCN in the lesser category of being "Near Threatened"; and the Indian rhino is classified as "Vulnerable" even this is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Something tells me these people aren't exactly hunting for food. Paying thousands of dollars to fly down to South-Africa isn't exactly what starving people usually do...
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