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Hunting : Positive and Negative Effects

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Initially, hunting seems to be a clear hazard to the environment and the general health of animals around the world. Every year millions of animals are killed through hunting for sport. However, hunting is not as detrimental as it may seem. The hunting industry raises huge amounts of money every year which goes toward the environment. Hunters are also widely known to encourage wildlife protection and habitat conservation, often monetarily. Nonetheless, the positive and negative effects of hunting are widely contested by a large number of environmental and wildlife activists
Despite the controversy surrounding hunting today, it must first be asserted that in the past, hunting has had a hugely negative impact on animals around the world. Many species have gone extinct or become endangered as a direct result of overhunting. Examples include the Passenger Pigeon, Black Rhinoceros, and Tasmanian Tiger, all iconic species hunted to complete extinction. In addition, the eradication of a single species can send an entire ecosystem into destruction. Yet, these tragedies all came as a consequence of a single factor: little to no regulation. Historically, environmental repercussions have not been taken into consideration, and today, these are very much a concern. As a result, regulated hunting of zero risk species presents a completely new outlook on the effects of hunting for recreation.
Still, unregulated hunting is always a concern, even when guidelines are in place. Poaching, or illegal hunting and collecting, is a constant problem. Poachers around the world are known to kill endangered or otherwise protected wildlife, and sell parts such as ivory for huge profits in the black market. According to environmental website One Green Planet, over 30,000 elephants were illegally killed just last year, a trend highly pertinent to progressive decline of these animals. Due to the fact that regulated hunting is quite prevalent, poaching can often be difficult to identify and stop. Although poaching can never be fully exterminated, a decrease in regulated hunting acceptance would make the eradication of poaching rare or endangered animals easier and faster.
However, the monetary benefits for wildlife conservation resulting directly from the hunting industry cannot be ignored. In 2006, an article in Biological Conservation reported that the trophy hunting raises over $200 million annually for wildlife conservation purposes. These figures typically go directly to the support of wildlife refuges, conservation efforts, and scientists attempting to evaluate population crises and control. The money raised by these hunters is also not easily replaceable. Hunters purchasing required licenses greatly outnumber other wildlife watchers, and without their support, conservation funding would plummet.
Hunting can also be important for animal population control. When a single species exceeds carrying capacity, it can both wreak havoc on an ecosystem and spell death for many members of that species. For example, when deer populations rise above normal limits, they often greatly decrease sapling growth, which will subsequently encourage fern growth. Although ferns are a natural part of the ecosystem, they are known to shade lower plants and prevent them from getting light. It is chain reactions like this which can often be eliminated by hunting, especially with frequently hunted species like deer.
Due to the varying effects of hunting and current reliance on its funding, it is clear why there is so much controversy surrounding it. Although potentially immoral and disastrous for specific ecosystems, the money the hunting industry brings in for wildlife conservation is irrefutable. Nonetheless, debates will rage on, even if hunting is here to stay.

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Hunting : Positive and Negative Effects