Culling for wildlife conservation Managing numbers of wild fauna populations
Unrestriced hunting and poor wildlife management has clearly led to the substantial reduction in numbers and species of animals. However, when hunting is properly managed in balance with nature, hunting effectively conserves wildlife habitat and species. Hunting generates vital income for conservation, for example from hunting license and excise tax revenues. Such income supports the maintenance of natural habitat to maintain a wild animal population (that without hunting revenues may not survive). Regulated hunting or culling also keep animal numbers from increasing above the carrying capacity of the land, that otherwise would lead to the natural starvation and death of numerous animals.
Through license revenues, excise taxes and other sources of income such as duck stamps, USA huntsmen contribute over 1 billion dollars to wildlife conservation efforts each year. A further 300 million dollars are contributed each year through private donations. Their support over the years has contributed in significant measure to the increases in the following wild animal numbers in the USA: about half a million white tailed deer in 1900 to about 18 million today; about 100,000 wild turkey the early 1900s to about 4.5 million today; about 12,000 pronghorn antelope 50 years ago to more than one million.
There is no foundation to hunt wild animals in modern societies for the sake of food or fur (clothing) since these basic requirements are all abundantly provided for in modern society. Hunting for sport (enjoyment) alone, whether in abundant or needy societies, is ethically and morally wrong. Need the hunted animal suffer great stress and pain, and die finally for our enjoyment? Though regulated hunting helps conserve animal numbers and natural habitat, those habitats may become artificial by continuous stocking of new numbers of animals to be hunted, and by the alteration of the habitat to facilitate hunting and/or to increase the numbers of animals to be hunted (at the expense of non-hunted animal species and the vegetation character). Remaining wildlife habitats and species and their numbers should be and could be conserved without needing to rely upon hunting. Hunting then, should only be allowed under a humane "culling programme" to control over-numbered wild animal populations that would otherwise cause unacceptable environmental degradation.
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