Trophy hunting is not one big thing

Darragh Hare*, Hüseyin Ambarlı, Amy J. Dickman, Egil Dröge, Mohammad S. Farhidinia, Paul J. Johnson, Munib Khanyari, Rose Mandisodza-Chikerema, Robert A. Montgomery, Chris Sutherland, Hugh Webster, Matthew Wijers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Few topics in wildlife conservation are as controversial, emotive, or command as much public and political attention, as trophy hunting. International discourses regarding trophy hunting are characterised by radically contradictory assertions, ranging from claims that trophy hunting is a humane and socially acceptable wildlife management tool which benefits more animals than it kills, to claims that it is cruel, socially unacceptable, and drives species to extinction. So, which is it? We argue that using a single, blanket term “trophy hunting” obscures substantial and important variation in how and why people pay to hunt and keep trophies. Consequently, polarised disagreements over whether “trophy hunting” is good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable, beneficial or harmful, conflate arguments about fundamentally different activities. We urge conservation scientists and practitioners, politicians, journalists, and advocates on all sides to communicate more clearly and carefully about which specific hunting activities they believe are right or wrong, beneficial or harmful, acceptable or unacceptable, to whom, and for what reasons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2149-2153
Number of pages5
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number6
Early online date7 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Community-led wildlife management
  • Conflict
  • Ethics
  • Governance
  • Hunting
  • Politics


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