Issue of the Week: Trading Bullets for Tranquilizer Darts

2012-09-20 04.45.22 Hunting is an important tool that helps manage wildlife populations at socially and biologically acceptable levels. Nevertheless, critics have become increasingly more vocal in discouraging hunting and advocate for non-lethal alternatives such as “green hunting.” Green hunts or darting safaris were briefly popular in South Africa and Namibia, but fell out of favor around 2011. Sportsmen and women were able to dart various animals such as the African elephant and rhino. Authorities were concerned that darted animals could injure themselves by falling off cliffs or drowning in ponds. The idea has recently made its way to the United States, but whether hunters should start trading in their bullets for tranquilizers remains to be seen. Some in the hunting community are embracing this new facet of the industry. An organization in Frisco, Texas, is offering dart safaris to hunters. Their game park is home to about 70 types of exotic animals that can be darted for fees. The funds go directly to the care of the animals and the eventual re-population to logical and responsible locations that include original habitats where the animals have in some cases gone extinct in the wild. Opponents of green hunting do not believe these hunts will help conservation efforts in the long run. One concern opponents have is that darting animals with anesthesia can also lead to injury or even death. This is especially true in bush settings without easy access to emergency equipment. There is more to be learned as this new application of hunting develops in the U.S. SCI Foundation will closely follow its progress and assess the potential conservation benefits or adverse effects. Regardless of whether one chooses to actively participate in harvesting an animal or green darting, people interested in wildlife and its future should understand the impact on conservation all sportsmen play.

One Reply to “Issue of the Week: Trading Bullets for Tranquilizer Darts”

  1. Is it just a coincidence that when green hunting for white rhino was banned in South Africa a few years ago, poaching seems to have exploded?

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