Ages ago, man began constructing weapons and hunting animals for one simple, justifiable reason: survival. At that time, there was no distinction between hunting a beautiful and especially rare animal, and hunting a more common one, because it all translated to sustenance.

Today, things have changed materially. Trophy hunting in the Serengeti is an incredibly involved topic that inspires outrage from many, regardless of which side of the issue they land on. The simple reality is, though, that trophy hunting is harmful to the wildlife being hunted.

One of the biggest reasons this is true is obviously related to the fact that not all trophy hunting expeditions are ethical ones. In fact, much of the time, those engaging in trophy hunting are harming the population, even if it is unintentional.

Consider the fact that more than 500 African lions are killed each year through trophy hunting, and many of those lions belong to populations which are already declining for one reason or another. Hunting one of these male lions for a trophy might seem a small deduction from their pride, but it destabilizes the entire population as other males then fight to take over control.

Proponents for trophy hunting often believe that they’re positively impacting the local economy, and that much of the money they spend on the trophy hunt will then be reinvested into conservation. How much of that money is being necessarily invested to fix the problems created by trophy hunting, though, and wouldn’t it be better to make a contribution that’s less invasive?

Trophy hunting is an alluring concept, but in the end it only serves to hurt the animals as a whole population.