Hunting game, wildlife consumption in US and the lesson learnt

Hunting game and wildlife use in US

From Thai Van Nguyen, YSEALI fellow 2015

Before I came to Montana, I met most of American friends who always said “don’t hunt, don’t eat, don’t use”. That is often how people from US told us to say in wildlife campaign to reduce demand for wildlife product. Even when I heard many colleagues told the US the top wildlife consumer country. But I did not believe them and I thought it was a joke.

When I came to US, I was shock because seeing many death wildlife specimens that were displayed at the airport, in the government offices, visitor centres, restaurants, schools. I was spent months to think should we display or not with two dead animal specimens in our education centre. We concern it may encourage people to hunt or buy animals to display at home. Therefore, I have never thought it would help happen here before I arrive the US.

I am then very curious to know more about the hunting game when I know all dead displayed animals come from legally hunting here in Montana. I only discuss about the hunting game here in Montana, not any other parts of the word. I know that there is a big controversy and myself did not support for hunting game with the threatened species like rhinos, lion. I do not think hunting game is used effective with the uncountable species.

However, I understand why people are doing that. Many American people believe hunting allows them to connect with natural in a truly unique and powerful way, The bonds hunters form with nature and one other offer the greatest hope for creating the next generation of advocates for wildlife and conservation. Hunting game also provide a important financial source to pay for rangers and habitat and species restoration, wildlife research and law enforcement.

After going to work with forestry staff and the conservationists here, I think the hunting game only works when the hunters are care for nature, care for the future. It is only work then law is enforced well and no corruption. It may work with some species, but it would not work with many other species that can not be counted or no consumption value.

The hunting game is still a big controversy, however, a lesson learnt here for the education program in Vietnam, we can not always say “don’t”, we need to make people to care and love animals, to use the natural recourse sustainable way, and to understand the beauty of the wildlife. People need to understand that it is important to save the species to themselves and for their children. However, I always feel sad to see all dead displayed animals around. I believe we can use the specimens to teach people about wildlife, but not to display everywhere.

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