Elephants, Lions, and Hunters? Oh, my!
By Amy Willis
Have you ever dreamed of going on safari? I know I have. Sweeping African vistas with majestic creatures roaming wild… What could be better? Catherine Semcer, the guest on this episode, had the same dreams, and she’s been lucky enough to actually experience them. Why, then, would she advocate the hunting of such creatures? (Spoiler alert- she’s not a hunter.)
Do locals who share the land with lions and elephants share the same romance we seem to have with them? Living day by day with creatures who can be terribly destructive might be part of the answer. As host Russ Roberts says, “…you can still value something and still be aware of the threat that it poses to your livelihood and your life.” As usual, both Roberts and Semcer think economics can help us come up with a better explanation.
1- Why is poaching such a big problem in Africa? Throughout the system of game ranches, national parks, and “wildlife utilization areas” poaching is already illegal. What does Semcer say is the real way to stop poaching?
2- Why wouldn’t more funding for monitoring and protection be effective in mitigating poaching, according to Semcer?
3- How did a US ban on import of elephant trophies contribute to a decline in Zimbabwe’s elephant population? How does this help explain Semcer’s advocacy of licensed trophy hunting?
4- Semcer says the larger problem with regard to African wildlife is how to manage conservation alongside economic growth. What does she mean by this?
5- Semcer tells the story of Coutado 11 in Mozambique. What does she mean when she says that entrepreneur Mark Haldane has been “building social license” for his operation? What have been the effects of Haldane’s operation? Why did Haldane introduce lions- who feed on elephants- into his preserve?
Bonus: What most surprised you about this week’s episode? What was your biggest take-away?