There is a lack of consensus among conservationists regarding the association between trophy hunting and wildlife poaching. Anti-hunting groups argue that trophy hunting is against animal welfare and contributes to wildlife population decline so it must be refuted. On the other hand, pro-hunting groups for advocate regulated hunting as an essential tool for supporting habitat protection and reducing crimes. Regulated hunting creates incentives for conservation through direct and indirect methods and reduces wildlife poaching in areas where ecotourism cannot be practically viable. We used fifteen years' trophy hunting and poaching of African elephant (Loxodonta africana), lion (Panthera leo), Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Common Zebra (Equus quagga), hippopotamus (Common Hippotamus amphibious) and Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) from Selous and Rungwa game reserves in Tanzania. The results showed that there is no evidence of influence of regulated hunting on poaching rate for all species with exception of African elephant. Poaching rate of African elephant was found to be higher than the rate of regulated hunting because of limited number of quota set by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and international restriction of elephant hunting imposed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study suggests that the contentions to stop trophy hunting because of an increase in poaching incidents have no empirical justification. Thus, more effort should be on anti-poaching activities ensuring the adherence to legal hunting regulations.
Key words: Poaching, hunting, trophy, conservation, biodiversity.
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