History Channel Show asks: Can hunting co-exist with wildlife conservation?

Is there a place for hunting as wildlife faces deeper threats than ever? The History Channel is teaming up with the Cabela Family Foundation to find out.

Hunting and wildlife conservation share a long and complicated relationship, and the latest History Channel show aims to unravel it.

For “The Hard Truths of Conservation”, the chain has partnered with the Cabela Family Foundation, the non-profit wing of Cabela’s Outfitters. The show seeks to determine the role that sustainable interactions with wildlife, including hunting, can play in the context of modern conservation.

Dan Cabela, wildlife advocate, son of Cabela’s original founders, hosts the show. The 10-episode series will air weekly on the History Channel’s “Outdoors” block at 9 a.m. ET in half-hour episodes. It will be presented on Saturday August 20.

In a teaser video for the series, Cabela says “hunting has become a controversial practice in modern times”.

“I travel the world to explore the true impact that hunting has on our remaining wild landscapes. This practice dates back as far as human history can remember,” says Cabela. “But does it have a place in modern conservation?

(Photo/Lesly Derksen)

Hunt and save

Although difficult for many environmentalists to understand, hunting has long supported wildlife. The term “sustainable use” includes many forms of conservation – including hunt.

The World Wildlife Fund says sustainable resource use “can include locally managed responsible hunting”.

“[S]Such programs can reduce poaching, lead to species population growth and recovery, provide valuable income to local communities…and inspire communities to commit to long-term wildlife conservation,” said writes the nonprofit organization.

It sounds like exactly what “Hard Truths of Conservation” will explore. The show aims to “expose the current realities of wildlife conservation, as well as the benefits of treating wildlife resources as both valuable and renewable,” according to a press release.

Each episode focuses on a single species and follows Cabela as he participates in conservation initiatives. He talks to community members, wildlife managers, field technicians and scientists for an in-depth look at sustainability.

Given Cabela’s financial backing, the show could feature a rosy take on the hunt. However, the fact is that discipline and the revenue it generates plays a major role in wildlife policy. As a professor from North Carolina said: the hunt remains spine of wildlife conservation in the United States

“Hunters do more to help wildlife than any other group in America,” said Chris DePerno, professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology at the College of Natural Resources. “They not only provide financial support to national wildlife agencies, but they also play an important role in wildlife management activities.”

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