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May 4, 2016
Hunters Conserve Wildlife

In 2014, a permit to hunt a single endangered black rhino was sold for $350,000… as part of a program to support its conservation in Namibia. Counterintuitive? Through funds raised from legal hunting—the purchase of permits in Africa, licenses and taxes here in the U.S.—, hunters contribute significantly to wildlife conservation efforts. Hunting has also become an important tool in the effort to control animal populations, to the benefit of humans and wildlife alike. But are big-game revenues really benefiting conservation and local communities? And is hunting a humane way to maintain equilibrium and habitats, or are there better alternatives?

  • 00:00:00
    John Donvan:
    Let's welcome our debaters to the stage.

    [applause]

    It starts with Catherine Semcer and Anthony Licata and Wayne Pacelle and Adam Roberts. Thank you. Again, because of the -- of our producing the podcast and the radio broadcast and the livestream, from time to time -- you know, something happened with my chair.

    [laughter]

    It got really small. If I sit down, this is not a good look. So I might need some technical help to get my chair ready. All right, I'm just going to stand tonight. I'll stand. Thank you. Indication number one that I'm not really that smart.
  • 00:01:07
    [laughter]But the other thing I wanted to say is every now and then I'm going to ask for you to applaud spontaneously to help along the atmosphere and I want to do that starting right now if you could launch us with a round of applause.

    [applause]

    So a wealthy American who likes to hunt goes to Africa and shoots and kills and endangered animal, a lion, say, or a black rhino. And it is legal because he has a license,
    one that he paid thousands or even tens or hundreds of thousands for, but sometimes when word gets out about the kill, outrage follows. The hunter is severely criticized by animal rights activists and by some environmentalists who condemn the act, insisting that animals need to be protected, not hunted.
  • 00:02:03
    "But wait," some hunters say, "We are the good guys here.” “Our sport,” as they call it,
    is the best thing that has ever happened to wild animals. We hunters are history's first true conservationists and still its most effective, not just the millionaires who are trophy hunting in Africa, but also the deer and the duck hunters in the United States from Maine to Montana. Hunters conserve wildlife, they say, they argue. So what about that? Well, that sounds like the makings of a good debate. So let's have it, "Yes," or,
    "No," to this statement, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife," a debate from Intelligence Squared U.S. I'm John Donvan. We are at the Kauffman Music Center in New York with four superbly qualified debaters who will argue for and against this motion, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." As always, our debate will go in three rounds and then our live audience here in New York votes to choose the winner and only one side wins.
  • 00:03:00
    Before we get to the introductions, let's get to your vote. Take a look at this motion,
    "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." Now, there is a keypad at your seat and if you go to that keypad, you need to pay attention only to keys number one, two, and three. If you agree with this motion, we'd like you to push number one. If you disagree, push number two. And if you are undecided, push number three. The other keys are not live,
    so you can ignore them. And if you felt that you entered the incorrect vote, just correct yourself and, while the system is still open, the piece will record your latest vote into our computer. Does anybody need more time? It looks like everybody's complete.
    Okay, so that's our preliminary vote. I want to explain that we're going to have you vote a second time after you have heard all of the arguments for and against the motion,
    "Hunters Conserve Wildlife," and, in the end, it's the difference between the first and the second vote in percentage points that determines our winner.
  • 00:04:03
    So you'll be voting a second time after you hear all of the arguments. Let's meet our debaters first. Let's -- please, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Anthony Licata. Anthony,
    welcome to Intelligence Squared.

    [applause]

    Anthony Licata:
    Thanks for having me.

    John Donvan:
    So, Anthony, you are -- you're editor-in-chief of Field and Stream Magazine. That has an audience of more than nine million hunters and fisherman. You yourself have been hunting since you were 10 years old. You took a trip out to Alaska on a black bear hunt.
    You did not come back with a bear. So what made it so memorable for you?

    Anthony Licata:
    Hunting is about a lot more than just taking an animal. On that trip to Alaska, I absolutely fell in love with Southeast Alaska and that's what made it so memorable.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Anthony. And tell us, who is your partner in this debate.

    Anthony Licata:
    My partner is Catherine Semcer.

    John Donvan:
    Catherine, welcome to Intelligence Squared.

    [applause]

    And, Catherine Semcer, you are chief operating officer of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants, that's an NGO that works with governments and other organizations to fight against poaching in Africa.
  • 00:05:08
    And it seems like every time a controversy comes up involving trophy hunting, people tend to conflate legal hunting and what is called poaching. So in a couple of sentences,
    educate us. What's the difference between legal hunting and poaching?

    Catherine Semcer:
    Sure. A hunter is someone who pays a fee to pursue game within the context of a conservation program that has government oversight. A poacher, in contrast, is an outlaw who illegally kills game to supply illicit markets around the world. The keydifference is that hunters support conservation programs and poachers actively undermine them.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, a topic we'll be coming back to. And thank you and this is the team arguing for the motion, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife."

    [applause]

    And we have two debaters arguing against it. First, Wayne Pacelle. Wayne, welcome to Intelligence Squared.
  • 00:05:59
    Wayne Pacelle:
    Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Wayne, you are president, you are also CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
    That is an animal advocacy organization that provides direct care to more than 150,000 animals every year. You've always loved animals but, in your youth, apparently I understand your knowledge was encyclopedic, literally?

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Well, it was. I had all of the encyclopedias, some old Britannica encyclopedias dog-
    eared to all of the animal entries, the polar bears and the pronghorns and all the other animals. So I couldn't get enough information when I was a kid about animals.

    John Donvan:
    All right. Thanks, Wayne Pacelle. And who is your partner?

    Wayne Pacelle:
    My good friend, Adam Roberts. Glad to have him here.

    John Donvan:
    Adam Roberts, welcome to Intelligence Squared.

    [applause]

    You are CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation. Those are organizations that work toward protecting wildlife in natural habitats.
  • 00:06:57
    Your organization helped sponsor a law under the Endangered Species Act, a change in the law that protects lions as of 2016. What does that protection mean? Does that mean that lions will never be hunted?

    Adam Roberts:
    No really it's not the end. It's the beginning of lion conservation by ensuring that American trophy hunters don't play a part in the ongoing demise of the species.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, and again, something that we'll be getting to tonight in our debate. Our team arguing against the motion “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.”

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Wayne, while we're here. I mispronounced your name on the first pass through. You were very polite not to correct me on it, but I'm going to fix it and we can fix this in the editing. That's the beauty of being able to rewind. If only real life were like that. But the team arguing -- I'm just going to do the one sentence. The team arguing against the motion, first let's welcome Wayne Pacelle.

    [applause]

    Okay. So, you met our debaters. Now we move on to Round One. Round One is opening statements by each debater in turn.
  • 00:08:01
    They will be seven minutes each and they will be uninterrupted. Speaking first in support of the motion, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife,” Catherine Semcer. She is COO of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants, a nonprofit anti-poaching organization.
    Ladies and gentlemen, Catherine Semcer.

    [applause]

    Catherine Semcer:
    Thank you, everyone. I really feel that I should not be up here tonight. I really feel like the person who should be here talking about African wildlife is somebody from Africa,
    from South Africa, from Zimbabwe, from Namibia, from Mozambique, somebody who has to live with that wildlife and somebody who has to live with the consequences of the policies that the United States and the EU often implement in relation to that wildlife, but I'm here and I appreciate the invitation.
  • 00:09:00
    I think this is going to be an interesting debate because Wayne, Adam, and I agree on a lot. First and foremost, we agree that wildlife is valuable and should be conserved. I think all of you feel the same, otherwise you wouldn't be here this evening. Wayne and I agree that factor farming is bad for people, animals, and the environment, and Adam's organization, Born Free, just recently joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which I also serve as a volunteer, the largest network of conservation professionals in the world. So, welcome, Adam. If you came here looking for the brawls that usually characterize this topic, I hope you're going to leave disappointed.
    Anthony and I are not zealots. We're not absolutists. We're realists. And that realism,
    along with our personal experience, is what leads us to the position that hunters conserve wildlife. And it's a position I hope you will vote in favor of this evening.
  • 00:10:00
    We're going to share with you stories from Africa's poaching wars. We're going to talk about the success of the North American model of wildlife conservation. We're going to share figures and realities that we have gained through boots on the ground experience working with lions, elephants, cape buffalo, sable, in places where photo tourists will not go because they're what we call a non-permissive environment, places that are dangerous, remote. But hunters will go there and hunters are the ones who are conserving these places. A little fun fact. Do you know that hunting concessions have conserved an area in Africa 1.7 times the size of the U.S. National Park system? That is a huge chunk of conservation land. How much of our national park system are we willing to put into jeopardy on the African continent?
  • 00:11:00
    I'm going to share some stories about why hunters conserve wildlife. One place we work is called Coutada 11 in Mozambique. It's an area of about 2.5 million acres. To put that into perspective, it's an area about the size of Yellowstone National Park. As many of you probably know, during the 1990s Mozambique saw an absolutely brutal civil war,
    horrific. If you're not familiar with it, you should become familiar with it, because it's something that should never happen again. One consequence of that civil war was that Coutada 11 was completely wiped out of wildlife. Cape Buffalo were down to 1,200 in number. Sable, we're down to 44. People were starving. In came a man named Mark Haldane, South African, a professional hunter, and outfitter, a concessionaire.
  • 00:12:02
    He took charge of Coutada 11 in partnership with the government of Mozambique.
    1,200 buffalo became 21,000. Forty-four sable became 1,400. In the last 10 years, hehas invested one million dollars of his revenue to restore wildlife in this area. He invests $100,000 a year in anti-poaching alone. And now because of that anti-poaching work which my organization helped support with training, advisory assistance and procurement services, this is the only area in Mozambique that did not see a decline in elephant numbers during the last national elephant census. If that's not conservation,
    then I don't know what conservation looks like. But let's take a step back. Let's get a definition of conservation.
  • 00:12:59
    The International Union for Conservation of Nature that I had mentioned previously that I served that Adam's organization is a part of, they define conservation as, and I'm going to read here because I want to make sure that we get this right, "Conservation is the protection, care, management, and maintenance of ecosystems, habitats, species, and populations within or outside of their natural environments in order to safeguard the natural conditions for their long term permanence." Because of this definition, a scientific consensus has emerged through the IUCN, the largest network of conservation scientists in the world. There is a consensus that hunters conserve wildlife. The IUCN just recently sent a briefing paper to the European Parliament that was influential in convincing that parliament not to adopt trade bans that would interfere with African hunting programs.
  • 00:14:06
    Now, you will always find scientists on the fringe who are willing to say, "That's not true," who are willing to buck the consensus. Climate change deniers do this all the time. But for those of us who care about wildlife, we should listen to the consensus that hunters are an indispensable part of the conservation ecosystem. And this isn't to say that we're the only part. We need birdwatchers as much as we need duck hunters. This isn't an either/or question. This is about a holistic, sustainable approach to wildlife conservation that Anthony, myself, and the people who HOPE serves are grateful to be a part of because we want to pass down a rich, natural heritage that's filled with elephants, sable, cape buffalo, wolves, grizzly bears, white-tailed deer.
  • 00:15:05
    And for all of those reasons I just said, you should vote in favor of the motion, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife." Thank you.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Catherine Semcer. And that's the motion, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." And here is our first debater to speak against the motion. He is Wayne Pacelle, presidentand CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and author of the book, The Humane Economy.

    [applause]

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Walter Palmer used his wealth to travel halfway around the world to shoot a magnificent lion not for management, not for food, but to add another trophy to his home collection. In pursuit of more and more trophies as we see so many members of the Safari Club International, this globetrotting enterprise of killing the biggest and rarest animals in the world.
  • 00:16:02
    Now, we are outraged as a nation and so many people around the world were outraged about it. And part of that is explained by our growing sensitivity to animals. We're less tolerant of factory farming. We don't like dogfighting and cockfighting. We don't accept horse slaughter for human consumption. There are all sorts of abuses of animals that we once accepted, but now don't meet our moral tests in our society. So there is obviously a very big ethical debate about trophy killing or other forms of hunting, sport hunting, and commercial trapping. I think there are gradations in that world. I think Walter Palmer and the other trophy hunting advocates who travel around the world to kill rare species are one category, and a guy in West Virginia or Pennsylvania who kills a deer to eat meat and fill the freezer is a whole other beast, if you will.
  • 00:17:01
    And we're not going to really get into all the elements of that debate, because tonight we're talking about this motion, that hunters conserve wildlife. And I want to prove to you tonight, with Adam, that that is a really gross overstatement. It's really a bromide.
    It's something that's been repeated decade after decade, and there's very little evidence to support it at this time. You know, most hunters are going out into the woods for, you know, their own reasons. Walter Palmer traveled to Zimbabwe to kill a lion because he wanted to kill a lion and get a trophy. Other people want to go out and be with their friends or family members. Some like to experience nature. Some may do it for meat purposes. But most people are not going out to kill these creatures because they support conservation. If you do that, you can give money to a land trust, or you can support conservation in all sorts of ways -- very tangible ways -- to help creatures who were really facing so many pressures from those of us -- our species -- that is crowding so many of these animals out.
  • 00:18:11
    You know, when you think about the United States, two billion acres is the land mass of this country. 700 million acres is owned by the federal government. Just 2 or 3 percentof that land has been purchased as a consequence of hunting-oriented programs, like Duck Stamps or the federal Pittman-Robertson Act, which sets aside money -- it's a tax on guns and ammunition. Actually, all gun owners and ammunition buyers, not just hunters. There are many more people who have guns in the world than have an interest in hunting. So, it's a tiny percentage of the lands that has been preserved or saved from development. And when you think about the land trusts in this country, the nature conservancy, and hundreds and hundreds of other land trusts, almost none of them have a hunting orientation.
  • 00:19:07
    They're out to save the land. They're out to protect wildlife because they just want it to be, not because they want to use these creatures and shoot them for recreation, for trophies, for other purposes. And you know, when we start to take a proper accounting,
    when we really think about conservation, we think about protecting land, saving threatened and endangered species, preserving ecosystems, let's think about some of the things that are the collateral effects of hunting. Hunters are one of the biggest sources of lead dispersed into the environment. Now we have copper shot, we have bismuth, we have steel. All of these forms of shot can be used by hunters, but we're putting millions of pounds of lead into the environment that's poisoning 15 to 20 million animals a year. Loons and other species -- also, the highly endangered California condor.
  • 00:20:02
    Why are we using lead when we have alternatives? If you're conservation minded,
    you're not going to randomly poison millions of creatures. We have captive hunts that are tolerated by the NRA and the Safari Club International, and other organizations in this field, where exotic animals are stocked in fenced areas and shot for a fee, in an open-air slaughterhouse house sort of arrangement. It's disguised hunting. But all of the national hunting groups support it, they defend it. They oppose our legislative efforts to stop it. And many of these exotic species that they're shooting in the United States have escaped and they're colonizing our habitats. That's the reason we have wild boars in so many parts of the country that are degrading landscapes and are considered a nuisance by federal land managers and state wildlife managers. We have this Safari Club program globally -- you want to get the Africa Big 5 award?
  • 00:21:00
    You shoot a lion, a leopard, a rhino, an elephant, and a cape buffalo. You want to shoot -- you want to get the Cats of the World award? You shoot five of the big cats. I mean,
    these folks are going after some of the rarest animals in the world. Hunting is not -- and the idea of hunting as conservation, you know, it sounds like a wonderful slogan, but what are the details? What are the specific terms? Because they pay hunting licensefees? Because they buy a Duck Stamp? Well, there's a tax on tobacco, and some of that money goes to the healthcare system. Does that make tobacco companies and smokers healthcare advocates? The oil companies are taxed under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and some of that money goes to protect habitat. Do we think of the oil companies and the gas companies as leading wildlife and land protectors? No. It just happens to be that they're taxed because there are costs to the enterprise.
  • 00:22:02
    And much of the money that is used, you know, for those purposes goes to just maintain the hunting program in a quasi-agricultural program to provide more deer and more game animals for hunters to shoot, when the reality is there are dozens and dozens of other species that desperately need our attention. So, hunting is an ethical issue and it's declining in terms of its popularity, but the idea that hunting is conservation, that's not why anybody goes out into the woods when they want to kill an animal. Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Wayne Pacelle. And a reminder of what's going on, we are halfway through the opening round of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. I'm John Donvan. We have four debaters, two teams of two, fighting it out over this motion: “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.” You've heard from the first two debaters, and now on to the third. Debating for the motion “Hunters Conserve Wildlife,” Anthony Licata. He is editor-in-chief of Field & Stream Magazine and editorial director of the Men's Group at the Bonnier Corporation. Ladies and gentlemen, Anthony Licata.
  • 00:23:12
    [applause]

    Anthony Licata:
    Thank you. Thank you. Tonight, we're going to show you how hunting has, in fact,
    protected wildlife and habitats throughout North America through this wonderful North American model. I was really happy to hear Wayne ask for details, because I could have -- I have some. And I would like everyone else's opinion about some of the numbers that he's pooh-poohed to see if they really are all that small. And the fact is, hunting provides a sustainable, repeatable model on which wildlife could be managed and protected. I want to give you some history first. At the turn of the 20th century, habitat loss and market hunting had had our species at the point of extinction. Bears, elk,
    moose, even white-tailed deer.
  • 00:24:00
    Around this time, concerned hunters, including the editors of Field & Stream and New Yorker Theodore Roosevelt, pushed to set game laws, base wildlife management on science, and make it managed by the public. The principles that formed this are called the North American Wildlife Model. It still drives much of what we do for a simple reason. It works. The system is not perfect, but there is no other form of wildlife management that has the results that this model has had. Hunting is at the center of this story. It's a tool for managing wildlife, but it also makes hunters a powerful tool and advocate for wildlife -- supporters of wildlife. But let's talk about numbers, some of those pieces of land and some of those programs that Wayne mentioned. Hunters provide 80 percent of the funding to fish and game wildlife agencies. There's about 37 million hunters in the United States, and every single one of them contributes. All told,
    sportsmen contribute a billion dollars a year to wildlife conservation.
  • 00:25:07
    To me, that's not a small number. These funds come from a variety of ways. The first source of these funds is through hunting licenses. These monies go directly to the state that sold them, and these dollars can only be used for wildlife management and conservation. Big numbers, small numbers -- since 1965, they generated $22 billion.
    Just last year, in 2015, they generated $821 million. Wayne explained Pittman-
    Robertson. This is the excise tax on sales of ammunition. Something to know here is that this law was advocated for, lobbied, supported, by hunters -- voluntarily. It has generated more than 12 billion for state wildlife management and conservation. Of those funds, 62 percent are used to buy, develop, and maintain wildlife habitat.
  • 00:26:05
    Since the Act became law, states have purchased about four million acres of wildlife habitat, an additional 40 million acres are managed under agreements with private landowners. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service credits Pittman-Robertson with rebuilding these populations of these animals and extending the ranges from wild turkey, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, black bear, bobcat, mountain lions. For example, in 1910, there were 20,000 elk in Montana. Now, there's 120,000 -- in large part, thanks to these monies. Mule, deer, all the other ungulates have had similar recoveries. What's that done? It's allowed wolves and mountain lions to make a recovery as well. Right now, money generated by Pittman-Robertson is working to conserve wolves around the Great Lakes and run the wolf conservation program in Oregon.
  • 00:27:01
    Non-game benefits as well. It's not just about hunters having more. Here in New York State there's efforts in the Albany Pine Bush area to protect the endangered Karner BlueButterfly. This is a butterfly so rare that even the loss of a few could be devastating to the population. This program has received significant funds from Pittman-Robertson paid for by hunters. The truth is, most of the budgets for wildlife management, which takes place on some of those federal lands that Wayne mentioned, come from these fees. Eighty percent of Wyoming’s budget comes from that. In Michigan it's 76. In Colorado it's 70. A third component is the federal Duck Stamp. Again, this was an idea made by hunters, lobbied by hunters, supported by hunters. It's generated $800 million in money for wetland conservation since its introduction with 98 cents of every dollar going to purchase wetlands or acquire easements that feed into the national wildlife refuge system that we can all enjoy.
  • 00:28:05
    The Duck Stamp has preserved six and a half million acres of wetlands. Here in New York it's 20 thousand acres. I don't think that's so small. A fourth source of hunter-
    generated income comes from the many nonprofit hunter-run conservation groups.
    These groups are organizations like Ducks Unlimited, the Boone and Crockett Club,
    Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever, and many more. Let's look at Ducks Unlimited as just one example. This group protects wetlands for ducks, but because hunters know that wildlife needs intact, functioning healthy ecosystems to live, it also benefits insects, fish, salamanders, mink, martin, shrews, beavers, all the animals that depend on a healthy wetland. In 2014 and 2015 alone, DU raised $238 million that went to wildlife conservation.
  • 00:29:03
    Eighty-five percent of that money goes directly into waterfowl habitat restoration and acquiring lands. I don't think that's a small number. With the money that is raised, DU has conserved more than 13.5 million acres of wetlands across North America. This doesn't take into account all the volunteer hours that hunters give working on grass roots conservation projects. What's important to note here is that these groups and all this money is all driven by people's love of hunting. They love the sports. They love the animals. They love the places. It's their desire to preserve these species, to preserve these places that drive all these efforts. When you consider these facts, this history, the billions, literally billions of dollars raised by hunters for conservation, the millions of acres preserved, the hundreds of species that have benefited, I think it's clear that hunting plays a very critical role in wildlife conservation, and that's why I hope that you will agree with me tonight and support this proposition.
  • 00:30:15
    Thank you.

    [applause]John Donvan:
    Thank you, Anthony Licata, and that proposition is, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.” And here is our final debater. He will be speaking against the motion. That's Adam Roberts.
    He is CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation. Ladies and gentlemen, Adam Roberts.

    [applause]

    Adam Roberts:
    Thank you very much, John. It's interesting being the fourth speaker, because I have the benefit of hearing the 14 minutes of argumentation presented by the affirmative side of today's debate and I think I'd like to start my comments the same way Anthony started.
    He said something very interesting about hunting. He called it a sustainable repeatable model, which I think is a very interesting phrase, a sustainable, repeatable model.
    Unless you're the bull elephant that's been killed, taken away from the family system and the ecosystem depriving of the local community of ecotourism revenue for generation after generation, that doesn't seem to me to be sustainable.
  • 00:31:13
    [applause]

    And obviously we've heard a lot of different arguments in these 14 minutes and I tried very hard to figure out how I can sum them all up in a simple way for you all in the time that I'm allotted. And I think the way I can best do that is with two words. Two very simple words to describe the entire argument for the affirmative of today's debate.
    Trust us. That is what they're really telling you. Trust us that politically we have the wherewithal in countries around the world to ensure that hunting quotas are set by potentially corrupt governments sustainably to ensure that it's based on the sound scientific evidence in biology to ensure that no animal is ever overhunted. Trust us.
    That law of setting bag limits and hunt seasons are always going to be followed to the letter by every hunter, Walter Palmer excluded.
  • 00:32:03
    Trust us that economically, the revenue that's generated by every hunting license, every fee that's paid, $10,000, $20,000 to hunt a lion in Tanzania is actually going to go back into local communities, back into conservation on the ground where it matters most.
    Trust us and trust us that, as hunters, we are always going to be sportsmen and women who are ethical and do what is right by animals and never overhunt, never take too many. Trust us that the logic of these arguments hold the day. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don't know what your vote was at the beginning of the debate, but at the end of the debate, if you can consider politically, legally, economically, reproductivebiology and logic all dictate that hunters conserve wildlife, then yes, you have to vote in the affirmative. But I think what Wayne and I are showing today is that, that is a folly.
    And we have to take a slightly global view when we look at these things. So let's look at them one at a time politically. We have a regime in Zimbabwe, a very pro-hunting nation run by a dictator named Robert Mugabe whose cronies are taking over land,
    former farmlands, turning them into hunting concessions.
  • 00:33:09
    But those hunting concessions are not just for the lawful sportsmen, the Walter Palmer of the world, and by the way, we really have to stop talking about the separation between the lawful sportsman and the poacher because I think he proved that the line all too often gets blurred. But in a place like Zimbabwe, those same hunting concessions were legal hunters are going with their permit to kill animals, you are having rhinos being poached for their horn, elephants being poached for their ivory, and those products being shipped off to Asia. In Tanzania, one of the bastions of hunting, a strongly pro-hunting nation always saying how our neighbors in Kenya don't have hunting. And look what's happening to the wildlife there. In the Selous ecosystem alone, you have the absolute decimation of lions, the bastion of the country because of overhunting. So, politically, we can see that globally there is no justification for the argument that hunters conserve wildlife. In fact, we see that politically, the deck is stacked against animals.
  • 00:34:05
    Legally, Conservation International has done a study in which they show that you have Vietnamese poachers going in South Africa where each individual can only get one permit to hunt a rhino and they're bringing in people to hunt rhinos with those permits,
    including prostitutes from Thailand to take back the rhino horn because that's not commercial trade, that's a trophy. And they are taking that trophy back and it's finding its way into the black market. Legally, the deck is stacked against animals when we look at trophies. But economically is perhaps the most interesting argument of all because it's the one we hear all too often, that the hunter pays for the privilege of the thrill kill.
    The hunter pays for the privilege of killing animals for sport and, therefore, there is an absolute nexus between that payment of money and what happens on the ground.
    Well, let's look at some facts and, again, this is globally. A new study by CREST out of Washington, D.C., looked at the great bear rainforest in British Columbia and found that looking at ecotourism related to bears and other carnivores versus hunting, for ecotourism, you have 12 times more visitor spending than you do hunting, 11 times more direct revenue going to the government than you do from hunting and, in 2012,
    you have 510 jobs generated because of ecotourism and only 11 because of the hunting industry.
  • 00:35:22
    Look at wolves in Yellowstone. Thirty-five million dollars generated through ecotourism more than four times as much as hunting in the same area. And, lastly, I would leave you with three numbers. Just remember these three numbers, .27 percent, 1.8 percent,
    three percent. Looking at nations in Africa that have both ecotourism and hunting --
    and hunting, the type of big five hunting that Wayne discussed, in no nation that has that condition is more than .27, about a quarter percent of the GDP, generated from hunting revenue. Of all the tourism revenue combined, only 1.8 percent is generated from hunting.
  • 00:36:03
    Now, I'm not mathematician, but that says to me that more than 98 percent is generated by ecotourism, a drastically different sum. And when Catherine talks about needing to think about the people on the ground in Africa, I'd say, "If you really want to help the people on the ground in Africa, you help them with sustainable ecotourism models, not hunting models." And, lastly, three percent. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and the hunting industry itself has noted that only three percent of hunting revenue actually makes it back to the local communities. The rest of it is held in government coffers and foreign operators. Remember, it's not the people on the ground in Tanzania or Zambia that are running these ecotourism operations --
    these hunting operations, it's foreign operations. And then biology -- we know that in 1980, there were estimated to be 78,500 lions left in Africa. Today, there are fewer than 20,000. And this is a species that, for those same three decades, were hunted.
    American trophy hunters taking more than 500 lions on average, year after year, after year.
  • 00:37:04
    I encourage you -- since we've already talked about the IUCN, to go back on your computer. Look up the IUCN red list, and look at all the species that are listed as critically endangered, endangered, threatened, near threatened, and see how many of them have, as one of the factors threatening those species' survival overhunting. What we see time, after time, after time is that politically, legally, economically, biologically,
    and logically, the argument fails. Hunters overall globally do not conserve wildlife. And if we really care about both people and wildlife, we do need to generate sustainable models for the long term, and that's keeping animals alive, not dead. Thank you very much.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Adam Roberts. And that concludes Round 1 of this Intelligence Squared U.S.
    debate, where our motion is “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.”[applause]

    And now we move on to Round 2.
  • 00:37:58
    In Round 2, the debaters address one another directly, and they also take questions from me and from you in our live audience. Our motion is “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.”
    The team arguing for the motion, Catherine Semcer and Anthony Licata, have argued that their proposition is backed by a scientific consensus, that in fact hunters do conserve wildlife. They look at the history, early 20th century, a time when many animal populations in the United States were on the threat of extinction. And because of -- they say -- of hunter generated initiatives, and laws, and financing, many, many species -- moose, elk, bear, beaver, wild turkey -- made a comeback. They say that that is still the system today that is superior to any other. They also argue that it works in Africa. And speaking of Africa, they talk about the fact that ecotourism is not sufficient to raise the funds to preserve wildlife. Hunters will go places, they say, that photo tourists never will. The team arguing against the motion, Wayne Pacelle and Adam Roberts, talk about this proposition --“Hunters Conserve Wildlife” -- as a gross overstatement and a folly.
  • 00:39:05
    They doubt the motives of hunters, who claim to be conserving wildlife as their reason for going out there. They say hunters are killing for many, many other reasons and that a minority, at most, have the concerns -- the welfare of wildlife in mind. They say that the deck is stacked against animals legally, economically, logically, and in many other ways, but they argue that ecotourism is a valid and viable solution for preserving wildlife, conserving wildlife, and that hunting just makes no sense in any way for them. I want to go to the team arguing against the motion. Your opponents, who are arguing that hunters conserve wildlife, as I just mentioned -- they make this historical argument that back in the early 20th century, there were, in this country, the United States, a number of species who were severely threatened by essentially commercial hunting at that time, and that it was the Teddy Roosevelts and the Boone and Crockett Club, and those organizations, that fought to preserve laws. Perhaps, as you say, their motives were that they wanted to kill more animals, they wanted those animals to be there.
  • 00:40:04
    But nevertheless, they succeeded in bringing those populations back. What's your response to that -- Wayne Pacelle?

    Wayne Pacelle:Well, there's no question that there were robust efforts by sportsmen to stop the era of market hunting and the slaughter of animals. That's a matter of historical record. They weren't the only ones who advocated for it. But the problem with that thinking is that they're having to go back to 1900 to support their argument today. You know, what Teddy Roosevelt did in 1890 or what Aldo Leopold did in 1920 is a very interesting historical perspective, but we're talking about an active debate today. We're talking about so many species on the cusp of extinction. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of species. When I'm in Congress and we're arguing for land protection, when we're advocating for the Endangered Species Act, I can assure you that the NRA is not by our side, nor is the Safari Club, nor is the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.
  • 00:41:02
    They're typically on the other side. The big debates that we have in the United States over legitimate conservation, protecting public lands, preserving endangered species,
    maintaining healthy ecosystems with the full range of species in it -- these guys are on the other side. They are anti-conservationists. There are no big debates in the Congress that you can really describe as central to environmental and ecological protection,
    where the professional hunting lobbyists are with us. They're against us on all these issues.

    John Donvan:
    But --

    Wayne Pacelle:
    So, well, just to close, though, it's great to talk about Teddy Roosevelt. But what about now?

    John Donvan:
    Okay? What about now, Adam Licata? Your opponent just said that the argument you made is essentially out of date.

    Anthony Licata:
    What about now? Right now is --

    John Donvan:
    Okay. If you just come a little bit closer --

    Anthony Licata:
    Yeah.

    John Donvan:
    Thanks.Anthony Licata:
    Absolutely. As I mentioned, right now, monies raised by hunters are working to -- on the wolf conservation programs in Oregon.
  • 00:41:59
    That's happening right now. Every year, 80 percent of the wildlife -- state wildlife managers -- which, they are the ones on the ground, the biologists who have to improve habitat and manage our wildlife population -- 80 percent of those funds come from hunters. That's happening right now. Every year hunters contribute $1 billion to those figures and facts in different ways that I had mentioned. That's happening right now.
    It's an ongoing process. Ducks Unlimited, they -- the numbers I cited happened last year. The truth is, populations are up. They absolutely are. But because we work at it.
    It's not stable. I mean, it's something that always needs work, especially --

    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Anthony Licata:
    -- if land is being developed. We always need to protect healthy habitat for wildlife, and that is what hunters always advocate for.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. So, Adam Roberts, your opponent is saying that the dynamic they're talking about is not out of date, that in fact, hunters are still -- They're talking about the money they pony up, a billion dollars a year. Their argument also talked about, again, wolf restoration, acreage that's being set aside.
  • 00:43:09
    So, they are saying there's a lot going on now, that their model is very effective. Now,
    what's your response to that?

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, I think it's very effective if you look at it in a very small microcosm. It's not sustainable. And I like history, so let's go back a hundred years, right? So, in the 1880s,
    you had 11,000 black bears in Florida, but they were literally hunted to the brink of extinction over the next century, to the point where there are only a few hundred of them left. So, what happened after hunters put this onslaught against the species?
    Hunting was banned in 1994 in Florida. The species was protected. What happened when the protection came into effect? The species started to rebound to the point where a decade later, you had more than 3,000 animals. The only problem is, when you have this kind of rebound, the hunting community, because they are so focused on wanting to kill, reopened the hunt. They pushed to have the Game Commission reopenthe hunt. They sold more licenses -- 3,778 of them -- than there were estimated black bear population in the state.
  • 00:44:06
    And the hunting season had to be closed after two days because the quota was filled.
    So, the problem of this concept is yo-yo conservation. We want wolves to recover in the Great Lakes region, only so that we can hunt them back again. Bears to recover in Florida, only so we can hunt them back again.

    John Donvan:
    Right. It --

    Adam Roberts:
    It's not a sustainable model.

    John Donvan:
    Is that a fair assessment of the position, Catherine Semcer, would you say?

    Catherine Semcer:
    I think absolutely not, and I think you're being really disingenuous, Adam. I mean,
    you're obfuscating market hunting, people killing predators because they're competing with livestock, with sportsmen. And you know and I know that they are not same thing.

    John Donvan:
    Can you elucidate that a little bit further?

    [applause]

    Because the audience is not quite up to speed on what you're talking about. So, what is --

    Catherine Semcer:
    I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you over the applause.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:
    You enjoyed that moment, huh?

    [laughter]

    Can you elucidate a little bit about what you're talking about? You used some terms of art, and we'd like to know what you mean by that.Catherine Semcer:
    Sure. Sportsmen are people like Anthony and myself. Sportswomen.
  • 00:45:04
    We are the people who hunt legally. We pay into the system. We purchase licenses.
    We do boots on the ground conservation projects. The cause of lion decline is not sportsmen, and you know this. The cause of lion decline is herdsmen killing lions because they are competing with their livestock. That is in every single document, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the IUCN.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    But --

    Catherine Semcer:
    No, Wayne. Let me finish. Do not interrupt me.

    [laughter]

    John Donvan:
    Well, let me just say -- let me -- wait a minute --

    Catherine Semcer:
    That's John’s job.

    John Donvan:
    No, no. But a little pushback interruption is okay, and not to be taken as offensive. And I'll sort it out when it happens. So, I want to hear what he has to say, and then you come back --

    Catherine Semcer:
    Sure.

    John Donvan:
    But I don't want there to be -- this to be so incredibly civil that I have to help people when they speak. So, you can push a little bit. If it gets out of hand, I'll pull it back in.

    Adam Roberts:
    I'm glad Wayne jumped in first.

    [laughter]

    Wayne Pacelle:Okay. So, let me just say, you know, this wolf thing is -- I mean, I'm a little bit astonished at Anthony's argument.
  • 00:46:07
    Wherever wolves are in the United States, and there are only 5,000 or so in the lower 48 -- the commercial trappers and the trophy hunters are after them. We shut down –

    [applause]

    -- we shut down the wolf trophy hunting program in the Great Lakes region under federal court. The courts ruled that the delisting of the animals was unwarranted. They are still threatened or endangered. No one is hunting these animals for conservation.

    John Donvan:
    But --

    Wayne Pacelle:
    No one --

    John Donvan:
    But --

    Wayne Pacelle:
    -- is hunting them for food. They're killing -- John, they're --

    John Donvan:
    But you're talking about motive as opposed to effect.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Right.

    John Donvan:
    And your opponent just came up with a really interesting argument, that in Africa, the collapse of the lion population is not the result of hunters killing some lions, but that it's actually the interaction of lions with the locals. And I'd like you to respond to that.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    That view is invalidated by the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just listed them as threatened or endangered and when they wrote the rulemaking they said that trophy hunting was one of the causative factors in the decline.
  • 00:47:13
    Now there are multiple explanations for the decline of lions. Certainly herdsman,
    habitat loss, but when you're killing, Adam said it was 500 a year, the last year that it happened was 720 lions out of 20,000 that are surviving. How is that not going to have an effect?

    John Donvan:
    Let that question stand and be answered by your opponents. That's a great question.
    How is that not going to have an effect, Anthony Licata?

    Anthony Licata:
    Well, to get back to wolves for a minute, –wolves are reintroduced --

    John Donvan:
    Wait. I want an answer to that question. Then we'll come back. You both want to talk wolves, but I want to --

    [applause]

    How is killing 720 lions out of 20,000 not going to have an effect on the population is the question.

    Catherine Semcer:
    I think it's really simple.

    John Donvan:
    And can you come a little closer to your mic?

    Catherine Semcer:
    Yeah. I'm sorry. What the Fish and Wildlife Service has also found is that there are instances in which hunting can benefit lion populations, and it's because we tend to get obsessed on the 1 percent, the Cecil.
  • 00:48:08
    We really need from a conservation focus to be focused on the 99 percent. The money raised by killing one old male lion who's probably starting to prey on cattle, possibly starting to prey on people because he's no longer able to catch the gazelle. That money then gets funneled back into protecting the 99 percent of the lion population.
    Conservation is a resource --

    John Donvan:
    Is that the lion that would be targeted ?

    Catherine Semcer:That is the lion that is generally targeted, because these professional hunters, these guys, these outfitters, they live with these animals. They live in these communities.
    They talk to the tribal chief who says that one's a problem over there.

    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Catherine Semcer:
    That lion if not killed by a hunter, who is willing to pay money into the conservation system, will be killed by the local villagers.
  • 00:49:04
    John Donvan:
    Okay. Let's take that scenario to your opponents and we'll stay on lions for a little bit longer and then we'll move onto wolves.

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, if I have to talk about lions, I shall. Yeah. So, listen. So here's the way it goes with the lions, right? We know for certain how many lion trophies are being imported into America. We also know for certain based on the permitting how many are going into the EU. It is undeniable that there is a negative conservation impact by trophy hunters on the lion population, and that's what we're here to discuss, not whether or not --

    John Donvan:
    Why is it undeniable? I mean, it sounds like you're begging to question your claim --
    you're making that assertion. Why is that undeniable?

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, because we can see the decline over the past 35 years when there has been trophy hunting for the species. That's not to say --

    John Donvan:
    A direct correlation.

    Adam Roberts:
    A direct correlation. Now that's not to say, to Catherine's point, that there aren't other factors. But I would challenge her seriously to tell me how many retaliatory killings by livestock owners happen every year. We have no clue how often that happens. So we're not saying that trophy hunting is the only negative impact on lions, but if we're here to decide whether hunters conserve wildlife and there is hunting of lions in Africa and there is this incredible perilous decline of the species toward extinction, the answer has to be no. Hunters are not conserving lions in Africa.
  • 00:50:11
    If they were, these other factors would potentially be mitigated by the money that's generated by the trophy hunters, which for lions can be $70,000. Now if you ask Craig Packer, the imminent lion biologist, what it would take to actually make a measurable impact, he says not 50,000, not 70,000, every lion hunt needs to cost $1 million if you want to have an impact.

    John Donvan:
    Would you like to respond, Anthony, or do you want to stay with it, Catherine?

    Catherine Semcer:
    I think you could put that up at auction at any number of the sportsmen's conventions and people would pay it.

    John Donvan:
    So, but you are essentially saying that the profit -- in terms of trophy hunting -- the profit motive is essential to the whole system working.

    Catherine Semcer:
    Conservation does not come for free. It is a very capital intensive effort. You know,
    something we talked a little bit about photo tourism and ecotourism and that's great.
    We need that, too, but the reality is in Africa it's not possible everywhere.
  • 00:51:07
    John Donvan:
    Can we hold up? Because I do want to explore your opponents’ argument that there are other ways to -- for people who are sincere about conservation to contribute to conservation other than hunting. I want to get to that, but both your sides wanted to talk about wolves and Wayne, I cut you off, so you go and we're going to bring it back.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Thank you. I did want to say just about the lions that --

    [laughter]

    While we're on the subject. Botswana just outlawed trophy hunting. There are more lions in Botswana than any other country in Africa. They outlawed all trophy hunting of these animals and the wildlife authorities there say we can make much more money by keeping the living capital there. You can watch a lion a hundred times. You can watch a lion 500 times. You can monetize that each time, aggregating more dollars for the economy for rural communities, for the government. You can shoot the animal only once.
  • 00:52:02
    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    The arithmetic is so plain to me.

    John Donvan:
    So we're going to now go into the ecotourism. We'll come back to wolves later because you're now into the topic.

    [laughter]

    When you're talking about watching lions, you're talking about drawing tourists to come see animals, photo safaris, et cetera. Your opponents are very skeptical that there is enough money in that to come up with the kinds of funding that would come close to what hunters are coming up with. So go ahead more with that, Wayne, and then let your opponents respond.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    The numbers are undeniable. I mean, how many people are interested in trophy hunting? A few tens of thousands? They're the ones who are aging. They're the declining numbers, not those old lions.

    [applause]

    And how many millions of us glory in seeing elephants and lions and consider it the experience of a lifetime to see them and to take a picture of them? That's fine. Leave them there. We want them to stay alive because they're wonderful creatures. So just look at the underlying numbers. If you have people paying for wildlife watching concessions and you have millions doing it, then you have just the few thousand people who want to shoot these animals and run away with their heads and their hides.
  • 00:53:09
    I mean, it's so clear. Look at the numbers. Adam quoted many of the numbers. The trophy hunting concessions in Africa are miniscule compared to wildlife watching which is why Botswana and Kenya and Rwanda have banned all trophy hunting.

    John Donvan:
    Let's take it to Catherine.[applause]

    Or, Adam, would you like to -- Adam, we haven't heard from you in a couple of minutes and I want to give you a chance to jump in if you'd like to respond or I'll pass it to Catherine since –

    Anthony Licata:
    Are we back to wolves or are we talking about --

    John Donvan:
    No, we're going to talk about this notion of whether ecotourism can take up the slack if hunting were to be banned completely.

    Anthony Licata:
    I don't think it can, first of all, but it doesn't have to be an either/or thing, especially when you're talking --

    John Donvan:
    But your opponents want it to be an either/or thing. That's why I bring it to you.

    Anthony Licata:
    Yeah. It doesn't need to be and it shouldn't be an either/or thing, especially when you're talking about North America. When you're talking about North America where the wildlife populations are high and sustainable and, by the way, it's not, "Trust us." It's not, "Trust hunters." We don't set them.
  • 00:54:05
    I don't think you should trust anybody, except the biologists and the professionals who study and develop the populations. When those populations are healthy and stable,
    there is plenty for hunting, wildlife watching, all kinds of activity. The problem, really, is habitat. It's not if certain animals are hunted, you're not going to see them at all in North America. Anybody have any trouble seeing white-tailed deer or wild turkey around when you get out of the city? That's not the case at all. You can do both. What causes problems is habitat loss.

    John Donvan:
    And what about in the African scenario, Catherine?

    Catherine Semcer:
    I mean, I agree with Wayne and Adam. The numbers are undeniable. You know, there was a study released by the World Wildlife Fund last year that showed that 74 percent of the wildlife conservancies in Namibia, including the ones that incorporated phototourism into their conservation programs, 74 percent would not be economically viable if they were to take the trophy hunting revenue out of their program.
  • 00:55:07
    Wayne Pacelle:
    May I?

    Catherine Semcer:
    No.

    John Donvan:

    In this case, I'm on her side.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    I thought you were pausing.

    John Donvan:
    No, I think she's -- that was a comma.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Okay.

    Catherine Semcer:
    We also have to look at where the money goes to. You know in Tanzania, the wildlife division, receives almost nine times as much funding from hunting as it does from photo tourism. In Zimbabwe, their wildlife --

    John Donvan:
    Why is that? I mean, what are the facts on the ground that dictate that?

    Catherine Semcer:
    Because of the way that their laws are structured. Now, that's not to say that maybe those laws shouldn't change, but that's up to the people of Tanzania. It's not up to Adam, it's not up to Wayne, it's not up to me. That's not up to anyone in this room. It's up to the people of Tanzania. In Zimbabwe, between 60 and 90 percent of the revenue that their wildlife division depends on comes from hunting.
  • 00:56:00
    Wayne Pacelle:
    Well, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service --Catherine Semcer:
    I'm just going to -- one more point and then I'll let you speak.

    John Donvan:
    No, no, I'll let him speak.

    Catherine Semcer:
    Thank you.

    [laughter]

    You know, I'll just close by saying, you know, the United Nations World Tourism Organization released a study last year, and what they found was 50 percent of the photo tourists operations do not contribute a single penny to anti-poaching operations.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, now I'm --

    Catherine Semcer:
    That is abysmal.

    John Donvan:
    I'm not only going to let you speak. I gave them two speaking turns in a row, so you have two speaking turns in a row.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Okay, thank you. So Catherine keeps invoking Zimbabwe which is run by a horrible dictator named Robert Mugabe. It's a corrupt country. They are selling wildlife off to whomever wants to buy it. And the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the leading wildlife authority in the United States, banned elephant trophy imports into the United States for a reason, for conservation lines of reasons.
  • 00:57:00
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has placed the lion on the threatened and endangered list for conservation reasons. I don't know why we keep going back to Zimbabwe here, but I would like to turn the question back to Catherine or Anthony. If one of your enthusiasts within the world of trophy hunting wanted to trophy hunt a whale, you know, if they wanted to shoot a whale because they were rare, because they were big, because they were beautiful -- would that be acceptable, if they paid a million dollars for it? Maybe some of that money would go back to protect the tiny little piece of ocean space. Would it be okay to kill a whale?

    [applause]Anthony Licata:
    As far as I know, biologists have determined that whales cannot be hunted, and it's not a legal hunting activity. It is not something that our audience is interested in doing. It's not something you can do if you follow the biology and the science. Legal hunting is about following the parameters that professional wildlife biologists set, and working as to be part of that ecosystem --

    John Donvan:
    You're --

    Anthony Licata:
    And I also think that -- this is something really important.
  • 00:58:12
    Let me just say -- I think something has been missing from this debate -- is the fact that hunters -- people, human hunters are natural predators of many game animals. We've always been. Hunters have evolved. Humans have evolved as hunters, and the animals have evolved with us. Hunting animals is part of a long, acceptable part of the ecosystem, of the natural circle of life. And as long as it's done in a way that is respectful, that benefits not one animal of that species, but the entire species, as a way that lifts up the entire ecosystem, as a way that's done holistic, and to make the world and the habitat stronger and better and improve habitats -- I think that's a perfectly acceptable thing.
  • 00:59:03
    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    [applause]

    You two still have a double-turn coming, which -- you gave away Wayne by asking a question here but --

    Anthony Licata:
    I'm not going to hunt a whale.

    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, so let me say --John Donvan:
    Adam Roberts.

    Adam Roberts:
    -- two things. One is -- and two things about Anthony's answer, which I find really interesting. There would be someone who would pay to hunt a blue whale, to hunt a fin whale. There would be someone who would pay for that privilege, but it's not in the best interests of the conservation of whales, which have been depleted by overhunting for centuries, to have that happen. And that's what Anthony just admitted. It's been decided by the right biologists in the right place that that's not good for conservation,
    much like the U.S. Department of the Interior has determined it's not in the best conservation interests of the African lion to continue to have unfettered killing by American trophy hunters. Hunters are not contributing to the conservation of the lion.
    I think Wayne made an excellent point about the elephant imports, and we keep talking again about Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It's remarkable that we are. In Tanzania and Zimbabwe, those are the two countries that the Department of the Interior said "You cannot bring in trophies from an elephant kill because there is no sound management in those two countries to ensure the long-term viability of those species.”
  • 01:00:14
    So what we see time, after time, after time is the negative conservation impact of hunting -- whether it's lions, or elephants, or any number of other species -- and the need for the government agencies filled with these smart biologists, to do something about it. What Wayne and I say is, "Why wait until it's too late? Why wait until wolves are depleted and bears are depleted, and lions and elephants are depleted?” Let's take a precautionary approach and ensure that hunters do not contribute to the decline of these species, rather than have this yo-yo conservation, where we allow them to recover and then hunt them back to the verge of extinction once again.


    John Donvan:
    You mentioned wolves. And --

    Adam Roberts:
    Yeah. Thank you.

    [applause]


    John Donvan:
    Wayne Pacelle.Wayne Pacelle:
    It was animal protection groups and conservation groups that fought to list the wolf as endangered after they were persecuted for decades.
  • 01:01:02
    And now, wherever wolves have kind of snuck back -- and their numbers are in the hundreds or in the low thousands -- the trophy hunting community and the trapping community wants to kill them. And why? Of course they want the trophies. But also,
    they view the wolves as competitors. When wolves eat deer, some hunters think that is one hunting license lost to the state or one hunting opportunity lost to the state. In Alaska, they do aerial gunning of wolves. You know, we have commercial trapping of wolves. Trophy hunting. Again, nobody eats these animals. The only reason it's done is for ego and for trophies. No other purpose for it. And the numbers, while terrible for those wolves, the number of licenses and the total amount of dollars generated by that hunting is absolutely minimal for conservation. There's no possible contribution to any meaningful conservation program. And we have wildlife scientists after wildlife scientists telling us about the very important salutary effect of wolves within ecosystem,
    in maintaining deer populations, and beaver populations, and maintaining the ecological balance of these ecosystems.
  • 01:02:17
    Why would we be killing the top predators who are inedible?


    John Donvan:
    Let's let Anthony Licata respond.

    [applause]

    Anthony, hang on just a second. After Anthony, I'm going to questions and answers from you in our audience. I just want to say, the way it will work is you raise your hand.
    I call on you. A microphone will be brought to you. Please wait for the microphone. I would like you to stand up, tell us your name, ask a very, very short question, and get them debating even more deeply on the topic. Go ahead, Anthony Licata.

    Anthony Licata:
    Sure. A couple things I'd like to clear up first. The commercial trapping of wolves and shooting wolves from planes -- we're not talking about commercial activities here.
    That's not what we're here to discuss. We're talking about regulated sport hunting.
    That's what we're talking about, not commercial activities. And when you're talkingabout wolves, again, the funds from hunters were instrumental in reducing the wolves to the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
  • 01:03:10
    And since wolves have been listed -- and they've been hunted -- the numbers have continued to go up. The wolf numbers have not gone down. I'm in agreement with Adam. No one -- no hunter wants numbers to come up and then they crash again, and they wipe them all out. That's not what's wiped these animals out in the first place. It was unregulated market hunting, commercial hunting, loss of habitat. We want the numbers to continue to grow. The numbers of wolves have continued to grow in the Yellowstone ecosystems, despite being hunted. They've expanded their range. They're in Idaho, Utah, Washington, Oregon. The important point here is that hunters are the ones helping manage those populations. And why do the biologists want to limit the wolf populations? It's not hunters, it's other activities. It's other people. It's ranchers,
    frankly. Ranchers will only tolerate so many wolves, because they eat livestock.
  • 01:04:07
    And so, the state has decided that that's what they have to do, and so, they hire commercial shooters to trap those wolves and to shoot those wolves. The states. I would love wolves to expand their range, but the truth is, we don't live in a country that was like it was 100 years ago. There's not going to be wolves here in New York -- as much as many of us would maybe want them -- it’s not going to happen. People won't support it. Livestock won't support it. Farmers won't support it. It won't happen. And the habitat is not there. It's too fragmented.

    John Donvan:
    All right. Let's go to some audience questions, please. And again, if you'll raise your hand. Right down in front, sir. A mic is going to come down your right-hand side. If you could stand up and tell us your name.

    John Donvan:
    The question takes under 30 seconds and the clock starts now.

    Male Speaker:
    I'm Brian Gates, but I'm very involved with lion conservation for the last 15 years. I got kind of upset when I heard you say that about Cecil, the old lion. I knew that lion. That lion brought in millions of dollars into Zimbabwe for --

    John Donvan:
    Sir, I need you to ask a question.
  • 01:05:10
    Male Speaker:
    Well --

    John Donvan:
    Not debate them, but ask a question that gets them to debate.

    Male Speaker:
    Well, how come you think that that lion was over the hill when he was bringing in so much money for conservation?

    John Donvan:
    Okay. No, that's a good question. Let's take it to Catherine Semcer.

    Catherine Semcer:
    Because, as a conservationist, given the state that are in right now, I can't focus on one lion. I have to focus on the whole population. And we can invest tons of energy and resources into mourning Cecil. That's not going to bring him back and it's not going to do anything to conserve the lions of Southern Africa.

    [applause]

    Male Speaker:
    13 other lions have been killed illegally --

    John Donvan:
    Sir if you're going to do that, at least hold the microphone.

    [laughter]

    No. I want to hear what your pushback was, but we couldn't hear you.
  • 01:06:06
    But just make it brief, because I think you might know what you're talking about, so --

    Male Speaker:
    I'd just like to advise you that if the hunters are so concerned about lion conservation,
    there were 13 other lions killed illegally that were wearing collars in Hwange National Park. And the social media never picked up on that.

    John Donvan:
    But this team is not arguing for illegal killing of animals.Catherine Semcer:
    Yeah.

    John Donvan:
    They're not at all justifying that. Okay. Thanks very much. I want to go ahead, and then I'm going to let your opponents have a shot at this.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    You know, I really think --

    Catherine Semcer:
    And it's something I would --

    [speaking simultaneously]

    Catherine Semcer:
    Let Wayne go.

    John Donvan:
    You want Wayne to go first? Okay.

    Catherine Semcer:
    And then -- but then let me go.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Well, you know, I'm always amused by this argument. You know, whenever you do something to hurt an animal you try to attach some sort of social benefit or you try to rationalize it.
  • 01:06:59
    The fact that these are old animals, I mean, this is crazy. Who's out there aging the animal? And who's assessing and what's a post-reproductive lion anyway? I mean,
    they're able to have reproductive activity until a ripe healthy old age. None of the researchers thought that this was a post-reproductive animal that Walter Palmer shot.
    And the fact is, the people are doing it as a head-hunting exercise.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. You've made that point. I want to let Catherine respond to the --

    [applause]

    Catherine Semcer:
    I have a two-part --John Donvan:
    Can you come closer to your mic?

    Catherine Semcer:
    Yeah. I have a two-pronged respond to the question of who's out there doing it. If we look at the wildlife agencies of African nations, if we look at the wildlife agencies of all of the states in the United States, if we look at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all agencies that support hunting and recognize its value to conservation, these agencies are the world's greatest brain trust of wildlife biologists. They have more wildlife biologists on staff than Adam's group, than Wayne's group, than my group, than work at Field and Stream.
  • 01:08:04
    These people know what they're doing and we're not saying trust us. We're saying trust them. The other point I wanted to make about Cecil is what didn't get caught up in the media and particularly the social media, was that Cecil was part of a study that was funded by hunters. The research study that Cecil was part of was funded in part by Dallas Safari Club, which is a conservation organization based out of Texas whose membership is primarily hunters.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you. Another question. Ma'am. Right there.

    Female Speaker:
    Joyce Friedman. I'd like to know very literally the word conserve means save. How is killing a living being or members of that population saving them? It seems pretty basic.
    How is killing saving?

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Adam. Sorry. Anthony.

    Anthony Licata:
    I think you answered it in your question. It's about the population.
  • 01:09:03
    It's not about the individual animal. That's what conservation is. It's to build up a healthy balanced ecosystem full of biological diversity and plants, and one animal will not change that. The fact is, animals die all the time. We die all the time. There's natural predator and prey cycles. What matters is the overall biological health and thesustaining of the levels of the population. If the population goes down, you're right.
    That's not conserving it. The goal is for the population to go up.

    John Donvan:
    Adam Roberts.

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, with due respect, that's completely wrong. One animal --

    [laughter]

    [applause]

    One animal does make a difference. That animal makes a difference to the family system. That animal makes a difference to the ecosystem. In the case of lions we talk about post-reproductive males. All these animals over six years old. The bottom line is the one word that they haven't used is infanticide, when you kill the male of the pride another male comes in and that male will kill the infants in order to stake his territory.
  • 01:10:05
    That is doing damage to the entire population, not just the one animal that the trophy hunter took. That is a danger to the family system.

    [applause]

    And second of all, with the ecosystem, let's not forget that my friend and conservationist Ian Redmond talks about gorillas and elephants as the architects of the forest, because they engage in sea dispersal and without them the ecosystem is damaged. So when the trophy hunter kills the elephant there is an impact on the ecosystem. Every time we kill one animal there is a threat, not just to that individual,
    but to the family system and the ecosystem as well.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    It's a very cogent point. I want to hear how your opponents respond to it, particularly the notion that if you kill a male lion that another male is going to come in and kill the cubs and therefore you've destroyed a family, that there's a very, very profound ripple effect. Do you concede that point?

    Catherine Semcer:
    It certainly does happen, but again, we need to listen to the scientists. You know, we are listening to the greatest brain trust of wildlife biologists on the planet.
  • 01:11:05
    They have concluded that yes that will happen, and maybe that is a moral issue and that is an ethical issue and we can debate that in another forum, but what those scientists have determined is that that is not a conservation issue.

    John Donvan:
    Let me take it to --

    Catherine Semcer:
    It's not something that affects the overall population.

    John Donvan:
    Let me take it to your opponents that it's not a conservation, it's a moral and ethical issue but in larger picture of conservation, that it’s not a determinant factor.

    Adam Roberts:
    Well, I would reject the notion that we have only one metric in assessing these issues.
    In general, conservation is about protecting species –

    John Donvan:
    Our motion is –

    Adam Roberts:
    I understand, but I think she may -- she said this may be a moral issue, but as a conservation issue, when you deplete the population, you take out one animal from a small population and then you have the ripple effect of the social consequences of another animal coming in. Of course it has a conservation effect.
  • 01:11:58
    But this whole notion of somehow they're relying on the scientists, the Fish and Wildlife Service stopped what they're doing. So I don't understand this reliance on those scientists when we're talking about lions and we're talking about elephants in Zimbabwe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said, "Don't do it." But let me just say on the whole science issue, you know, the tobacco issue had scientists who defended smoking.

    [applause]

    I mean, you know, as Donald Trump says, "I love scientists."

    [laughter]But the fact is that you can have great scientists and you can have not-so-great scientists. You can have captured scientists and you can have independent scientists.
    And I think that those people who work for the industry that of that mindset of trophy hunting, they're going to defend that. But lots of independent scientists say quite the contrary, that there is a collateral, adverse effect.

    John Donvan:
    Your opposite has said in her very opening statement that the broad scientific consensus is actually on their side. Yes, you can cherry pick as in the global warming debate. You can cherry pick people to fight the consensus. I think they're more or less saying that, that's what you're doing, but that they have -- they have more scientists than you have.
  • 01:13:07
    Adam Roberts:
    But they don't because if we're talking about elephants and we're talking about if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stopped trophy imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe recently, the two countries that we're talking about. They're stopping just about all of the lion killing. Those are the scientists. Who are the other scientists you're talking about? Those are the people.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    And can I just add to that quickly?

    John Donvan:
    Sure, very quickly.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    You know, I'm no scientists, so when I bring up these issues, it's based on the science that I've been informed of and it's the scientists like Craig Packer, who is an eminent lion biologist, who talk about infanticide in lion prides. That's not a moral issue for me,
    though it's grotesque. It's a scientific and conservation issue.

    John Donvan:
    Okay, let me just let Catherine respond. And in our debates, it often comes up that one side has science and the other side had science and we sort of can't get anywhere because we don't have the scientists here.

    [laughter]

    But I do want to take one more round of Catherine responding to your opponents basically saying that the scientists have switched their position on it.Catherine Semcer:
    Not on the broad question of, "Do hunters conserve wildlife?"
  • 01:14:06
    The International Union of the Conservation of Nature just sent a briefing paper to the European Parliament listing how hunters conserve wildlife. And we've covered a lot of these topics here tonight. The IUCN is the largest network on the planet of independent conservation scientists. They agree with Anthony and I. Now, scientists might disagree on very specific things, whether to hunt lions or not to hunt lions. On the elephant question, I think it's important to note that the Fish and Wildlife Service is actually waiting for a report from Zimbabwe and if they like what's in that report, they may reopen the importation of elephant trophies. As far as the lions go, there is a debate right now within the agency about what's called enhancement permits. It's range nations who are the stewards of these lions, not us, but the range nations in Africa. If the range nations in Africa can show that the hunting of lions will help the overall population, the Fish and Wildlife Service may very well let some of those imports in.
  • 01:15:11
    John Donvan:
    We have a question from Twitter that's just been shared with me and the question is,
    "Are there nonlethal ways to control wildlife population?"
    So we're not asking broadly, "Are there nonlethal ways to conserve?" But are there nonlethal ways to keep the population from getting too large?

    John Donvan:
    Wayne Pacelle.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Well, ecosystems are self-sustaining. I mean, there are natural decimating factors that limit the growth of populations. There are density dependent species where lack of access to food or space or mates -- Look at national parks in the United States. Every national park in the U.S., with the exception of one, forbids trophy hunting and forbids sport hunting entirely. So we're managing those populations through Mother Nature who does it quite well and has done so for eons.

    [applause]

    And if you look at the range of national parks from Arcadia in Maine to Everglades in Florida to Yellowstone, to Yosemite and hundreds of units of the NPS, all of the national parks are not hunted.
  • 01:16:14
    That should tell us all we need to know about the maintenance of the systems. Now,
    there may be issues with deer locally in Middle Atlantic states where there's not a lot of winter kill, but that's not a conservation issue. That is an entirely different issue about whether you can sustainably hunt those animals year after year. But if we're talking about conservation and protecting rare species and maintaining the integrity of ecosystems, that's different question.

    John Donvan:
    All right. Let me just take the question to the other side. Are there nonlethal ways to control populations?

    Anthony Licata:
    There has been no proven way for humans, a nonlethal way, to control populations that is cost-effective, birth control, contraceptives, that sort of thing. We don't live in one giant national park. Not everything has that intact ecosystem.
  • 01:17:05
    The fact is, there's a lot of people in this world, and it's growing every day. This habitat is cut up by roads. The habitat won't support predators. It cannot just be left to its own. It absolutely cannot. So, hunters have always been a part of that. We are a natural predator. We are a natural part of that ecosystem and always have been, for the history of both humans and animals. And when it's done in the right way, it's an absolutely effective and valid way to protect wildlife.

    John Donvan:
    I want to remind you that we are in the question and answers section of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. I'm John Donvan, your moderator. We have four debaters, two teams of two, debating this motion: “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.”

    Right down in the front here, the white jacket. Fourth row.

    Female Speaker:
    Hi. Kate Nowak from the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program.
  • 01:18:02
    I'm wondering why the hunting sector has resisted independent auditing, trophy inspections, and conservation certification, such as that suggested by scientists like Craig Packer, which would obviously improve your transparency. Thank you.

    [applause]John Donvan:
    Catherine?

    Catherine Semcer:
    I assume that question was directed at me.

    John Donvan:
    I think it was. Yeah.

    Catherine Semcer:
    I don't represent the hunting sector. I don't represent the hunting industry, and I don't represent the hunting sector in Tanzania. I think that would be a better question to ask them, about why they’re resisting it. I can say, at the IUCN, there has been increased discussion about the need for transparency within hunting programs. And personally,
    it's something that I would support.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. Right in the center there. Yeah. I meant somebody else, but you go ahead, sir,
    and well -- I'll give you a turn -- your turn next. But if you could stand up, please.

    Male Speaker:
    You've mentioned twice that we are natural predators of animals through the ages.
  • 01:19:13
    But through the ages, haven't we killed animals for food and self-protection? And now,
    isn't it predominantly only for sport?

    Anthony Licata:
    No. It's much more complicated than that. There's a lot of reasons to hunt. You know,
    sport is one of them, but I kill animals for food, and the majority of American hunters do. Every state and province in the United States and Canada has rules about harvesting the meat and making use of the meat. Many times you have to pack up the meat before you even pack out a cape or horn if you're in a wilderness area. To me, I'm a locavore. I like to know where my food comes from. I like to know that my meat is organic, that it's free range, that it's lived a humane life. And for me, there's no better way to know that than through hunting. I'm very proud when I feed my family that meat. That's why I grow a garden.
  • 01:20:05
    I can go to the green market. Sure. I could go to the grocery store. But that connects me to the natural world in a much deeper way. And I think that's a very valid reason.[applause]


    John Donvan:
    Like I said, I'm going to give you, like, about 30 seconds on that, if you can.


    John Donvan:
    And then I'll give you, Adam, as well.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Okay. Catherine and Anthony have continued to rely on state wildlife agencies. And Anthony just said, well, he eats the meat, he's a locavore. That's a compelling argument. But those same state agencies allow commercial and sport trapping of animals. No one is eating those animals, the bobcats, the beavers, and those animals suffer for hours when they're caught in steel-jaw traps or Conibear traps, or snares.
    You're defending those agencies. Do you defend no utilization of the meat and animals languishing in traps for hours on end, with some states allowing trap check requirements of 96 hours --

    John Donvan:
    I'm going to stop you there, because we're getting into the moral question again.
  • 01:21:08
    It doesn't go to the question of whether there's conservation by hunters.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    But that was their exchange, was the moral --
    John Donvan:
    I know. It went in that direction, but --


    John Donvan:
    Are you going to relate it to our motion?

    Adam Roberts:
    Yes. Yes.

    John Donvan:
    Sure. Go ahead.

    Adam Roberts:Yeah.

    John Donvan:
    You better.

    [laughter]

    Adam Roberts:
    Sorry.

    John Donvan:
    Okay.

    Adam Roberts:
    So, two quick things about that exchange. One is, Anthony has twice talked about hunters being natural predators, which I find absolutely astounding, because the last time I checked, guns were not found in nature. So, we're not exactly natural predators.
    But secondly, and again, bringing us back to the motion, the motion is, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.” And somehow, we've gotten off on this tangent about hunting for food. Well, I would remind everybody that it's not just about what Anthony does or what the gentleman in the second row there who brings venison home for his family does. Think about people in Africa who kill animal for food. It's called bush meat, and they're absolutely destroying the forest in central Africa of gorillas and great apes, and elephants, and other animals for food. Those are hunters, and they are destroying wildlife populations in Africa for food.
  • 01:22:05
    They're not conserving wildlife.

    [applause]

    Anthony Licata:
    Can I just answer one thing very quickly?

    John Donvan:
    As long as it's really not about --

    Anthony Licata:
    Very quickly.

    John Donvan:
    Yeah.Anthony Licata:
    People have never been fast and strong. We don't have claws. We don't have teeth.
    We've always hunted by our intellect. Back in prehistoric times and Indian times, what did they do? They lit the whole forest on fire. They would knock birds off their perch when they were roosting. They'd smoke out a bear out of a den.

    John Donvan:
    But were they conserving wildlife?

    Anthony Licata:
    No. [laughs] No. They were -- please, believe me, they were. But the point is, he says our guns are not natural. But --

    John Donvan:
    No.That’s why I want to shut down this side of the argument --


    John Donvan:
    -- because it's not getting to our motion, and I want to get the lady who is very patient.
    Yeah. Yes. That's right.

    Female Speaker:
    Hi. I'm --

    John Donvan:
    You almost got passed over again. Okay.

    Female Speaker:
    I know. I'm Deborah Cain [spelled phonetically]. I understand you answered an earlier question, explaining that the financial benefits of an individual animal being what I would call killed, murdered can benefit overall populations.
  • 01:23:16
    But given that there are demonstrated successes in ecotourism sustaining communities -- I know personally photo safaris are very,very expensive, and --

    John Donvan:
    I need you to ask a question --

    Female Speaker:
    Okay. My question is: Given our other options, how do you reconcile the term wildlife conservation while you're basically turning these lives into commodities to be killed for the highest bidder?John Donvan:
    Wait, wait. What?


    John Donvan:
    No, no. Okay. Just -- one more time?

    Female Speaker:
    How do you reconcile wildlife conservation with what you're selling, which is --

    John Donvan:
    But again, I think that's the moral question, because they've made the argument many times. It's an economic argument that they're basically making.
  • 01:24:02
    And they've made it repeatedly. You may not like it --

    Female Speaker:
    Well, no, my question --


    Female Speaker:
    -- I think it's a little subtle, but what I'm asking is, how conservation is consistent with what hunting does, which is turn these lives into commodities?

    John Donvan:
    That's the second time we've had that question come up. Again, I just feel, in the interests of moving on, we've already heard the question, "How can killing be saving?"
    That -- the conserving is essentially their point.

    Female Speaker:
    No. I'm asking how it's consistent to auction their lives off for a price --

    John Donvan:
    Consistent with what?

    Female Speaker:
    -- with the idea of conservation, which is a different -- subtle but different question.

    John Donvan:
    I'm going to pass on it, because I think they've chewed through it. But thank you. Right down there, sir. Yeah. Yes. The younger person.Female Speaker:
    I wanted to ask if there are economically feasible ways of controlling overpopulation.


    John Donvan:
    Economically feasible ways?

    Female Speaker:
    More economically -- or in terms of -- in -- because -- non-lethal ways would require some funding.


    Wayne Pacelle: If I can just say that for the predators, for wolves and lions, I don't think there's any ecologist that says they're overpopulated.
  • 01:25:14
    I think that they control their own numbers. They maintain their numbers. And given all the threats that they're facing from habitat loss and poaching, as well as -- in some cases -- trophy hunting, they're barely hanging on. So, population control is a moot point for so many of these predator species.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Catherine, would you like to take on the question? You can pass if you want to.

    Catherine Semcer:
    No, but I can address what Wayne said. I mean, when it comes to wolves, I think one thing we need to recognize is since they were delisted, and the state agencies opened seasons, they've only been increasing in number and they've only been increasing in range. Now, when it comes to habitat threats, wolves are highly adaptable. It's a myth that wolves are wilderness dependent species. And anyone who wants to challenge me on that, I would say go to Europe. You'll find wolves in the suburbs of Rome. Wolves are opportunistic, and they are -- I love wolves, because they can make a living anywhere. Now, in terms of, you know, do we need to control their numbers, it depends -- in relation to what?
  • 01:26:16
    You know, managers have different goals based on habitat carrying capacity. They want so many elk, so many mule deer, so many cattle. And they're going to control whatpreys on those animals in relation to what the other societal goals are. Now, in terms of are there cost-effective ways? Maybe. Maybe that's a great idea for our next prize.

    John Donvan:
    I'm going to look for one last question. Sir? Blue shirt.

    Male Speaker:
    My name is Steve Eftinades [spelled phonetically]. For the against team, I would ask you a question -- if Teddy Roosevelt, instead of managing hunting, let's say he outlawed it. If there was no money coming in for conservation programs, where would be today? How would we be funding? How would Africa be funding their conservation programs without hunting? Without the millions, I don't remember the exact dollars.

    John Donvan:
    A billion dollars a year.

    Male Speaker:
    All the billions that came in over the last hundred years.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. That's a great question.
  • 01:27:14
    Wayne Pacelle:
    Teddy Roosevelt was an architect of the National Wildlife Refuge System and even as an inveterate hunter he thought that there should be places where there was no hunting and national wildlife refuges were set aside as refuges. It's only because of the political lobbying that places called refuges are now somehow hunting grounds. On the broader issue of license fees, you know, there are so many different ways that we can monetize appreciation of wildlife and many states, because of declining revenue for hunting, take general funds for the purpose of supporting wildlife and most of the endangered species programs come from those general funds, not from hunting dollars at all.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    Catherine Semcer.

    Catherine Semcer:
    You know, Wayne's hitting on something that I think is really important and some place where we might have some common ground here.
  • 01:28:08
    The budgets for state wildlife agencies is declining and that is a huge problem for every single one of us in this room who cares about wildlife, and there are other ways to monetize the enjoyment of wildlife. Something that the sportsmen community, you know, has long supported is expanding the excise tax beyond firearms and ammunition to include things like kayaks and binoculars and tents and backpacks. And it's been really hard to get that through Congress and, you know, I would hope that, should this come up again as legislation, both, U.S. and Born Free USA would support expanding that excise tax, because there are other ways that we can monetize the enjoyment of wildlife and fund our agencies.

    John Donvan:
    Okay. We're coming down to the end of this round and what we're going to do we call this the volley round and in two minutes we take on one question. It goes back and forth four times to each debater in turn and they have only 30 seconds to answer the question.
  • 01:29:09
    At the end of 30 seconds a bell rings and they have to stop and let the other side start speaking. I'm going to tell you what the question is now. The question for our volley round is: wildlife would be worse off if legal hunting did not exist. I'll repeat it. Wildlife would be worse off if legal hunting did not exist. I'm going to start with this side. I'm going to start with you, Anthony Licata. Your 30 seconds starts now.

    Anthony Licata:
    Yes. Wildlife would be worse off if hunting didn't exist. Wayne has mentioned the U.S.
    Fish and Wildlife Service several times. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said repeatedly it's the funds generated by hunters that allow them to do their work and to manage wildlife habitats. They have said that hunters are the reason why we've gone from 10,000 elk to 120,000 elk. They're the reason why that have driven this great success of great game populations that benefit all animals all across the states.
  • 01:30:07
    John Donvan:
    Adam Roberts.

    [laughter]

    Adam Roberts:
    Perhaps I could say incorrect 30 times over, but no. Wildlife would be better off if there was not legal hunting. I think I've used a number of examples from the Florida black bear to the wolves in Yellowstone that clearly show that even if hunting is lawful there isstill an impact on populations and we can look throughout conservation history and see where time and time again that is the case. Remember, the example of the lion in Africa is a lawful hunting for 35 years that nearly decimated the population. That's not about poaching. Those are legal hunters.

    John Donvan:
    Catherine Semcer.

    Catherine Semcer:
    It would certainly be worse off. Again, the world wildlife fund report showed that in the absence of hunting 74 percent of wildlife conservancies in Namibia would not be financially solvent. This is home to elephants, lions, giraffes, all turned over to raising cattle. Is that really what we want? Or do we want those lions and those elephants and those giraffes?
  • 01:31:04
    So not only hunters can enjoy being out in the wilderness with them, but photo tourists as well.

    John Donvan:
    Wayne Pacelle.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    Morning doves, dozens of birds, would be better off if they weren't shot for target practice. Wolves would be better off if they weren't shot for their heads. You know,
    hunting is going to be around for a while. There's a deeply committed small segment of the American population that favors it, but let's not make the argument because it's untrue that somehow this is a big protector of wildlife in general. It's not.

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    And that concludes Round Two of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate where our motion is, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.”

    [applause]

    John Donvan:
    And remember, please, how you voted before you began to hear the arguments. We're going to have you vote again right after this round.
  • 01:32:04
    You're going to hear one more round, closing statements by each debater in turn. That is our Round Three, closing statements by each debater in turn. They will be two minutes each. They will be uninterrupted. Here making his closing statement in support of the motion, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife," Anthony Licata, editor in chief of Field and Stream.

    Anthony Licata:
    I hope you will vote, "Yes," on tonight's proposition because I think we've demonstrated with some simple unassailable facts who sport hunting has and continues to conserve wildlife. Hunters continue to generate a billion dollars a year. They preserve tens of millions of acres of critical habitat. They've helped hundreds of species. I don't think those are any numbers to laugh at. But I'd like to close by talking about a more personal relationship between predator and prey. In Field and Stream over the last 10 years,
    we've profiled about 150 regular folks who are doing exceptional grassroots conservation work. These are not biologists. They're not professionals. They're volunteers.
  • 01:33:05
    These are people who care enough to spend their weekends building nesting boxes,
    installing water features on public land to help endangered animals. They work together to get different public and private groups to work together to preserve land so it remains forever wild. What these heroes of conservation have in common is their passionate love of wildlife and wild places that has been inspired and driven by hunting.
    It's simple. When you love something, you'll fight to protect it. I'm a backpacker. I'm a birdwatcher. There's a lot of things I do outside. But, for me, and 37 million other people like me in this country, there's something unique about hunting, the way it connects me to a natural ecosystem. It immerses me in the natural world and it makes me part of the system in a way that is ancient and really powerful. This gives me and millions of others this connection to the natural world. It makes me a participant and it opens my eyes to how easily man can destroy it by not protecting habitat.
  • 01:34:08
    Look, hunting's not for everyone. It doesn't need to be. It shouldn't be. That's fine.
    People react to different activities in different ways. But all of us need to work together to preserve habitats for future generations and that would be much easier to do if we all worked together towards the same goal. And that, more than anything, is why I hope you will vote, "Yes," tonight.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Anthony Licata.

    [applause]The motion again, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." Here making his closing statement against the motion, Wayne Pacelle, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States.

    Wayne Pacelle:
    You know, clearly there are many broad-minded, deeply committed hunters and they do care about the environment and they care about protecting species. But overall, as a community, if there was a deeply felt committed practical understanding of conservation, the hunting community would not tolerate dumbing millions and millions of pounds of led ammunition into the environment that is poisoning millions and millions of animals every year.
  • 01:35:12
    They wouldn't tolerate exotic game hunting on fenced-in enclosures, which is horribly unsporting and inhumane but also threatens to unleash invasive species into our habitats that has so many ecological consequences. If they had a deep commitment to conservation, they would be right by our side in defending the Endangered Species Act from so many attacks. They would have been right by our side when we worked to pass the California Desert Protection Act to protect eight million acres of the fragile California Desert. Going back a little ways, they would have been at our side in defending and advocating for the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the biggest public lands protection act in contemporary times. When we're looking at the big fights for conservation, when we're looking at protecting predators like grizzly bears and wolves and mountain lions and African lions, they're on the other side.
  • 01:36:10
    So, you know, as I said, hunting is a long, storied action. There are lots of people who believe in it intensely. I get it. Those who are involved in food gathering, it makes sense in so many ways for them. But let's not mistake that activity which contributes almost nothing to conservation as some broader socially beneficial enterprise. It's not.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Wayne Pacelle.

    [applause]

    Our motion, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." And here and making her closing statement,
    supporting the motion, Catherine Semcer, COO of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants.

    Catherine Semcer:You don't have to like hunting and you don't have to like me, but you do all like wildlife,
    and that's what's really important. I think Anthony and I have really laid the numbers bare, the results of how hunters conserve wildlife.
  • 01:37:09
    An area in Africa 1.7 times the size of the U.S. National Park System conserved, kept free of development, hopefully forever. Individuals putting a million dollars into restoring wildlife populations over 2.5 million acres of really remote wildland.
    Businessmen spending 100,000 dollars a year or more on anti-poaching patrols. A huge system that works to keep hooves and claws on the ground because that's what really matters. It's not about me. It's not about Anthony. It's not about Wayne and Adam.
    It's not about any of us in the room, it's about those creatures out there. And to remove hunters from the ecosystem of conservation would be to sacrifice more than we could even imagine.
  • 01:38:11
    So, please, recognize what we've laid out. You don't have to like it, but please understand its value and vote in favor of the motion. Thank you.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Catherine Semcer.

    [applause]

    And that motion is, again, "Hunters Conserve Wildlife." And here making his closing statement against the motion, Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free U.S.A. and the Born Free Foundation.

    Adam Roberts:
    Thank you. Thank you, everybody. I have to say, at this point in the debate, I am slightly perplexed and I'll tell you why because as I approached this two minute closing, I heard two things, one from Anthony and one from Catherine. Catherine said, "You don't have to like hunting," and Anthony parroted that by saying, "Hunting is not for everyone." And I have to remind everybody what the motion is before us today. The motion isn't, "Do you like hunting or not," the motion is not, "Do you yield food for your family by hunting?
  • 01:39:03
    The motion is very simply that hunters conserve wildlife. And I set out at the very beginning of my remarks a very simple challenge. The very simple challenge was to explain to us all why we should simply trust that, again, politically, legally, economically,biologically, and logically hunters conserve wildlife. And within each of those contexts, I set out a series of contentions, data, scientific data, not by my scientists, but by government scientists, by field conservations scientists, people on the ground that justify Wayne and my perspective in this debate, showing you that we can't trust politically that hunters are going to conserve wildlife because they're operating in places that are fundamentally lawless or filled with corruption, places like Zimbabwe or Tanzania. We talked about how, legally, you have people coming in and flouting laws to protect wildlife in order to get rhino horn back to Asia, fueling a market that also drives poaching in South Africa. Legally, there's no argument that hunters conserve wildlife.
  • 01:40:01
    Economically, I laid out figure after figure, not just about what's happening in Africa,
    which was never refuted, but what's happening in Yellowstone with wolves and with the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia with bears, not refuted. So time after time,
    what Wayne and I have showed you is that biologically, animals suffer, populations suffer, entire family systems and ecosystems suffer because of hunters. That is not conservation. That is the depletion of the natural world. And so, at the end of the day, I put out the challenge that we can't just accept the fact that we should trust the arguments of the other side. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I would say that trust is earned and the arguments haven't shown today at all that hunters conserve wildlife.
    Thank you.

    John Donvan:
    Thank you, Adam Roberts.

    [applause]

    And that concludes our closing statements. And now it's time to learn which side you feel has argued the best. So I'm going to ask you again to go to the keypads at your seat and vote a second time, but the same way as before. If you agree with the motion,
    "Hunters Conserve Wildlife," push number one. If you disagree, push number two.
  • 01:41:03
    If you're undecided or became undecided, push number three. I see a few people are still working at it, a look of indecision on their faces.

    [laughter]

    What was interesting in some ways, I saw the people voting more quickly than I've ever seen before than in some instances. All right, so we're going to have those results in about a minute and a half or two minutes. While we're waiting for that, I want to cover a couple of things. The first thing I want to say is I want to thank these debaters for thedecency and the honesty, the civility and the passion they brought to this argument.
    They really kept it informative and intelligent.

    [applause]

    So thank you for that. And I want to say this because it's important. I know I threw out a few questions tonight. I meant no disrespect whatsoever.
  • 01:42:00
    It's just editing that I do on the fly about whether we're going to be getting into new ground. So, the people who asked questions that got through, thank you for your great questions, and the other people, thank you for nearly great questions and also for the guts to get up and ask the questions. I appreciate that you did it. So thank you.

    [applause]

    Third important thing, I want to remind people who are even our regular attendees, but also newcomers that Intelligence Squared U.S. is a nonprofit organization. We do this event on a stage. We turn it into live streaming. We turn it into a podcast. We turn it into a radio broadcast heard on public radio stations, and we give it away free.
    Thousands of schools are using our debates now and we rely on donations from the public to keep us going. So we would really appreciate it if you like what you heard tonight to give us some support, going to our website and you can make a donation there. It would mean a great deal to us and would keep all of us human life continuing doing what we do. So thank you for that.
  • 01:43:01
    We're very grateful to people who have been making contributions. I also want to mention somebody who's on our staff, because this is her last debate with us. Her name is Adelaide Mandeville. I am not going to embarrass her by bringing her out on stage, but believe me, she's backstage right now and she's hearing this and her face is probably turning red. Adelaide came to us three years ago straight out of college and she has become an integral part of our debates. Intelligence Squared debates became better because of her contribution. We have a very small staff and she became a very big presence. So, backstage Adelaide, there's a room full of people here who are going to join me in thanking you for your contribution to IQ2 all of these years.

    [applause]

    So this is our final debate of the spring here in New York, but next month, June 8th,
    we're going to be in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center where we dostrictly constitutional debates. The motions are always built off something relating to one of the constitutional amendments, generally.
  • 01:44:04
    Up for discussion in this debate on June 8th will be whether the executive branch has been guilty of over-reach. Has the president, through a series of unilateral actions,
    usurped Congress' legislative power? Among the debaters, as always, we will have leaders in constitutional law. We will be announcing our fall 2016 lineup coming this summer, but we're going to be letting you know now that we've been thinking about this and what we want to do is come up with a series of debates leading up to Election Day that are relevant to the coversations taking place in the presidential election and that we hope will assist you in making an informed decision when you cast your vote on election day. And you can sign up for our eblasts to get all of our announcements and you'll find out, when we make our decisions, about what our topics are going to be. And as I've mentioned, for those of you who can't join our live audience here in New York,
    there are a lot of other ways to catch our debates. We have a great app, the IQ2US app.
    It's available through the Apple and Android stores.
  • 01:45:03
    Just look for the name IQ2US on iTunes or on Google Play and you can watch the live stream on our website. We're also working with an organization called Newsy.com on a special series of what are constructed as two-minute debates. They are these debates turned into two minutes and in the next week we're going to be releasing a whole series of these two-minute shorts from tonight's debate, so take a look. If you want to share with your friends what it was like to be here but you know they only have two minutes and you're on a phone and you're on the bus, take a look at one of our newsy reports.
    You can also visit our website for up-to-date information on all of our upcoming debates. All right. I have the final results now. Remember, we had you vote two times on this motion, “Hunters Conserve Wildlife.” You voted before you heard the arguments and again after you heard the arguments and by our rules it's the team whose numbers have moved up the most in percentage points who will be declared our winner. So let's look at the results of the first vote.
  • 01:46:03
    On the motion “Hunters Conserve Wildlife,” on the first vote 21 percent agreed with the motion, 35 percent were against, 44 percent were undecided. On the second vote, the team arguing for the motion “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” from the first vote of 21 percent their second vote was 26 percent. They went up 5 percentage points. That is the number to beat. Let's look at the team against the motion. Their first vote was 35 percent. Their second vote was 65 percent. They pulled up 30 percentage pointsmaking the argument -- the team arguing against the motion “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” our winners.

    [applause]

    Our congratulations to them. Thank you from me, John Donvan, and Intelligence Squared U.S. We'll see you next time.
  • 01:46:45
    [end of transcript]
Post-Debate
Winner

Against The Motion
65 %
25 %
For The Motion
10 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Undecided
43 %
36 %
Against The Motion
21 %
For The Motion
Breakdown
Against The Motion
29% - Remained For the Against Side
7% - Swung From the For Side
29% - Swung From Undecided
For The Motion
5% - Swung From the Against Side
10% - Remained For the For Side
10% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
2% - Swung From the Against Side
4% - Swung From the For Side
4% - Remained Undecided
Post-Debate
Winner

For The Motion
74 %
22 %
Against The Motion
4 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
For The Motion
59 %
31 %
Against The Motion
9 %
Undecided
Breakdown
For The Motion
19% - Swung From the Against Side
52% - Remained For the For Side
4% - Swung From Undecided
Against The Motion
13% - Remained For the Against Side
7% - Swung From the For Side
2% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
4% - Remained Undecided
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Funding Wildlife Conservation with Hunting Money
Clip: Are the monies raised from sport hunting a valuable resource to fund conservation of wildlife?
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
How Hunting Impacts Lion Populations
Clip: Catherine Semcer and Adam Roberts disagree over whether hunting of lions in Africa is beneficial or detrimental to their populations.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
Volley Round: Wildlife Would Be Worse Off if Legal Hunting Did Not Exist
Clip: Each debater in turn addresses the idea that wildlife would be worse off without legal hunting.
Video thumbnail image.
Play this video clip.
2-Minute Debate: Hunters Conserve Wildlife
Do hunters conserve wildlife? This debate short is part of a series co-produced by Intelligence Squared U.S. and Newsy.
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of Anthony Licata
Anthony Licata − Editor-in-Chief, Field & Stream
Anthony Licata is the editor-in-chief of Field & Stream, America'€™s largest outdoor sports magazine brand, with... read bio
An image of Catherine Semcer
Catherine Semcer − COO, Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants
Catherine E. Semcer is a dedicated conservationist and experienced non-profit leader. As the COO of Humanitarian... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle − CEO & President, The Humane Society of the United States
Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), named by Forbes as one of the... read bio
An image of Adam M. Roberts
Adam M. Roberts − CEO, Born Free USA & Born Free Foundation
Adam M. Roberts, based in Washington, D.C., is the CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation. He helped launch... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • Revenues from hunting fund conservation efforts, both within the U.S. and abroad, going toward wildlife refuge programs and preserving national, state, and private lands.
  • Regulated hunting helps maintain healthy animal populations, preventing overcrowding, resource depletion, and the spread of disease.
  • The sport of hunting promotes active engagement with nature and ensures humans are invested in preserving wildlife and lands.
  • Regulatory agencies and industries created around hunting are critical to combating poaching and illegal depletion of animal populations.
Against The Motion
  • Hunting alters the natural composition of animal herds and, even when population sizes are maintained, negatively impacts their long-term survival.
  • The global market around trophy hunting is often corrupt and funds raised from hunters are often misappropriated.
  • Domestic and international regulatory agencies that oversee hunters are often pressured to set quotas based on industry demands rather than animal well-being.
  • Endangered animals are already at risk of extinction by poachers and natural predators; legalized hunting exacerbates the problem.