I saw Trophy recently at Osio Theater in Monterey. I found it to be a must-watch film. I went into it expecting for it to be hard to watch, and it was. I did not expect for it to strongly shift my viewpoint about using hunting to subsidize conservation efforts and motivating conservation through greed and capitalism. I agonize over animals being killed to satisfy the thirst for adrenaline dumps and completionist tendencies of hunters. There is an extended sequence of a young elephant dying a slow and painful death after being shot that viscerally depicts how much pain the hunted animals’ individually experience. The kin of the slaughtered also certainly feel terrible emotional anguish and stress, as family structures are chaotically shifted and depleted with every murder. However, just as John Hume, owner of the private rhino farm, says at one point in the film that if humans could get the opinion of rhinos, rhinos would probably prioritize their individual survival over having their horns, I think that these animals would probably value the increased probability of preserving the existence and survival of their families over their terribly unfortunate murders.
I was strongly against hunting-subsidized conservation at the start of the film. After its conclusion, I still don’t unequivocally think it’s the right thing to do. Lots of these animals are caged up, and with the prevention of animal interaction, the private land habitats featured in this film aren’t really restored ecosystems. Also, a tunnel vision focus on breeding of species and security against poachers alone risks missing tackling the matters of land use change and human development onto ever-shrinking habitats that factors alongside poaching in the extinction of animals (and the film certainly touches on this, as well).
Billions of more people to add to this planet. Where do we go next?