The Trophy-hunting Debate

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 109, Dec. 5, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

Would banning trophy hunting hurt conservation efforts? That's the argument made recently by several scientists — but many other experts dispute it, saying more effective alternatives to funding conservation already exist. Read about the debate.

What do endangered pangolins and Russian oil oligarchs have in common? They're both among the subjects of this month's best environmental books. Also on the list: tips on living sustainably, the latest weird eco-horror novel from Jeff VanderMeer, and a classic comic-strip satire. Check out this month's "Revelator Reads" recommendations.

When should we consider an endangered species to be recovered? A new tool called the "Green List of Species" hopes to help answer that question by measuring the effectiveness of conservation efforts. That includes making sure that species populations rise, but also that they're fulfilling their ecological roles.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five more stories we're watching this week.

1. As the latest United Nations climate conference began in Madrid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress, despite the Trump administration's stonewalling, remains committed to taking action to cut emissions.

2. The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on a significant environmental case — whether a BP subsidiary can be held to a standard higher than the federal Superfund law in cleaning up pollution.

3. The Trump administration has increased the number of rangers it's sending to patrol the southern border — pulling them from their jobs at already-understaffed U.S. national parks.

4. Researchers trying to lure diverse fish communities back to dead coral reefs in Australia installed underwater loudspeakers to broadcast the sounds of healthy reefs — and it worked.

5. A court just ruled that Virginia Beach was justified when it refused permits for a new housing development due to worries about future flooding and sea-level rise — a decision that could help empower more communities to say no to risky developments.

In case you missed it:

Did you know the United States has 4,000 species of native bees? Author Paige A. Embry, author of the book Our Native Bees, talked with us about why they matter.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world, so we always welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We're hard at work on our next batch of articles, including bad news about tigers in two different countries.

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We share other news there, too, so please join us and keep the discussion going.

As always, thank you for reading.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of giraffes by Jon Mountjoy/Flickr.

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