Recreational killing of wild animals can foster environmental stewardship


Proposals to downsize the human population or protect large areas of the planet imply that biodiversity conservation is possible only when humans are excluded, but effective conservation action is shown by groups engaged in consumptive wildlife use. We demonstrate that recreational fishing and hunting can develop nature relationships that shape environmental stewardship. Sustainably catching, killing and eating wildlife is identified as a transformative sensory and emotionally charged experience that triggers environmental virtue and conservation. This outlook is less likely for hunting and fishing practices that disconnect users from the catch-and-kill experience or result in only superficial interactions with wildlife. However, excluding recreational wildlife use will probably jeopardize environmental stewardship.

Shephard, S., von Essen, E., Gieser, T., List, C.J., Arlinghaus, R. 2024. Recreational killing of wild animals can foster environmental stewardship. Nature Sustainability, 2024,

Published : 2024
Appeared in : Nature Sustainability, 2024