The proposition that killing animals helps keep them alive may sound preposterous at first; after all, how can killing an animal help the survival of its species? Well, if managed properly it can. Enter, trophy hunting. Trophy hunting, in two words, is big money. But, in more, it is the sanctioned killing of animals for sport in return for large amounts of money. The preferred target animal, known as the game, is typically a large or impressively ornamented male, such as one having large horns or antlers. Popular ‘games’ include lions, bears, elephants, pumas. Many conservationists agree that trophy hunting helps wildlife. Professor John Hanks is the former head of the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa. He says tourism and donations do not provide the billions of dollars needed. In his own words: “I think trophy hunting in South Africa is really absolutely essential if we are going to look for long-term future for rhinos in the whole of Africa…there’s hardly a single country anywhere that can afford to run its national parks as they should be run… Here we are in South Africa, one of the richest countries in the continent, Kruger Park has a million visitors a year and they still cannot afford to defend the rhinos.” The ground situation in Africa confirms what Professor Hanks says. The Lion population is increasing in Southern Africa, where they are legally hunted, while in Kenya, where trophy hunting is banned since 1977, their population has crashed. The same is true for giraffes, rhinos, and elephants. Banning trophy hunting could reduce the land reserves putting these populations at risk. While primarily practised in Africa, trophy hunting takes place across all continents. In North America, bears are popular game, in South America: cougars, and in Pakistan: Markhors. In addition to being popular game, Markhors are high-value game. In late 2021, The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department accepted the highest bid ever for a permit to hunt a markhor in Chitral valued at $160,250 or a little over Rs 27 million as part of its trophy hunting initiative. Hunter Mehran Safari made the successful bid that permitted him to hunt one markhor in the Toshi-I game reserve. This and the three other accepted bids brought in a total of 575,600 dollars for the department. When the government opened Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s gates to international trophy-hunting in the 1990s, it was hoped that controlling, taxing, and regularising Markhor-hunting would not only curb illegal hunting activities and also generate revenue. The programme has produced positive results. By allowing trophy hunting of only old male Markhors and using the revenues raised for conservation, over the last three decades, the markhor population in Pakistan has more than doubled and the programme is hailed as a success story in Pakistan’s biodiversity preservation efforts. All in all, the truth is that trophy hunting is not the main threat, if at all, facing animals across the world. By providing a means of funding conservation work and protecting the habitats that sustain wild animal populations across large swathes of land where, without hunters’ dollars, natural habitats would soon be taken over by agriculture or the wildlife decimated by poachers, trophy hunting is a lifeline for the very existence of many species. The writer is a student at Aitchison College, Lahore, with an interest in identifying and solving long-standing societal problems that obstruct development.