Sudan, the last living male northern white rhino, died in Kenya the other day. Which means that the survival of the subspecies—while theoretically possible using untried in vitro techniques—is unlikely. Some days, I don’t feel that well myself.
Especially after reading an NPR story about how the decline in U.S. hunters is threatening how our country will pay for conservation efforts. The piece quotes Tom Wrasse, a Wisconsin hunter on the last day of the season and the sole person at what used to be a busy hunting camp. “It’s just kind of fading away,” he told a reporter.
It’s true. Just 4.4 percent of adult Americans hunted in 2016, down from 7.3 percent in 1991. That’s not quite half, but it’s close enough.
Back in 1992, a rural sociologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison made what was then a bold prediction: If trends like increasing urbanization, smaller families, and the antihunting movement all continued as predicted, the sport of hunting as known by Wisconsinites could be nonexistent by 2050.
That no longer seems so farfetched. We’re all familiar with how modern life—with its increasing urbanization, less access to public hunting areas, less free time, more time watching screens, and youth sports that penalize children who miss weekend practices—makes it harder…