U.S. proposal to “protect” African lions hands their heads to hunters

Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

WASHINGTON D.C.––“Wild” African lions may in the future exist only as a species cultivated for trophy hunting, anticipates an October 29, 2014 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to list them as a “threatened” species.

Published in the October 29, 2014 edition of the Federal Register, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service notice of proposed rulemaking is open for 90 days of public comment, ending in January 2015, before taking effect.

The listing proposal was hailed as a victory for the trophy hunting industry by Safari Club International, and was mourned as an at least partial defeat by the Humane Society of the U.S., Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Defenders of Wildlife, and Born Free USA, whose 2011 petition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service initiated the “threatened” species listing process.

Lions down by half since 1980

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that there are now about 32,000 to 33,000 African lions, down from 75,000 circa 1980. Most of the remaining African lions, the IUCN believes, are concentrated in 10 regions of eastern and southern Africa. Barely 400 lions are believed to survive in the whole of west Africa.

The IUCN numbers are conservative. Laurence Frank of the University of California in a September 2003 article for New Scientist argued that the African lion population had plummeted from as many as 230,000 circa 1980 to just 23,000.

Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

Accepting the IUCN figures, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service population analysis also took into account that, “Captive-held African lions, including those that are managed for trophy hunting in South Africa and lions held in captivity in zoos, are believed to number between a few thousand and 5,000 worldwide.”

Wild vs. captive

Failing to distinguish fully wild and free-roaming African lions from lions raised in captivity or quasi-captivity for much of their lives, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis concluded––almost by default––that lions have little or no future as a part of the African wildlife ecology, except within protected habitat.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis also did not qualitatively differentiate between habitat protected as a complete working ecosystem, as in large national parks, and habitat protected exclusively to propagate hunted species.

In effect, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis puts animal advocates in the awkward position of having to argue against a proposal which for the most part assigns equal status to both wild and captive lions.
Animal rights and welfare philosophies, and animal rights and welfare organizations, mostly hold that wild and domesticated animals should have equivalent moral standing, with equivalent protection from exploitation.

Lion_March498a1923cfeb3274cbEffectively opposing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis would appear to require either overturning much of the scientific data it incorporates, frequently taken from some of the same sources used by the Humane Society of the U.S., Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Defenders of Wildlife, and Born Free USA in their petition to protect African lions, or arguing that wild and free-roaming African lions should be regarded as intrinsically different and more valuable than those raised in captivity to be shot.

Captive hunting

The animal advocacy organizations contended in petitioning for African lions to be protected that the existence of the lion trophy hunting industry jeopardized wild lions in several different ways: among others, by directly encouraging the deaths of wild lions; by encouraging African nations to allow populations of wild and free-roaming lions to be replaced by populations of short-lived captives; and by permitting the growth of a lion bone export industry which––for a time, anyhow––might be supplied by the bones of wild lions as well as those of lions who had in effect been farmed.

The petitioners hoped that obtaining a “threatened” designation for African lions from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service would close the U.S. to all imports of lion trophies. This would not only have protected wild African lions, but also have all but closed the “canned lion” hunting industry, a longtime focus of humane concern.

David Macdonald of the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, editor of the Encyclopedia of Mammals, in a September 2003 address to the Zoological Society of London mentioned that hunters caused 63% of the lion mortality he had recently documented in a five-year study of lions in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Macdonald’s findings helped to fuel a decade of activism leading to the petition for African lions to be listed as threatened.

Lions in Kenya.  (Elissa Free photo)

Indigenous hunting

But the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recognized hunting as a threat to the survival of African lions as a species only in contexts involving indigenous African people.

“The lion’s prey base has decreased in many parts of its range for various reasons, “ the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis said, “but a large factor is due to competition for meat from humans…Historically, subsistence hunting with spears was traditionally used to hunt wildlife, which had minimal impact to wildlife populations. Spears have since been replaced by automatic weaponry, allowing for poaching of large numbers of animals for the bushmeat trade.”

Among the species most often poached for bushmeat, most of which is exported to cities and sold for cash, are the hooved animals forming most of the African lion prey base.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also recognized threats to African lions from farmers and pastoralists trying to protect livestock.

“In Tanzania, which is home to more than 40% of the African lion population, conversion of rangeland to agricultural use has blocked several migratory routes for wildebeest and zebra populations,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service observed. As both wildebeest and zebras are staples of the African lion diet, this “likely forces lions to rely more on livestock.”

Kenya Wildlife Service deputy director Samuel Kasiki and Elly Hamunyela, director of the Natural Resources Department of Namibia, estimated in April 2014 that loss of prey and retaliatory killing by pastoralists accounted for 95% of lion mortality in Kenya. Kasiki and Hamunyela reported that Tanzania had allowed trophy hunters to kill about 2,000 lions from 1999 through 2008, 870 lions had been shot for trophies in Zimbabwe during the same years, and 168 had been killed in Namibia.

Trophy hunting

As of May 2014, 18 nations allowed lion hunting for trophies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found, but only nine of them had any actual lion trophy hunting activity––possibly because they no longer had lions. Twelve nations had suspended or banned lion trophy hunting.

Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

The British organization LionAid told Reuters earlier that lions have been extirpated from 25 African nations, and have nearly disappeared from 10 more, leaving only about half a dozen nations whose lion populations are not in imminent jeopardy.

“South Africa has not set a quota for the take of wild lions,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service noted, “since 99% of the trophy-hunted lions [in South Africa] are reportedly not of wild origin, but captive-born.”

South Africa has about 2,800 wild lions, plus as many as 3,500 captive-bred lions, of whom 680 to 1,000 per year are shot for trophies, according to Kasiki and Hamunyela––markedly more than were killed in South Africa a decade ago, according to data reported in 2007 by Humane Society International wildlife director Teresa Telecky.

“Most of the nearly 1,200 lion trophies exported from South Africa from 1994 to 2005 went to the U.S.,” Telecky said then. “In 2005, 206 of the 322 lion trophies exported were captive-bred. One hundred twenty of those went to the U.S.”

Money talks

Altogether, 480 lions were known to have been killed in South Africa in 2006, 444 of them bred in captivity.
Hunters paid from $6,000 and $8,000 to shoot a female, and $20,000 and $30,000 to shoot a maned male.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acknowledged the amount of money involved in lion trophy hunting. “Lions are reported to generate the highest daily rate of any mammal hunted (USD $2,650 per day), the longest number of days that must be booked, and the highest trophy fee ($24,500),” the population analysis mentioned.

The United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization has separately estimated that the average price of a lion trophy is $29,000.

Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

“Given the financial aspects of sport hunting,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allowed, “it is reasonable to assume that corruption and the inability to control it could have a negative impact on decisions made in lion management by overriding biological rationales with financial concerns.”

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service director Daniel M. Ashe told media that his agency “will want to know what’s happening to the revenue” derived from hunting.

“Does it go back to support the conservation of the species in the wild?” Ashe asked. “What do [lion trophy hunting nations] have to show us to determine if there’s a clear conservation benefit?”

Habitat

But the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lion population analysis assigned greatest weight to the numbers of lions purportedly conserved, rather than to the conditions in which the lions exist.

“Results of modeling indicate that by 2050 about 43% of lion populations in unfenced reserves may decline to less than 10% of the carrying capacities of the unfenced reserves, including those in Botswana, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service summarized, naming several of the nations––Botswana, Kenya, and Cameroon––which prohibit lion trophy hunting.

Josphat Ngonyo,  founder of Youth for Conservation in 1999 and the African Network for Animal Welfare in 2005,  has long fought the trophy hunting lobby to preserve the Kenyan ban on sport hunting.  (ANAW photo)

Kenya banned all sport hunting in 1977. The ban has been under almost constant political attack from Safari Club International, the African Wildlife Federation, and other pro-hunting organizations ever since. Botswana suspended lion hunting from 2001 to 2005, but lifted the suspension for two years after intensive lobbying by former U.S. President George H. Bush, former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, and retired U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, on behalf of Safari Club International. Lion hunting in Botswana was again suspended in 2008.

“According to the same modeling results,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service continued, “lion populations in fenced reserves are expected to remain at or above the carrying capacity of the fenced reserves for the next 100 years, although most are small protected areas with small lion populations,” typically maintained by captive breeding among a limited gene pool.

USFWS conclusion favors hunters

Concluded the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Although there is some indication that trophy hunting could contribute to local declines in lion populations through unsustainable quotas, corruption, and possible disruption of pride structure through infanticide and take of males who are too young, we do not find that any of these activities rises to the level of a threat to the African lion subspecies at this time…Because habitat loss has been identified as one of the primary threats to lion populations, it is notable that trophy hunting has provided lion range states incentives to set land aside for hunting throughout Africa…The total amount of land set aside for trophy hunting throughout Africa exceeds the total area of the national parks, providing half the amount of viable lion habitat…Therefore, we conclude, based on the best scientific and commercial information available, that trophy hunting is not a significant threat to the species.”

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service rejected the idea that the lion bone export trade, supplied mainly by the captive hunting industry, might be contributing to pressure on the lion population.

Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

“Lion products, such as the trade in lion bone, seem to be primarily byproducts of trophy hunting; hunters are primarily interested in the trophy and skin, and therefore the bones and other parts are sold separately,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said.

Summarized Washington Post environment reporter Darryl Fears,  “The proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would make the African lion the last big cat to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act,” but affords African lions little or no protection from trophy hunters.

“Hunting an animal listed as ‘endangered’ in Africa is legal if the host nation permits it,” Fears explained, “but the remains of the animal cannot be imported to the U.S. for a trophy. Hunting and trophies are allowed in the U.S. for ‘threatened’ animals, but hunters must apply for permits and the government can refuse a permit if it believes the plight of the species has worsened.

“Under the ‘threatened’ designation,” Fears wrote, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service “will put in place a new permitting system for importing lion hunting trophies. Such trophies will be permitted only from nations that [convince USFWS that they] carefully use hunting as a way to manage lions to help preserve the species. The proposal takes about a year to become final.”

Petitioners respond

Said IFAW North American regional director Jeff Flocken, “We thank the U.S. government for acknowledging that this iconic species is in grave trouble, but to allow trophy hunting to continue unabated is kicking an animal while it’s already down.”

Humane Society International wildlife department director Teresa Telecky took a more optimistic view. “While we are disappointed that the U.S. government appears poised to continue allowing the import of some lion trophies,” Telecky said, “it is vital that protective trophy import standards be put in place and that there will be transparency in that process. American hunters import about 400 trophies of wild lions each year, so we hope that the Endangered Species Act protection will significantly curtail this destructive activity.”

Pledged Born Free USA chief executive Adam Roberts, “Born Free and our partners on the ground in Africa will keep vigilant watch on lions and lion trade to ensure that the government’s decision today enhances conservation. The lion has no margin for error.”

 

Please donate to support our work: http://www.animals24-7.org/donate/

Hunter’s Code of Conduct [translated for laypersons]

 
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Respect the Environment & Wildlife

  • Show respect for the wildlife you hunt by taking only clean, killing shots…[Remember, nothing shows respect like killing.]
  • Learn to tread lightly while afield…[this may be a physical impossibility for some hefty hunters.] Use vehicles only on established roads and trails, practice low-impact camping and travel, and pack out your trash, including cigarette butts and spent shell casings…[and poop.]
  • Report illegal activities immediately[such as someone trying to murder an animal.]

Show Consideration of Non-Hunters

  • Remember that the future of hunting depends on hunters and non-hunters alike. Be considerate of non-hunters’ sensibilities, and strive to leave them with positive images of hunting and hunters[Yeah right, good luck on that one.]
  • Don’t flaunt your kill. Treat game carcasses in an inoffensive manner particularly
    Serial killer, Robert Hansen, shown here treating a carcass in an inoffensive manner.

    Serial killer, Robert Hansen, shown here treating a carcass in an inoffensive manner.

    during transport…[even though you just treated the living animal in an extremely offensive manner by taking his or her life.]

  • Be considerate of all outdoor users, including other hunters…[of course, this rule does not apply to the wildlife.]

Hunt Safely

  • Exercise caution at all times…[You don't want to end up another statistic.]
  • Fire your gun or bow only when you are absolutely sure of your target and its background…[Enough said?] 
  • Wear hunter orange whenever appropriate…[or not.]

Support Wildlife & Habitat Conservation

  • Provide hands-on and financial support for conservation of game...[to ensure a healthy supply of victims for future hunting.]
  • Become involved in wildlife conservation organizations…[i.e.: political trophy hunting groups like the Safari Club.]
  • Purchase state and federal wildlife conservation stamps, even if such stamps are not required for hunting…[to help blur the line between hunter and non-hunter wildlife conservation contributions.]

Pass on an Ethical Hunting Tradition

  • Invite a young person or a non-hunter next time you go afield to scout or hunt…[every future school shooter need a mentor.]
  • Attend a hunter education course, and urge others to do the same…[and don't forget to try to graduate from high school.]
  • Set high ethical standards for future generations of hunters to help ensure hunting will continue…[because all that really matters is that the sport of hunting will continue in perpetuity.]

Hunt Only with Ethical Hunters

  • Take pride in being an ethical hunter…[even if such a thing is fictitious, like
  • Smalfut Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.]

And remember that hunting and alcohol don’t mix…[so, you might want just to stay home and watch the ball game instead.]

Adapted from:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/conduct/

U.S. charges South Africans in illegal rhino hunting case

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/23/us-usa-alabama-rhino-idUSKCN0IC2NH20141023

(Reuters) – A South African company has been indicted in Alabama for selling illegal rhinoceros hunts to Americans and secretly trafficking in the endangered animals’ horns, which sell on the black market at prices higher than gold, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The 18-count indictment charged Valinor Trading CC, which operated in the United States as Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris, and company owners Dawie Groenewald, 46, and his brother, Janneman Groenewald, 44, with conspiracy, Lacey Act violations, mail fraud, money laundering and structuring bank deposits to avoid reporting requirements.

All species of rhinoceros are protected under U.S. and international laws, including the Lacey Act, which addresses illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“This case should send a warning shot to outfitters and hunters that the sale of illegal hunts in the U.S. will be vigorously prosecuted regardless of where the hunt takes place,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Sam Hirsch said in the statement.

The whereabouts of the Groenewalds, and whether they have hired a lawyer, could not immediately be determined.

National Geographic magazine reported that Dawie Groenewald was arrested in 2010 in South Africa, along with 10 others and that a multi-count case has been under way for four years.

Both Groenewald brothers are South African nationals. Janneman Groenewald lived and operated out of Alabama’s Autauga County, where he maintained company bank accounts.

Nine American hunters paid up to $15,000 per animal for a total of 11 hunts sold at hunting conventions and gun shows in the United States between 2005 and 2010.

None of the hunters was charged because prosecutors said the hunters were tricked by the Groenewalds into believing they were shooting legally at “problem” rhinos. The Groenewalds obtained no hunting permits from the Republic of South Africa or local government, the indictment said.

The hunts took place at a ranch in Mussina, Limpopo Province, South Africa co-owned by the Groenewalds and American investors, according to the indictment.

After killing or capturing a rhino, the hunters posed for photos with the carcasses that appeared on company marketing brochures, the indictment said. Dawie Groenewald, who supervised the hunts, then cut off the horns with chainsaws and knives.

The population of rhinos, indigenous to southern Africa, is being decimated by poachers who supply a demand for horns for decorative and supposed medicinal purposes, prosecutors said.

The investigation was part of ongoing Operation Crash, named for a term used to describe a rhino herd, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It has resulted in 26 arrests and 18 convictions, with prison terms as high as 70 months for illegal rhino hunting or trafficking in horns.

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Everything Wrong With Teen Hunter Kendall Jones’ New Hunting Show

 

By Melissa Cronin

The YouTube series, titled “Game On,” features Jones and a friend setting out on hunting trips together. The first episode, a poorly-made jaunt to Lake Charles, La. for a crocodile hunt, begins with the line, from Jones’ friend Taylor Altom: “I want to shoot a gator in the face.” The pair travel through the swamp in search of alligators for a weekend with the help of a local hunter.

WARNING: Disturbing Images

  • (Kendall Jones/YouTube)The episode, which can be seen at this link, ends with Jones shooting an alligator who was caught on a baited hook in the head as her guide holds it up about six inches away from her. She’s careful to thank her Remington, a nod to the show’s sponsor.

  • (Kendall Jones/YouTube)The American alligator was taken off the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered Species List in 1987, and is actually faring pretty well. But hunting methods like baited hooks have been criticized before as inhumane ways of killing the animals. During alligator hunts, a short wooden peg is usually attached to a line, baited with beef or roadkill and then thrown into the water or tied to a branch to lure the alligator. Because take isn’t allowed after sunset, it’s possible that alligators will have to spend the entire night on a line before they’re shot with a gun or bow and arrow.

    When Jones was attacked for hunting big game in Africa, a petition started by a Cape Town native calling on her to be banned from hunting in African states gained over 150,000 signatures. Another petition asked Facebook to remove her grisly hunting photos — which they eventually ended up doing. No word yet on whether YouTube will do the same thing.

    Hunter Encourages 11-Year-Old Son To Kill Rare Albino Deer

    https://www.thedodo.com/hunter-encourages-11-year-old–775070621.html?utm_source=ahiaFb

     By Stephen Messenger

    An 11-year-old boy in Michigan had an encounter last week with one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights — an albino deer, alive and free in the wild. Only about one in 20,000 deer are born with albinism, and far fewer survive to maturity like this one had.

    But the boy was on no nature walk; he was on a hunting trip with his father, and the rare deer wouldn’t survive the day.

    Warning: Graphic image below

    With the encouragement of his father, Mick Dingman, the sixth-grader steadied his crossbow and fired a fatal shot through the deer’s lungs, besmirching that snow-white coat with the spill and splatter of blood. The rare animal had been seen by folks around town leading up to that moment, but now this deer was the Dingmans’ alone.

    Dingman tells the Livingston Daily that he plans to commemorate the killing by getting the 12-pointed buck mounted by a taxidermist: “It’s too rare and too pretty not to spend the extra money and have the whole thing done.”

    “[My son] kind of feels like a rock star right now,” says Dingman, adding that the youth’s supposed accomplishment has caught the attention of hunting magazines, who are interested in sharing the story. But not everyone is so excited.

    (Facebook/Mick Dingman)

    Amy Sprecher, in neighboring Wisconsin, runs a white deer protection group composed of hunters and non-hunters who are opposed to killing albinos — and she says stories like this are “maddening.”

    “It’s just wrong. I don’t understand why’d you’d want to take that animal away from everybody,” Sprecher told The Dodo. “There are people who want to hunt white deer for bragging rights, but that’s not what hunting is about. Hunters that would never shoot a white deer don’t understand these people either.”

    And Sprecher is not alone in her outrage. Not long after the Livingston Daily posted this photo and story online, readers began expressing anger.

    “Wouldn’t you much rather observe something so rare again year after year than just stare at this giant full mounted carcass for the rest of your life?” writes Christina Brown.

    “This deer was in our backyard in the spring and my wife took a picture. All of the people near us wanted to only shoot pictures, not the deer. We aren’t anti hunting but instead wanted this rare deer to be able to spread his genes so his legacy lives on after he died of a natural cause,” writes Tim Reinert.

    Given the rarity of albino deer, four states, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and Wisconsin, have made it illegal to kill them. Critics have argued that laws protecting white deer are based more on emotion than science — arguing that albinism is a genetic disorder, not something to be cherished — but emotions surrounding white deer is certainly nothing new.

    According to Native American tradition, white deer, like the one killed by Mick Dingman’s son, are one of the most sacred creatures on the planet.

    “Albino animals are looked at as a spirit animal, which you are suppose to learn from rather than shoot and kill,” Jonnie J. Sam, from Michigan’s Ottawa Indian tribe, told The Dodo.

    “I’d be more inclined to see if the animal has something to teach me, but sadly not everybody looks at it that way.”

    Petition: WWF: End your Partnership with the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby

    Yolanda Kakabadse: WWF’s International President and USAID: WWF: End your Partnership with the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby G

    Yolanda Kakabadse: WWF’s International President and USAID: WWF: End your Partnership with the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby G
    100,000
    5,242

    5,242 signers. Let’s reach 100,000

    Why this is important to me

    The World Wildlife Fund in Africa, is in bed with the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby Groups: DSC, SCI and NRA. They have vested interests because they are controlling funding streams and imposing their Hunting Agendas first. Which, means they are directly influencing and manipulating ALL the African Countries to maintain a Trophy Hunting Stance.
    Please sign this very important petition. We need to raise awareness to STOP the corruption in the WWF in Africa. They are blatantly exaggerating critically endangered wildlife population numbers and data, they are misusing global WWF Charity Donations, whilst, creating opportunities for the Trophy Hunting Industries in Africa to flourish.

    This wildlife holocaust is causing human incurable diseases. ‘Ebola’ is spreading across Africa and soon the rest of the world.

    Evidence : Uncontrollabled Hunting Leads to New Deadly Diseases including Ebola : http://en.ria.ru/eco_plus/20140906/192693219/Uncontrolled-Hunting-Leads-to-New-Deadly-Diseases-Including.html

    The African Ecosystem is breaking down as Trophy Hunters have massacred and over-hunted wild animals for over 50 years.

    The USA Trophy Hunting businesses and the members of the USA Pro-Hunting Lobby Groups alongside the Poachers are now standing side-by-side massacring the Wild Animals into extinction.

    The destruction of the natural world in Africa is supported by WWF Charity Donations, which is directly threatening the African Tribal People’s health and their future because they are dependant upon the Natural World to survive. …

    Petition and More:

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Yolanda_Kakabadse_is_WWFs_International_President_and_USAID_WWF_End_your_partnership_with_the_USA_ProHunting_Lobby_Group/?dJiBYcb&pv=37

    ‘Breeding factory for trophy hunters’

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/09/09/breeding-factory-for-trophy-hunters

    Gareth Wilson | 09 September, 2014

    Lions and tigers from Port Elizabeth’s Seaview Predator Park are being sold to game farms known for hunting and the exporting of animal bones.

    And one of the farms has been linked to Laos-based Xaysavang Network, which has been described “as one of the most prolific international wildlife trafficking syndicates in operation”.

    Although the park has refused to comment, Eastern Cape department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo has confirmed that:

    • The park has sent 22 lions to Cradock hunting reserve Tam Safaris since 2008; and
    • Two tigers have been sent from the park to the country’s leading bone exporter, Letsatsi la Africa, in the Free State since 2008. Nine lions were sent last year.

    Last week, Somyo responded to questions by the DA’s chief whip in Bhisho, Bobby Stevenson, regarding the transportation of lions and tigers in and around South Africa.

    The revelations come after the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality refused to give Seaview Predator Park an annual rates rebate earlier this year, saying it could not be sure the park was not participating in “canned hunting”.

    Earlier this year, the Weekend Post revealed television show hosts, major league sports stars, wealthy entrepreneurs and a former US Congressman were among those who had hunted at the family-run Tam Safaris.

    Departmental permits indicate there have been 86 lion hunts at the reserve over the past six years.

    Tam Safaris owner Irvin Tam confirmed it had bought lions from Seaview Predator Park, owned by Janice and Rusty Gibbs.

    “I have an agreement with them but can assure you that none of these lions from Seaview are used for hunting.

    ”They are specifically used to breed and bring new blood into our breeding projects,” he said.

    “Those lions are then either sold or used for hunting.

    “I must stress again that all our hunts are legal and completely by the book.”

    Tam Safaris exported 32 lion carcasses to Vietnam in 2011, 738kg of lion bones and teeth in 2012 and 459kg of lion bones, claws and teeth last year.

    Letsatsi la Africa has been linked to the Laos-based Xaysavang Network by former Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

    The network has also been described as “one of the most prolific international wildlife trafficking syndicates in operation” by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

    Letsatsi la Africa owner Jacobus van der Westhuizen refused to comment on his company’s links with Seaview Predator Park.

    “It has nothing to do with you. Ask them [Seaview] if you want to know why.”

    Several requests for a meeting with Seaview Predator Park were turned down but park owner Janice Gibbs said in an e-mail: “I trust you enjoyed your visit to the Park yesterday. We do not wish to comment to the media who publish untruths and are very biased.”

    The department’s findings come as no surprise to Chris Mercer of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, who said the lion trade was fuelled by parks that disguised “lion breeding factories” as petting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

    “We have proved that the entire industry is corrupt, full of liars and just toxic. This now proves the known link between bone exporters, canned hunters and the petting industry.

    “The bottom line is that these breeders are outsourcing their lions to petting zoos to generate money and when the lions are big enough they get exchanged with cubs and sent to hunting farms,” Mercer said.

    “This proves that cub petting parks sell their lions for canned hunting and are fuelling the market. They constantly hide behind smoke screens but we all know that cub petting is feeding the canned industry.

    “What else happens to the lions? They [predator parks] are breeding factories who pose as conservationists but are really feeding the lion bone and canned industry.”

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    Everything You Do Leaves an Impact, so You Might as Well Be an Ass-teroid

    One of hunters’ favorite fallacies these days is some form of the (il)logic that everything you do affects something in some way so you might just as well hunt down big “game.” It’s the same school of thought as, you can never be completely vegan so what’s the point in choosing not to eat animals?

    Apparently some folks, with nothing better to do, have been staying up nights wracking their brains to come up with as many ways imaginable that non-hunters, or even vegans, might inadvertently kill animals. Not because these spin-doctors really care about anything except themselves, but because it’s easier to try to break down someone else’s resolve than to look at ones’ own intentional acts of—or collaboration in—cruelty.

    After all, nature’s cruel, so you might as well be the cruelest, right? And as long as someone eats who you kill, it’s almost sacred, or something, isn’t it? (But, as PETA put it, “Did the fact that Jeffrey Dahmer ate his victims justify his crimes? What is done with the corpse after a murder doesn’t lessen the victim’s suffering.”)

    It’s like saying, you’ll never be Jesus so what’s the point of trying to live the best life you can? Sort of a variation of Lucifer’s “…better to lead in Hell…” credo.

    How’s that working out, Satan? Hot enough for you down there?

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