Killing Of Huge Elephant In Zimbabwe Reignites Controversy Over Trophy Hunters

JONATHAN TURLEY

2D739ACD00000578-3274724-image-a-3_1444938537122We recently followed the controversy over the shooting of “Cecil the Lion” by an American dentist Walter Palmer from Minnesota. What was most striking was the complete disconnect in how such kills are seen by hunters versus the public at large, as shown by the subsequent controversy of a Idaho hunter taunting animal advocates. A new such controversy has emerged after a German hunter celebrated the killing of one of the largest elephant ever seen In Zimbabwe at the Gonarezhou National Park. The magnificent animal was estimated to be 40 and 60 years old with tusks that almost touch the ground and weigh 120lb. Again, the difference in how this killing is viewed is fascinating. Hunters celebrated the kill while many in the public were appalled that this hunter would pay tens of thousands of dollars to travel to Africa and shot such a beautiful and inspiring animal.

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10 thoughts on “Killing Of Huge Elephant In Zimbabwe Reignites Controversy Over Trophy Hunters

  1. I wonder how deep the controversy over Cecil really went. On 10/07 MSNBC aired “Blood Lions,” a documentary about the ugly business of canned hunting. I thought the Internet would light up the next day. I haven’t seem much of anything. The last time I looked at Huffington Post I was one of only two people who had commented there. There are articles on Dodo and other animal rights sites, but I don’t see much from the general public who became so incensed about Cecil. Short memories or not enough advertising for the documentary?

  2. So true. This society (as most) is a short-attention span one. It reflects the inability of Homo sapiens to reach any in-depth of feeling, empathy for other living beings. I think the only thing we, who care can do, is e-mail, call these “media” entities and let them know what we think. As this planet becomes more inhospitable to life, humans will turn into themselves, their needs, and not want to look at the horrible ugliness. I know too many people who say “ooh, I just can’t hear that or see that–it’s too upsetting”. This is really 1984, now revisited, and in more modern form, don’t you think?

    • We’re already at the point where trolls on animal sites complain that we care more about animals than about starving and downtrodden people. How much worse will it be as the droughts and wars spread and the oceans rise and conditions get worse. The part played by countries overpopulating themselves will be taboo to mention.

      Yes, we need to keep on fighting back. When polls indicate that, for example, 85% of the people questioned object to wolf hunting it means that democracy doesn’t always work unless the voters have the same passion, persistence, and dedication as the hunters and gun groups have. They never give up. The 2nd amendment is about the most important thing in their lives. They are relentless in fighting any attempts to encroach on the right to own firearms. They will fight just as hard to maintain their right to hunt. They are motivated enough financially to support big organizations like the NRA and the International Safari Club, along with multiple regional hunting groups, who promote their cause. They donate to the legislators who will vote their way. They pay the big bucks for licenses that help support fish and wildlife services, who, in turn, will advocate the science of management by death. Those who object to the exploitation and abuse of animals need the same passion and purpose.

      Fortunately, we have the Internet. YouTube videos can counteract the regular media who are afraid of showing animal abuse–such as that revealed by Mercy for Animals on factory farms–because people will be outraged. Unfortunately, many people are angry that the news and graphics upset them, not that criminals are harming animals. The rest of us can direct our anger to the fight.

  3. You have to wonder why it is that people need to do this. And still say it is ‘good’ for wildlife when their populations are dwindling! Handshakes over a dead elephant is creepy and reeks of colonialism – and these African outfitters are traitors to their history and country.

    • You know what this just reminded me of? All of that bullsh*t from the ‘neo-conservationists’ about how traditional conservation is based on elitist concepts. You can’t get much more elitist and oppressive than the Great White Hunter, and for people to embrace that is sickening. We’ve entered the propaganda age where if you just repeat something often enough, people will believe anything.

      • Like an act of communal self-hypnosis. Say it often enough and it is true. I wonder if the kind of news we are getting today also plays a part. People can create their own echo chambers by selecting the talk shows or networks of those who spin the “news” in the direction they like. Opinions become “facts,” and rationalization becomes “reason.” In the new conservation, the hunters can go killing and then congratulate themselves for doing the species a favor.

  4. The only rational sanctions for recreational killers like Knowlton, Bachman, Palmer, and now this unknown German elephant assassin are incarceration or death. Either option would have two immediate and salutary effects: first and foremost it would prevent any more wild animals from falling to their guns and second it would help in some small way to redress a grotesque imbalance in the scales of universal justice, assuming such a thing even exists. Since the legal system, stacked as it is (and ever will be) in favor of humans, cannot be relied upon to neutralize these enemies of the natural world, what does that leave us with? Putting any faith in a country like Zimbabwe, accurately described by one wag on the Internet as a third world mob run by savages catering to first world monsters, to constrain these psychopaths is a pipedream. The mantra of those serious about preserving what little wildlife the planet has left should be “kill the killers before they can kill again.” With the Earth’s biodiversity melting away before our eyes like butter in an oven and many of the planet’s ecosystems practically on life-support, now is not the time to eschew radical solutions That these murderous psychopaths even after being exposed for all to see still walk freely among us, unmolested, indicates that no one is seriously up to the task of saving the Earth and its wild creatures. If ever there were an example of treating a cancer patient with aspirin and hoping for a miraculous turnaround, the current crop of “environmentalists” is it.

    • I agree. Animals receive virtually no moral consideration or legal protection. They cannot organize and they have no wealth. Thus they are powerless and at the mercy of a species that seems like an evolutionary monstrosity whose final role will be to destroy the planet. I used to think that we just needed to get serious about animal abuse, pass laws without loopholes, strictly enforce then, and impose severe penalties on the guilty.

      But I read the other day that nearly 500 young Mozambicans were killed In the last few years for poaching in Kruger Park! So even death is not a deterrent to the bribery, greed, arrogance, and corruption. Then what . . .?

      I just hope that everyone who cares about justice for the other creatures on this earth will soldier on and not give up. Even one animal saved is a miracle for that one, considering the odds.

  5. Well said, Geoff! And such punishment should include those rancher/hunters here in The West (& elsewhere in the myopic U.S.), who shoot/trap, poison wolves, coyotes, & other wild animals.
    Here in NM, for example, the Mexican Wolf reintroduction has ground to a halt because of rancher/hunters who have a long-standing hatred of any wild carnivores, & who will slaughter them at the drop of a hat. Those of us here who have not capitulated, genuflected to the Enemy, are saying that if wolves are to be reintroduced, they MUST be protected from the killers, by armed law enforcement. The livestock industry has declared war on these species, and none of them will ever be allowed to have peace, until we get these moochers of public lands–at the very least start with this.

    http://www.foranimals.org

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