About Exposing the Big Game

Jim Robertson

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Hunters are livid over Trump’s elephant trophy decision

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/11/20/hunters-are-livid-over-trumps-elephant-trophy-decision/?utm_term=.b95131272568
 November 20 at 5:24 PM

A herd of elephants stands near a water hole in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, east of Harare, in September 2013. Zimbabwean ivory poachers killed more than 80 elephants by poisoning water holes with cyanide that year, endangering one of the world’s biggest herds. (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

President Trump’s announcement that he is delaying a decision on allowing elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe drew angry reactions from hunting groups and reignited a heated debate over whether killing iconic animals is the best way to manage their shrinking populations.

Last week, the Trump administration announced it would reverse a ban on trophy imports from Zimbabwe that had been imposed by the Obama administration. Two days later, however, Trump tweeted that elephant hunting is a “horror show” and suggested he would maintain the ban.

Hunters have criticized the decision to delay ending the ban. In voicing their indignation, hunters were careful not to blame the president. Instead, one of the largest and more recognized groups, Safari Club International, issued a call to arms against “hysterical anti-hunters and news media outlets” that “went into overdrive, attacking everyone in sight, including the Trump administration, SCI and even the National Rifle Association of America” after the decision was announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last Wednesday.

The Safari Club said the hold is the result of “shrill, negative reactions.” It asked supporters to use its “action center” to call in and tell Trump how much they appreciate the finding that Zimbabwe had enhanced its program to protect elephants, paving the way for allowing trophies of legally hunted elephants to be imported. SCI did not respond to requests for comment.

Mmmm…OK I’ll take it (let’s just shut up and not ask questions on this one guys, ‘K?) https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/931685146415255552 

Little known fact about Trump — he actually opposes hunting! Here are his tweets criticizing his kids for big-game hunting in 2012. pic.twitter.com/vdM2X8YrIX

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Seventy percent of hunters who pay up to $20,000 for permits to legally harvest elephants are American, according to Campfire, a group in Zimbabwe that manages its elephant hunting program. The program’s revenue dropped from an average of $2 million per year before the ban in 2014 to $1.73 million last year, Charles Jonga, Campfire’s director, said in an email.

Jonga joined hunters in blaming Trump’s decision on others. “This is certainly not about President Trump’s reaction,” he said, “but about animal welfare lobbyists who have nothing to show for their misplaced belief that they can dictate to African rural communities how they should share their living space with wildlife.”

Trump tweeted Friday that he would put off a decision until he could meet with Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke, an avid hunter and trophy collector, later issued a statement on Interior’s website and tweeted that he agreed with the president.

Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!

During the Obama administration, Fish and Wildlife had questioned Campfire’s management and how much revenue was devoted to the conservation of elephants. Animal rights groups such as the Humane Society International said much of the funding was lost to corruption. The arrest of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, within days of the Trump administration’s favorable finding raised concerns.

Elephant hunting trophies are allowed to be imported to the United States from two other African countries, South Africa and Namibia. Another country, Zambia, was given the green light by the Fish and Wildlife Service last week. The current controversy focuses on the import of trophies from Zimbabwe.

On Monday, two environmental groups sued the Trump administration over the move to end the ban, which they called contrary to the slow and deliberate process called for under the Endangered Species Act, which lists African elephants as threatened.

“Trump’s abrupt backpedaling after public outcry, while appreciated, shows how arbitrary this deplorable decision was,” Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “These incredibly imperiled creatures need a lot more than vague promises.”

The Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council drew on Zimbabwe’s troubles in the announcement of their lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. To arrive at an enhanced finding that elephant herds are well managed, Fish and Wildlife must rely on “Zimbabwe having the plans, resources, funds, and staff to conserve elephant and lion populations.”

“But . . . corruption is already a huge concern” due to the ouster of Mugabe. Also, the groups noted, “Zimbabwe scored an abysmal 22 out of 100 on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index.

“Poaching elephants for their ivory remains a significant threat in Zimbabwe. According to aerial surveys — known as the Great Elephant Census — Zimbabwe’s elephant population decreased 6 percent between 2001 and 2013, when the aerial surveys were performed.” They went on to point out that controversies over animal killing often arise in Zimbabwe, where Cecil the Lion was illegally tracked, shot with an arrow and killed by an American hunter.

Elly Pepper, deputy director of a wildlife trade initiative and program at NRDC, called Trump’s announcement a pleasant surprise but said he needs to do more. “These tweets are still really ambiguous,” she said. “And tweets don’t have any legal authority. We want to make sure that the administration doesn’t have its cake and eat too. We want to ensure they aren’t going to quietly start issuing trophy permits and enjoy public support because their tweets indicated they oppose trophy hunting.”

Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said his organization plans to work with Trump without taking legal action. But Pacelle questioned the idea of killing elephants to conserve them.

“Botswana disallowed all trophy hunting, and Botswana has more elephants by a long shot than every other country,” Pacelle said. “It’s recognized that this would damage the brand of the nation. Trophy hunting subtracts animals from nature. It diminishes the value of animal populations.”

During the controversy in 2015 over allowing a rhinoceros hunter to import the trophy head of a rhinoceros he planned to kill in Namibia, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said concern over the act confused illegal poaching with well-managed hunting tourism.

“Well-managed trophy hunting has little to do with poaching, and indeed can be a key tool to help combat it,” the union said in a statement. Without it, African conservationists “would not be able to employ the upwards of 3,000 field rangers employed to protect wildlife and enforce regulations.” Namibia’s conservation is viewed by Fish and Wildlife as one of most responsible such programs in Africa.

Pacelle dismissed this type of argument. Hunters never say “we want to trophy hunt because we want to mount the head,” Pacelle said. “They always apply something to it. They could just give the money for conservation. But they want something out of it.”

In a year that saw the Ringling Bros. Circus fold after a century and a half following an outcry over its treatment of animals, the nation is experiencing a major shift in tolerance, according to Pacelle.

“That was a marker of how our attitudes have evolved toward elephants. We don’t want to see anyone chain them and have them perform silly stunts,” he said. “It’s worse to shoot them in the head.”

Read More

Animal activists finally have something to applaud at Ringling Bros.: Its closure

Before elephants, Trump loosened limits on lion trophies

Lions are raised to be shot in South Africa. American hunters love it.

Norway court grants reprieve to seven wolves

https://phys.org/news/2017-11-norway-court-grants-reprieve-wolves.html

November 21, 2017
There are between 105 and 112 wolves in Norway
There are between 105 and 112 wolves in Norway

A Norwegian court on Tuesday granted a reprieve to seven wolves near Oslo caught in the middle of a battle between environmental activists and sheep farmers.

The Oslo district  granted a request from the Norwegian branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and issued an injunction temporarily stopping the hunt of 12  in the Oslo region—five of which have already been killed—pending a final decision on the matter.

The number of wolves in the Scandinavian country is modest—between 105 and 112 individuals, according to the latest count—and the species is listed as being at risk of extinction. But its current population is above the target set by Norway’s parliament.

This winter, regional wildlife management authorities gave the go ahead to the culling of 50 wolves. While the final number still depends on a government decision, the announcement caused an uproar among animal rights activists.

Tuesday’s court  concerns only Oslo and its surrounding regions in southeastern Norway. The hunting of 14 other wolves will still be allowed in the rest of the country. One of them has already been killed.

WWF Norway has sued the state over its wolf policy, which it argues violates the country’s laws and constitution, as well as the Bern Convention on nature conservation.

The Oslo court will rule on that matter at a later, as yet unspecified date.

According to WWF, wolves account for just 1.3 percent of deaths in sheep flocks, which also fall victim to accidents and other predators such as wolverines, lynx, eagles and bears.

 Explore further: Uproar as Norway paves way for hunting wolves

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-norway-court-grants-reprieve-wolves.html#jCp

In the Eyes of the Hunted, There’s No Such Thing as an “Ethical Hunter”

Exposing the Big Game

Enough of this championing one type of hunter over the other already! It just helps perpetuate the myth of the “ethical hunter.” You’re more likely to see a UFO land in the middle of a crop circle than to meet a hunter who is truly ethical to the animals he kills. How can tracking down an inoffensive creature and blasting it out of existence ever really be ethical anyway? No matter how a hunter may rationalize, or claim to give thanks to the animal’s spirit, the dying will never see their killer’s acts as the least bit honorable.

I’m sure Ted Nugent considers himself an ethical hunter. Hell, Ted Bundy likely thought himself an ethical serial killer. But to their victims they’re just murderous slobs. Likewise, Teddy Roosevelt—who, in his two-volume African Game Trails, lovingly muses over shooting elephants, hippos, buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, zebras, hartebeest, impalas, pigs…

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A Field Guide to the North American Hunter

Exposing the Big Game

People tend to paint all wildlife-killers with a single brush stroke, referring to them all simply as “hunters.” Yet close scientific observation reveals that there are at least five different categories, or sub-species, of the mutation of Homo sapiens known as the North American hunter (Homo hunter horribilis). Oddly, members of some sub-species don’t like to be associated with others. They can’t all be bad apples, can they? Read on…

1) Sport Hunter

This category can actually be applied to all the other sub-species, including theimagesD5ZT7PC1 universally maligned trophy hunter, as well as the so-called subsistence hunter, since nearly no one in this day and age really has to kill wild animals to survive anymore. Lately we’ve been hearing from a lot of hunter apologists quick to make a distinction between sport and subsistence hunters. Truth is there’s not all that much difference between the two. Sport hunters and subsistence hunters…

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Some People Simply Like to Kill Other Animals

Exposing the Big Game

In the title of an October 2ndpost to his blog column in Psychology Today, University of Colorado evolutionary biology professor Marc Bekoff, PhD, asked, “Do Some People Simply Like to Kill Other Animals?”

The answer seems to me a foregone conclusion.

Bekoff writes, “Many know that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, made a pledge in May 2011 only to eat meat he hunted so that he could be ‘thankful for the food I have to eat.’ Of course, it’s not obvious that he has to eat other animals… Surely, in the arena of who, not what, winds up in our mouth, Mr. Zuckerberg and others are not my moral compass. It’s always good to remember that a significant percentage of the food we eat was once sentient beings who cared deeply about what happened to them and to their friends and family. They should be referred to…

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The Infertile Union

Exposing the Big Game

So you don’t get the idea I go around unfairly picking on small grassroots groups, here’s an excerpt from my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, wherein I take on the Goliath of all national green groups for siding with hunting…

Sport hunters have enjoyed so much laudation of late they’re beginning to cast themselves as conservation heroes. What’s worse is that many modern, influential green groups are swallowing that blather, hook, line and sinker. Maybe they ought to reread the words of Sierra Club founder, John Muir:

“Surely a better time must be drawing nigh when godlike human beings will become truly humane, and learn to put their animal fellow mortals in their hearts instead of on their backs or in their dinners. In the meantime we may just as well as not learn to live clean, innocent lives instead of slimy, bloody ones. All…

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Hunt the Hunters Hunting Licenses

Exposing the Big Game

Satire, by Jim Robertson (with a nod to the late Cleveland Amory, author of Mankind?: Our Incredible War on Wildlife and founder of the Hunt the Hunters300807_10150348639491188_858580348_n Hunt Club):
In a comment on one of the many tragic hunting accidents I’ve blogged about lately, a gentle reader mentioned there should be a hunt the hunters hunting season, to which another compassionate soul replied, “I’d contribute to that.”

We’ve all heard (ad nauseam) hunters boast that their license fees pay for wildlife programs, implying that it entitles them to kill the subjects of their alleged generosity—of course hunters don’t contribute out of the kindness of their hearts or their profound love for living animals. This got me to thinking we need a non-hunter license and tag system that emulates hunter tags, to finally put to rest this notion that hunters alone pay for wildlife through their consumptive use licenses. There…

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Be Thankful for Hunting Accidents

Exposing the Big Game

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

In response to a favorable comment to a post about a goose hunter who shot his 45 year old son in a hunting accident, one Facebook reader replied:

“I find it disheartening that so many anti-hunters take such psychotic joy in the death of human beings…I find this sort of cheerleading just as bad as the hunters that flaunt their kills. Show some compassion for a change.”

To which I responded, “It’s not that anti-hunters don’t have any compassion; just that their limited supply of it is focused on the original victims (in this case the geese). As police reported about the incident, ‘The two had Canadian Geese decoys spread out in front of their blind…’ Yes, this was a tragedy for the hunters…but they were out there to cause pain, suffering and death for an untold number of geese—a gentle species who care…

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A Memorial for Victims of the War on Wildlife

Exposing the Big Game

For twenty-some years I lived in a remote cabin in Washington’s North Cascades mountains. My place was the last human inhabitance on a gravel forest service road that dead-ended at the Lake Chelan Saw-tooth Wilderness boundary. Almost no one drove out that way and far fewer ever stopped in to visit, so I was surprised one autumn morning when a truck drove down my long, dusty driveway.

It turned out to be a young hunter who frantically explained that he just shot his father in law (mistaking him for a deer) and asked to use my phone. I told him I was sorry, but the nearest telephone was at my neighbor’s, two miles downriver. He raced off to call for an ambulance, but it was too late. Like so many hunting accidents, this one proved fatal for the victim.

It’s a sad story that’s played out again and again—a woman…

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