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.

Advertisements

Elephants legalise the squishing of wealthy thrill-killing arseholes

http://newsthump.com/2017/11/17/elephants-legalise-the-squishing-of-wealthy-thrill-killing-arseholes/

The African Pachyderm Organisation stunned conservationists by ending a long-standing moratorium on the crushing of rich tossers who think slaughtering rare wildlife somehow makes up for the loveless pantomime that is their life.

Tembo, a Tanzanian bull elephant and PR director for the APO, denied the move was linked to the steady increase of privileged bellends called Troy or Donald Jr going to Africa and pretending that shooting a large animal from the safety of a Land Rover is a life-affirming experience.

He explained, “We are doing it to enhance the ecological health of the Rich Prick subspecies, particularly in America.

“They have been too long removed from having to fend for themselves and the degeneracy is showing. We are seeing highly aggressive behaviour combined with physical cowardice and horrendous mating habits based on intimidation and humiliation. A cull is long overdue.”

Tembo also denied the unrestricted squishing of narcissist wankers emulating Hemingway would hurt the tourist trade in already impoverished countries.

He went on, “Quite the opposite. The end of restrictions will mean great windfalls for local communities.

“The APO is fully committed to the principles of Sustainable Squishing. Our crushers work with rural humans to track and bait the trigger-happy fuckwits with promises of macabre selfies next to dead apex predators.

“Tribal elders are always consulted to help select the most egregious gun-nuts for a good trampling.

“The locals take all the spoils and a share of the squishing fee. Did you know that the personal effects of a Florida orthodontist can buy a whole new schoolhouse for a Zambian village?”

Donald Threw His Sons a Bone.

As you’ve probably heard by now, U.S. President Donald Trump just threw his trophy-hunting, bloodthirsty billionsire sons a major bone by making HUNTING AFRICAN ANIMALS AND BRINGING THEIR HEADS TO THE U.S. IS LEGAL AGAIN.

What a thoutful early Christmas gift from daddy dearest to do for a pair of savage sons, one of whom was quoted recently enjoying the sport of hunting [and therefore, presumably, killing] even better than golfing.

But what if one of them were to follow in daddy’s footsteps and get themselves elected president, as Geoge W. Bush did?

In other words, What If Junior Takes Over?

A scary thought indeed–especially for the wildlife!

The Only Way To Stop The Decline Of Hunting

https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2017/10/31/the-only-way-to-stop-the-decline-of-hunting/

 
Hunting is in decline. We’ve all seen and heard the depressing numbers. Many of us have given talks and written articles espousing the benefits of the outdoor lifestyle and encouraging the next generation to seek adventures that can only be experienced afield. We scream from the rafters, “Hunters are the real conservationists!!” While our messages are true, they’re falling on deaf ears. Our increasingly urbanized society moves on about their busy lives disconnected from the world we live in.

There are many reasons for society’s indifference. Demographics have changed; access has changed; economic reasoning has changed; policies and laws have changed. But most impactful to all of this is the emotionally charged and well-orchestrated attack on our hunting culture and traditions by animal rights organizations.

While we have all been preaching to the congregation and spending our time building better habitat for the wild lands we love, groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have been vilifying the language of hunting, giving names to beasts, working hard to give a human voice and human rights to deer, antelope and bears. They have convinced segments of society that “survival of the fittest” no longer exists in the wild. Rhetorically, they’ve begun to turn the order of life upside down. Make no mistake, all forms of hunting are in their crosshairs—it is not just lions, elephants and bears; it is pheasants and ducks, deer, elk and turkey … everything.

Make no mistake, all forms of hunting are in their crosshairs—it is not just lions, elephants and bears; it is pheasants and ducks, deer, elk and turkey … everything.

We can no longer afford to spend the majority of our time focusing on our individual corners of the hunting community. We’re all doing great work, but we’re spending too much time focused on the “trees.” Meanwhile groups like PETA, HSUS and plenty more are focused on eliminating the entire “forest.” They’re united, taking us on with well-coordinated and well-funded campaigns with a message that all hunting is evil and corrupt.

This battle will be won or lost on emotion, played out in the court of public opinion. Right now, we’ve lost ground in this battle because we’re not even in the courtroom. While we passionately debate positions on hunting practices amongst ourselves, the anti-hunting community closes in on eliminating our lifestyle.

Now is the time for us to come together as one community of hunters. We all need to exchange ideas and find common ground on messaging, strategy and tactics. We must work as peers, utilizing our individual organizations’ strengths and circles of influence to present ourselves to society in a positive manner.

But most importantly, we must all be on the same page, and move forward with solidarity.

Why is this important to an NRA member? There is an old saying: A right not exercised is a right that ceases to exist. Hunting is a primary way many Americans use their firearms. It is our Second Amendment right to own firearms that guarantees our freedom to hunt. Unlike any other nation in the world, we have this freedom because our Second Amendment right guarantees the personal ownership and use of firearms. Every freedom-loving gun owner needs to become a voice for the American hunter.

As Ronald Reagan famously encouraged, “There is no limit to the amount of good you [we] can do if we don’t care who gets the credit.” Partnering with other organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Dallas Safari Club, Shikar, the Boone and Crockett Club and many more, the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum stands ready to serve as a unifying voice for the hunting community. Along with NRA’s American Hunter, the NRA HLF promotes the active, adventure-filled lifestyle of hunting and, most critically, defends our freedom to hunt. Educate yourself with great resources found at nratv.com and nrahunting.com.

NRA First Vice President Richard Childress and I will travel the country over the next year to speak to various pro-hunting organizations, to galvanize support for our cause. I look forward to encouraging everyone to visit our websites and become informed on these issues.

It is increasingly critical for individuals, leaders and organizations in the hunting community to come together on this issue. All of us together present a very powerful voice for the hunting community. Every freedom-loving gun owner needs to become a voice for the American hunter.

Poachers target Africa’s lions, vultures with poison

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/poachers-target-africas-lions-vultures-with-poison/

By

JOHANNESBURG — Hundreds of vultures in Namibia died after feeding on an elephant carcass that poachers had poisoned. Poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill dozens of elephants for their ivory tusks. In Mozambique three lions died after eating bait infused with a crop pesticide.

Poisoning Africa’s wildlife is an old practice, but conservationists fear such incidents are escalating in some areas, saying relatively easy access to agricultural chemicals and the surging illegal market for animal parts are increasing pressure on a number of already beleaguered species. The threat is compounded by the indiscriminate nature of killing with poison, in which a single contaminated carcass can take down a range of animals, particularly scavengers such as vultures.

This month, a continent-wide database was launched to gather data on wildlife poisoning and better understand a phenomenon that has been widely documented in southern Africa, where a reported 70 lions have been fatally poisoned in the last 18 months, according to managers. While the African Wildlife Poisoning Database lacks records from underreported areas including Central Africa, it dates to 1961 and lists nearly 300 poisoning incidents in 15 African countries that killed more than 8,000 animals from dozens of species, including leopards, hyenas, impalas, cranes and storks.

 “It’s still a big work in progress,” said Darcy Ogada, a Kenya-based database coordinator and assistant director of Africa programs at The Peregrine Fund, a conservation group. The goal, Ogada said, is to get governments to pay more attention to the “underground world” of wildlife poisoning that also threatens livestock, water sources and people who eat meat from birds and other poisoned animals.

Poachers with guns have killed hundreds of thousands of elephants and thousands of rhinos in Africa in past years, but wildlife traffickers have increasingly laced carcasses with poison to target vultures that circle overhead and can draw the attention of anti-poaching rangers. Previously, poisons such as strychnine were primarily used by farmers to kill jackals, wild dogs and other predators that attack livestock, though some landowners and communities have responded positively to anti-poison campaigns.

In 2013, between 400 and 600 vultures died after feeding on the poisoned carcass of an elephant that was killed for its ivory in Namibia’s Zambezi area, said Andre Botha, a poisoning database manager and special projects manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South African group.

“This is the highest number of vultures killed in a single poisoning incident that we have on the database to date,” Botha said.

 Some of Africa’s species of vulture, whose body parts are also precious in traditional medicine in parts of the continent, are listed as critically endangered. South Asian vulture populations are a fraction of what they were, largely because of feeding on carcasses of livestock treated with diclofenac, a veterinary drug that is toxic to vultures. Government bans on the drug, however, helped level those declines.

African lions are in peril partly because of human encroachment on habitats and the poaching of animals for food, which deprives lions of prey. The killing of lions by poison, once largely a result of livestock owners trying to protect their herds, appears to reflect growing local and Asian demand for lion claws, bones and other parts used in traditional medicine, according to Botha.

“What we see now is people purposely going out and targeting lions,” he said. Some 70 were poisoned in southern Africa since last year, Botha said. The database reports a total of 51 lion poisonings between 1980 and 2015.

In July, officials in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park on the border with South Africa found poacher tracks, bait laced with poison, and the carcasses of three lions and a hyena, according to the Peace Parks Foundation, which develops cross-border conservation areas. It said authorities believe poachers used a substance containing the pesticide aldicarb, which South Africa banned because of its environmental threat.

Another pesticide, carbofuran, is the “abused product of choice” in countries including Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya, said Tim Snow, a South African conservationist who helps train southern African rangers in how to deal with poisoning sites by wearing surgical gloves for their own safety and collecting samples for study in a laboratory.

Sign up for the Morning Brief

Delivered bright and early weekday mornings, this email provides a quick overview of top stories and need-to-know news.

He said poachers in Zimbabwe have killed more than 90 elephants since 2015 by poisoning water sources with cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold from ore. Authorities have seized cyanide stashes from vehicles at police roadblocks and a warehouse in Bulawayo city, Snow said.

Educating communities about the environmental fallout from poisoning wildlife is key, said Mark Anderson, CEO of BirdLife South Africa. Banning poisons, he said, has a limited impact because “there’s an unlimited supply and variety of poisons that can be used.”

How big game hunting is dividing southern Africa

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41163520

  • 10 September 2017
An elephant kicks up dust outside Kingspool Luxury Safari Camp in the Okanvango Delta on June 18, 2010Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Drifting down the Zambezi in Zimbabwe, I overheard two American men swapping hunting stories.

“First shot got him in the shoulder,” a white man in his late sixties explained to his friend. “Second hit him right in the side of the head!” Pointing at his temple, he passed his phone with a picture. The animal in question was a dead crocodile.

Crocodiles are easy to find on this part of the Zambezi: lying in the sun on the banks of the river, boats can float just a few feet away. And given that they are motionless for most of the time, not hard to shoot, I imagine.

The second American showed his pal a picture of a Cape Buffalo he had killed, and planned to have shoulder mounted. He complained he couldn’t afford the $19,000 (£14,500) Zimbabwe demands for the licence to kill an elephant. His buffalo cost him $8,000 (£6,100).

“Are they saying an elephant is worth more than two buffalo?” he lamented. “I saw hundreds of elephants today. Far too many. You have to see it here to realise. In California they are saying these animals are endangered!”

The first man’s wife then talked of the thrill she gets at the kill, discussing how different calibres of bullet explode the vital organs of African wildlife. I left to look at the hippos watching from the river.

A trophy hunting company welcomes customers in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Image captionA trophy hunting taxidermist welcomes customers in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

But, curiously, I have felt obliged to consider the ethics of big game hunting at home in London in the last few months.

I’m an Arsenal fan, and it recently emerged that my team’s owner, American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke, had launched a TV channel in the UK featuring lion and elephant hunting.

High profile supporters

The corporate values of family brand Arsenal do not sit easily with pay-to-view videos of hunters shooting animals for fun, and after a couple of days of hostile publicity, Kroenke ordered his channel to stop showing the killing of some big game.

But both sides in the hunting debate claim they are the true guardians of animal welfare.

Supporters of African trophy hunting, including some in very high places – two of President Trump’s sons are avid big game hunters – argue that a ban on hunting would harm wildlife and local people.

It would stop much needed revenue reaching some of Africa’s poorest communities, discourage conservation and cut funds for wildlife management that would make it easier for poachers to operate, they say.

Opponents counter that little of the profit from trophy hunting money ends up in the communities where it takes place. They say poachers use legal hunting as cover for their illegal activities, and argue that there are more efficient and humane ways to support the welfare of southern Africa’s animals and people.

I was travelling in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana last month – two countries with opposing policies towards big game hunters. Hunting is still big business in Zimbabwe, as the rich Americans on the Zambezi demonstrate, but since 2014 it has been completely banned in Botswana.

Majestic animals

The difference in approach between Botswana and its neighbours – South Africa, Namibia and Zambia also allow trophy hunting – was brought dramatically home to me in the country’s glorious Chobe National Park.

In the late afternoon, I watched a herd of around 600 Cape Buffalo snake its way down to the Chobe River that marks the boundary with Namibia. It was mesmerising to see these majestic animals following each other, nose to tail, across the water.

Cape Buffalo cross the Chobe River from Botswana into Namibia where hunters are waiting
Image captionCape Buffalo cross the Chobe River from Botswana into Namibia where hunters are waiting

Then my guide pointed out two vehicles on the horizon, across the river. “Hunters,” he explained, simply. Through the binoculars we could see six men with rifles. Apparently oblivious to the risk, the buffalo continued to cross the border towards them. Later, shots would be heard.

In a move interpreted as a direct challenge to the wildlife policies of other southern African nations, Botswana’s President Ian Khama is marching his country towards a new model of African tourism: “low impact/high value”.

Botswana believes that by protecting its animals and minimising humankind’s footprint on the natural world, it can turn the country into an exclusive tourist destination that brings in far more than it loses from the ban on hunting.

Hostile environment

Botswana is home to more than a third of Africa’s dwindling elephant population, and – since the hunting ban – these intelligent animals have increasingly sought refuge there.

The concentration of elephants is a huge draw for tourists but, as predicted by opponents of the ban, it is also a huge temptation for less scrupulous hunters and poachers.

Botswana’s answer is to make the country a hostile environment for those who want to harm the wildlife.

Military bases have been moved to the borders of the national parks. Armed patrols on foot and in the air are ready, if necessary, to kill people coming to kill animals. Some poachers have been shot dead.

The hunting ban doesn’t just apply to rich trophy hunters.

It also limits or outlaws the shooting of game by local people for food or to protect crops and livestock. The Botswana government believes if there is any legal shooting of animals, the big poaching syndicates and illegal hunting operations will use that as cover for their activities.

Farmer Chibeya Longwani shows me his bucket of tabasco chillies
Image captionFarmer Chibeya Longwani shows me his bucket of tabasco chillies

In Mabele village, close to the Namibian border, I watched a man mixing an extraordinary cocktail: crushed tabasco chillies, elephant dung and engine oil. With a flourish he set the contents on fire and stood back to admire his handiwork.

“That is supposed to stop an elephant trampling my crops,” Chibeya Longwani told me, pointing at the ash in the tin.

Compensation

He spread it along the sides of his field, beside plastic chairs, broken electric fans and beer crates, as instructed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“They said that bees stop elephants too,” Mr Longwani said. “But they don’t have the boxes at the moment.” His frustration was obvious.

As well as advice on deterring elephants, farmers can claim compensation from the government if wild game does damage property. But if they kill the animals, they are likely to get nothing.

Plastic refuse is used to try and deter elephants from farmland
Image captionPlastic refuse is used to try and deter elephants from farmland

To police the new approach, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks has recruited an army of Special Wildlife Scouts, operating in rural villages. Their job, for example, includes ensuring families don’t take more than the five guinea fowl they are allowed each day, and that farmers are honest in their compensation claims.

It is a nationwide exercise in social engineering – trying to change the ancient relationship between the rural population and the wild animals around them. The government believes the long-term rewards justify the rules. Many farmers remain unconvinced.

For those tourists coming to Botswana with cameras rather than guns though, the policies have created an utterly captivating wild landscape teeming with amazing African animals and birds. And “elite travellers” are prepared to pay big money for the privilege of seeing it.

Anti-poaching initiatives

During the high season, a single room in one of the most exclusive lodges on the Okovango Delta can cost more than $5,000 (£3,830) a night, equivalent to the price of a Namibian licence to shoot a single leopard.

Many tourist lodge operators work in partnership with local villages. I encountered one lodge where 10% of the business turnover will soon go to the community nearby. Villagers often have a direct say in development plans.

Cecil the lionImage copyrightPAULA FRENCH
Image captionThere was a huge backlash after the much-loved Zimbabwean lion Cecil was killed in 2015

International tourism is expected to bring in $210m (£160m) to Botswana this year, rising to $370m (£280) by 2021 – more than trophy hunters spend across the whole of southern Africa.

Many in Zimbabwe, by contrast, see hunting as an inextricable part of Africa’s cultural heritage, believing that, if done sustainably and responsibly, it can be a valuable addition to the region’s economy and wildlife management.

The walking guides who take tourists into the bush there aren’t allowed to operate until they have passed a state exam that includes shooting an elephant and a buffalo. I asked one guide how he had felt about doing it. “It depends if you like hunting,” was his enigmatic reply.

The Zimbabwean government argues that 75% of proceeds from trophy hunting goes towards wildlife preservation and anti-poaching initiatives.

Toxic impact

The recent Great Elephant Census project suggests Zimbabwe’s elephant population has fallen 11% in a decade, with poaching and illegal hunting threatening to wipe out whole herds in parts of the country.

The killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter just outside Zimbabwe’s protected Hwange National Park area in 2015 made headline news around the world.

The furore prompted a number of airlines to ban the transport of “trophies” from Africa, another sign of how toxic hunting has become for international brands.

Three years after introducing its hunting ban, Botswana is so far holding firm, despite huge pressure from other southern African nations.

It is a critical time for the policy. Any stumble, and the hunters are waiting on the horizon.

Another Win for the Elephants

by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson:

Big Game little dick Theunis Botha got himself trampled by an elephant he was about to murder earlier this year.

And this week, there has been another case of justifiable self defense by another elephant who dispatched an Argentinian nimrod named Jose Monzalvez in Namibia.

Mr. Monzalvez was an executive with an oil company whose idea of a neat holiday was to go to Africa to murder an African elephant.

He got more than he bargained for and as a result another big game hunter has been justifiably put down.

I especially love how one of the hunting party with Monzalvez stressed they had valid hunting licenses, as if the elephant had no right to kill a properly licensed hunter.

It’s been a good year for Biting Back, two matadors and two elephant hunters received the appropriate justice from their innocent victims.

African elephant populations have dropped from five million a century ago to around 400,000 today and still the psychopathic headhunters are allowed to ‘legally” continue to murder them.

I’m sure I will get some angry messages asking if I have any sympathy for his family? Don’t bother asking. I don’t. My sympathies lie 100% with the elephants.

Mr. Monzalvez wanted to play the big white hunter and his victim was not in the mood to play the part of the victim.

The media did not report that the elephant was shot so hopefully the elephant got away. I do hope so!

An Argentinian man has been killed in Namibia after he was trampled by an elephant, local media report. The Namibia Press Agency said the hunter, identified as 46-year-old Jose Monzalvez, was killed on Saturday afternoon in a private wildlife area 70…
INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

South African big game hunter crushed by elephant

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/22/theunis-botha-south-african-big-game-hunter-crushed-elephant/335673001/

CLOSE
17511 18LINKEDIN 287COMMENTMORE

A South African big game hunter was crushed to death by an elephant on a Zimbabwe game reserve, according to South African outlet News 24. 

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt when his group stumbled upon a breeding group of elephants at a game reserve near Hwange National Park Several on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Simukai Nyasha told The Telegraph.  The group of elephants charged at the group and the hunters shot at them, News 24 reported.

News 24 reported that Botha was crushed after one of the members of the group shot an elephant after she lifted Botha with her trunk. The elephant collapsed and fell on top of Botha, crushing him.

Theunis had five children and ran Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris. According to the website, Theunis “perfected leopard and lion hunting safaris with hounds in Africa.” He also pioneered European-style “Monteira hunts” in South Africa.

“Monteira hunts” include the use of packs of hounds to herd deer, boar or or other animals towards hunters who then shoot the animals.

According to News 24, Theunis often traveled to the U.S. to build business with wealthy Americans who were interested in a big game hunt in South Africa.

The news outlet reported that Theunis’ wife, Carika, will travel to Zimbabwe to identify her husband’s body on Monday.

11 Elephants Rescued from a mud hole

Asian elephants got stuck in a mud-filled old bomb crater in Cambodia. A collaborative rescue effort saved them all.

Our annual fund-raiser is here! Help EarthSky stay an independent voice.

On March 24, 2017, a collaborative effort between local farmers and conservationists saved 11 Asian elephants that had gotten stuck in a mud hole in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia.

The hole – a mud-filled old bomb crater that dates to the Vietnam War – had been enlarged by farmers to store water. Its roughly 10-foot (3-meter) walls were too high for the elephants to scale and, as the mud dried, the elephants became further entrenched.

When the farmers discovered the elephants, they notified the Department of Environment, who in turn notified the World Conservation Society (WCS) to mobilize a rescue.

The elephants, before they were freed. Image via Wildlife Conservation Society.

The team helped water and feed the elephants to hold them over while a ramp was constructed for the elephants to escape.

A few hours after the work began, all were free.

The rescue averted what would have been a tragedy, said Tan Setha, WCS Technical Advisor to the protected area. Setha said in a statement:

This herd consisted of three adult females and eight juveniles of various ages, including a male that had almost reached maturity. These elephants represent an important part of the breeding population in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, and their loss would have been a major blow for conservation.

Dr Ross Sinclair, WCS Cambodia Country Director, added:

This is a great example of everyone working together in Cambodia to save wildlife. Too often the stories around conservation are about conflict and failure, but this is one about cooperation and success. That the last elephant to be rescued needed everyone to pull together on a rope to drag it to safety is symbolic of how we have to work together for conservation.

Bottom line: Eleven Asian elephants were rescued from a mudhole in Cambodia in March 2017, thanks to a collaboration between local farmers and conservatioinists.

Elephants Get a Reprieve as Price of Ivory Falls

Demand for Ivory Drops, and Elephants Benefit

The price of ivory has dropped by more than half in the past three years. This decline may be good news for elephants that have been targeted for their tusks.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Finally, there’s some good news for elephants.

The price of ivory in China, the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks, has fallen sharply, which may spell a reprieve from the intense poaching of the past decade.

According to a report released on Wednesday by Save the Elephants, a respected wildlife group in Kenya, the price of ivory is less than half of what it was just three years ago, showing that demand is plummeting.

Tougher economic times, a sustained advocacy campaign and China’s apparent commitment to shutting down its domestic ivory trade this year were the drivers of the change, elephant experts said.

“We must give credit to China for having done the right thing,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, president and founder of Save the Elephants. “There is still a long way to go to end the excessive killing of elephants for ivory, but there is now greater hope for the species.”

Elephants have been slaughtered by the thousands in recent years in what appeared to be an insatiable quest for ivory. Employing a wide range of tools, including helicopters, military-grade weaponry and poisoned pumpkins, poachers have brought down herd after herd. The poachers have also killed scores of wildlife rangers.

The tusks have been spirited out through a network of African gangs and corrupt government officials. A vast majority of ivory ends up in China, where a rapidly growing middle class has coveted it for bracelets, combs, statuettes and other status symbols. That demand has pushed the price of ivory so high that the tusks from a single elephant could be worth more than $100,000. That, in turn, encouraged many hunters and traders in Africa to ruthlessly pursue more elephants.

This may be a sign of how a sustained global advocacy campaign can actually work. For several years, celebrities, political leaders and passionate wildlife advocates around the world have been urging China to put a stop to its ivory trade. In China, there are officially registered shops selling ivory and a thriving black market doing the same. Last December, China responded, announcing it was shutting down all ivory commerce by the end of 2017. It seems the price of ivory has dropped in anticipation of the ban; many analysts believe it will soon drop further.

Researchers for Save the Elephants said the Chinese ivory business seemed depressed, with vendors pessimistic about their future. Many are replacing ivory jewelry and trinkets with items made from alternative materials, like clamshell. According to the report, China plans to shut ivory factories at the end of this month and close all retail outlets by the end of the year.

But there still seem to be some high rollers out there who want their ivory.

In one store in Nanjing, researchers saw “a 38-layered magic ball,” made from ivory, selling for $248,810.