Trump’s cave to elephant and lion hunters

Editorial:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-elephants-africa-trump-trophy-20180307-story.html

“I watched him beating his bunch of grass against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. At that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to.”

— George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”

Well, some people do want to shoot elephants, for reasons that are all but impossible to fathom. Their meat doesn’t appeal to Western palates; they aren’t so abundant that their numbers must be reduced; and taking part in a guided hunt costs tens of thousands of dollars. But the Trump administration, after some delay, has sided with the shooters against the prey.

Elephants are unusually intelligent creatures with rich social lives and elaborate means of communication. They are also under unending siege. In the past three decades, the number in Africa has plummeted by two-thirds, leaving just 400,000. About 20,000 are killed each year for their tusks.

Some African governments allow them to be taken by trophy hunters. One of those sportsmen is Donald Trump Jr., who in 2012 was photographed holding the bloody tail of a slain elephant.

Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tried to discourage this macabre pastime by outlawing imports of elephant trophies from specified countries. African elephants are listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, and the law says their body parts may be brought in only if “the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species.”

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, the agency was not convinced that the governments’ policies served the purpose of conserving elephants. So Americans who wanted to shoot an elephant so they could bring back its head to hang on the wall were out of luck.

Last year, the agency announced it would lift the ban. But the decision sparked furious criticism, even from some conservative commentators — and prompted President Donald Trump to block it temporarily.

The president tweeted that he would be “very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.”

Now, however, his administration has quietly given its sanction to the practice — not just for elephants but also for lions. Instead of forbidding trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, the FWS said it would grant permits on a case-by-case basis, under criteria it has yet to state.

How Trump squares this step with his previous objections is hard to guess. The latest FWS move followed a ruling from a federal appeals court that the Obama administration failed to use required procedures in issuing its ban. But that verdict didn’t require abandoning the policy. The agency could have started over and followed the rules as spelled out by the court.

The biggest threat to these beasts is not legal trophy hunting but killing by poachers who want to harvest their tusks for the ivory trade. The good news is that progress has been made in suppressing that commerce. Last year, China said it would stop all sales of ivory, and Hong Kong moved to ban them all by 2021. The black-market price has dropped sharply since 2014, reflecting a decline in demand.

But legal trophy hunting doesn’t help, because it gives a sheen of legitimacy to the whole business of slaughtering elephants for their body parts. In January, Trump proudly said, “I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back.” It’s not too late for him to stop it.

‘Poacher hunting big cats’ mauled to death by lions in South Africa

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/poacher-hunting-big-cats-mauled-to-death-by-lions-in-south-africa-a3764096.html

Poacher: It is thought the man was hunting lions when they mauled him to death
Poacher: It is thought the man was hunting lions when they mauled him to death AFP/Getty Images

Police are investigating if a man killed and eaten by a pride of lions at a private game reserve in South Africa was a poacher who had been hunting big cats.

His screams for help raised the alarm but the lions quickly killed the man and devoured most of his body before being chased off.

The head was left untouched and is the only means available to police of identifying the man who was carrying no documents.

It comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn in nearby Namibia.

At first police thought the dead man was a tractor driver who worked at the game reserve but when he turned up alive realised it may be a poacher.

Killed: The lions quickly ate the man, leaving just his head (EPA/Dai Kurokawa)

A hunting rifle was found close to what was left of the blood drenched body which police believe belonged to the victim of the lions.

Police in Limpopo have called in the Department of Home Affairs to help them to try to find out who the dead man is.

Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said: “The person who who we first thought it was believed to be an employee who was driving a tractor.

“It was thought his tractor broke down and the lions got him as he walked back to the compound but he was found to be alive.

“The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene”.

Mr Ngoepe confirmed police were investigating the possibility the deceased might have been a poacher after a hunting rifle was found near the scene.

Lions kill up to 250 people a year in Africa and a male weighs 190kg and a female 130kg and they can ran at over 80kph and there are less than 20000 left in the wild in Africa.

Their bones are worth a small fortune in the Far East with a skeleton fetching up to £7000 and the skin £3000  teeth can fetch £500 each.

Their bones have become highly prized in the the Far East as tiger bones are becoming rarer and rear with their threat of extinction.

The lions attacked the suspected poacher at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa.

The owner of the reserve, who identified himself as Josh, said he was told not to speak to the media because the police investigation was still under way.

A local worker, who works at a nearby nature reserve, described the area as lion territory and added:”The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest.

“A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten”.

Big Game Hunter Gets Shot Dead While In Africa Hunting Lions

 http://www.ladbible.com/news/animals-big-game-hunter-gets-shot-dead-while-in-africa-hunting-lions-20180129

A Croatian trophy hunter who’d hunted ‘everything that could be hunted in Europe’ has been shot dead in a freak accident while taking part in a South African hunting expedition.

Pero Jelinic, a 75-year-old hotelier from the Croatian island of Pag, had already killed one lion and was about to shoot another when he was struck and killed by a stray bullet on a remote farm this past Saturday.

Jelinic’s friend Slavko Pernar said Jelinic was a ‘passionate’ hunter who travelled to Africa to land a lion trophy after he found himself seeking a new challenge, the Daily Mail reported.

Credit: Facebook/Pero Jelinic
Credit: Facebook/Pero Jelinic

It is not yet clear who was responsible for firing the shot that killed Jelinic, police said.

Jelinic was shot while he was in the North West province of South Africa, having travelled there with two friends to hunt big cats ‘to complete his extensive trophy collection’.

According to Pernar, a close friend of Jelinic’s and a fellow hunter, Jelinic was particularly keen on claiming the head of a lion ‘to crown his rich hunting career’. For the past year he had even leased his hotel out so he could commit fully to his ambition and enjoy his retirement.

“Pero was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world,” Pernar told Croatia’s Jutarnji List newspaper.

“For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicated himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoyed a deserved retirement.

“He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end – he died in South Africa doing what he loved. His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”

Jelinic was killed at Leeubosch Lodge, a property a four-hour drive from Johannesburg and 40 miles from the border with neighbouring country Botswana.

The property is known for keeping lions in captivity for the sole purpose of their being hunted – a controversial industry known as ‘canned’ lion-hunting.

The owner of Leeubosch Lodge, Dr Gideon Engelbrecht, told News24 that he was not at the farm when Jelinic was shot dead.

‘I was at my surgery when I received the call. I arranged for a helicopter to take the man to hospital, but that’s all I am going to give you at this stage, because the case is still under investigation,’ he said.

South Africa’s ‘canned’ lion-hunting industry, which legally breeds lions in captivity to be killed by hunters, is known for being a lucrative business which is also highly controversial among animal lovers and hunters alike.

Lions at Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: PA
Lions at Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: PA

Hunts in this industry keep lions in a confined space using fences, giving them a zero chance of escape and giving the hunter the best possible chance of claiming his trophy.

In November 2015, the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) voted to disassociate itself from canned lion hunting in the country and banned its members from taking part in such expeditions, calling them ‘vanity hunting’.

However, PHASA reversed the ruling last year, a decision which received severe criticism from animal rights groups across the globe.

Police have confirmed that they have opened a case of culpable homicide into Jelinic’s death. They are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

However, they ‘do not suspect any foul play’ in the shooting and investigations into the death are ongoing.

Featured Image Credit: PA

first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

The REAL lionesses of Africa: Stunning ‘Black Mambas’ are first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Black Mambas is all female, anti-poaching group working in Balule reserve
  • They free animals from snares and radio in poachers’ locations to rangers
  • Women’s lives are constantly at risk from poachers, animals they protect
  • Poaching in Balule reduced by 75 per cent since Mambas formed in 2013 

They are in fact the Black Mambas, an all female anti-poaching unit risking their own lives to protect the endangered animals being hunted for their horns, fur and meat. 

On their daily patrols around the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, they face the very real prospect of being gunned down by poachers or mauled to death by the animals they swore to protect.

Despite the dangers, and against the odds, the Mambas are winning the battle against poaching. Their presence alone has reduced poaching in Balule by 75 per cent and their methods could now be rolled out across the country.

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

Endangered: The Mambas' most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

Endangered: The Mambas’ most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

When Siphiwe Sithole told her parents she wanted to be a Black Mamba, they feared she would be eaten by a lion.

They were right to worry. Since joining in 2014, she has had two very close encounters with the King of the Jungle.

Siphiwe, 31, said: ‘The first time was when I first started working as a Mamba. I ran from it [the lion], which was wrong. You should never run from a lion!

‘I was put on a special course which taught me how to deal with wild animals, should I ever meet them. I then met some lions for a second time and this time I knew how to behave.’

The women’s backgrounds vary, but for some who come from poor families and villages, joining the Mambas is their only chance at a well paying job. Some even become the bread winners in the family.

Day-to-day duties of the 26 strong Mamba team include freeing animals trapped by barb wire snares, and patrolling the 400 square km Balule reserve looking for the slain carcasses of endangered rhinos.

Poachers killed at least 1,215 rhinos in 2014 – up from just 13 in 2007. It was this alarming trend that inspired Siphiwe to take action.  

Responsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snaresResponsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snares

Patrol: On their daily treks in Balule reserve, they risk being gunned down by poachers or mauled by the animals they swore to protect

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Progress: After joining the Mambas, some women even become the bread winners in their family and have to support their husbands 

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3458085/The-REAL-lionesses-Africa-Stunning-Black-Mambas-female-anti-poaching-unit-risking-lives-protect-big-cats-rhinos-elephants-men-guns.html#ixzz41UrC6uON
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Lions are actually raised to be killed in South Africa. And American

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/05/lions-are-actually-raised-to-be-killed-in-south-africa-and-american-hunters-love-it/
“South African ranchers breed lions in captivity, from cubs to adults,
then release them just after the arrival of a hunter who pays about
$15,000 for a kill. Sometimes the animal is drugged to make it easier
game. Sometimes it’s lured by fresh meat to a place where the hunter
lurks. Sometimes the felines are so accustomed to humans that they
amble up to the person waiting to kill it. Not surprisingly, the
success of these hunts is 99 percent.”

Animal rights activists upset over trophy hunting show planned in Toronto

N.C. poultry worker arrested after video shows him stomping, throwing chickens
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/09/mercy-for-animals-north-carolina-chicken-processing-abuse/77049796/
“A graphic undercover video depicting a poultry worker stomping
chickens, breaking their necks and throwing them against a wall has
prompted authorities in North Carolina to file criminal charges
against the worker, the latest in an ongoing battle over animal rights
playing out in U.S. factory farms and slaughterhouses.
“The video was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday by the animal rights
group Mercy For Animals, which said the worker was arrested on animal
abuse charges on Tuesday.”

Tiger Trainer Defends Animal Shows at Santa’s Enchanted Forest
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/tiger-trainer-defends-animal-shows-at-santas-enchanted-forest-8092029
“Last month, sign-waving demonstrators massed in front of Tropical
Park to try to dissuade customers from buying tickets to Christmas
mainstay Santa’s Enchanted Forest. Their complaint: The live tigers
and other animals used in shows at the theme park are mistreated.”

Animal rights activists upset over trophy hunting show planned in Toronto
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/animal-rights-activists-upset-over-trophy-hunting-show-planned-in-toronto-1.2693611
“TORONTO — Tensions between animal rights activists and big-game
hunters are set to boil over thanks to a trophy hunting conference
scheduled for Toronto next month.
“Several animal rights groups are planning to protest the African
Hunting Events show at a suburban Holiday Inn in mid-January.
“Camille Labchuk, a lawyer with Animal Justice, has started an online
petition demanding the hotel cancel the event, saying it is cruel to
hunt lions and elephants.”

3 Arrested for Poisoning Famous Lions in Kenya

AP_Cecil_mm_150730_16x9_992

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan authorities have arrested three Maasai herdsmen for allegedly poisoning a famous pride of lions, killing two, in the Masai Mara Game Reserve after the lions killed two of their cows, officials said Tuesday.

A fourth suspect is still at large, said Moses Kuyioni, the reserve’s chief warden.

The lions attacked the herdsmen’s cattle in the park in western Kenya on Sunday night, Kuyioni said. The men are suspected of setting out poisoned meat for the lions. Two lions from a pride known as the Marsh Pride died, said the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The Marsh Pride was featured in the popular BBC television series “Big Cat Diary” which aired from 1996 to 2008. Zoologist Jonathan Scott, who co-presented the series and has been following the pride since 1977 mourned the deaths in a post on his website titled “The Marsh Lions: End of an Era.”

The poisoning not only affected the lions but will move through the food chain, said wildlife expert, Paula Kahumbu. Six vultures were found dead near the poisoned meat. Other scavengers such as jackals, hyenas, and smaller predators will be feeding on the dead animals, too, Kahumbu said.

Land division and urbanization have reduced the traditional grazing lands of the Maasai herdsmen who have responded by allowing their cattle to browse on the plains of the game reserves.

Kenya’s lion population has declined to about 2,000, largely because of human wildlife-conflict, said Kahumbu.

“Lions generally cannot coexist with humans, which is why protected areas are so vital. Sadly in Mara the pastoralists are entering the reserve nightly to graze livestock, so of course lions get killed,” Kahumbu said.

In order to conserve Kenya’s remaining lions, Kahumbu said, there should be zero tolerance for cattle grazing in parks.

More: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/12/08/world/africa/ap-af-kenya-lions-poisoned.html?_r=0

France bans imports of lion hunt trophies

2D739AC500000578-3274724-image-a-2_1444938349661
“We trust that France’s decision will create a domino effect within the EU
and that we will soon hear about other member states joining together to
say no [to trophies].”

Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP who led calls for a ban in the
summer, said was “delighted” by France’s decision and the UK should follow
its lead.

The EU’s scientific review group, which decides whether or not to blacklist
trophy imports based on the sustainability of species, met in September and
approved the continued import of lion trophies from Tanzania, Zambia and
Mozambique.

France has banned the import of lion heads, paws and skins as hunters’
trophies, nearly four months after the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous
lion by an American trophy hunter sparked international outrage.

In a letter to the actor and animals rights activist Brigitte Bardot,
France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal, said that she had instructed
officials to stop issuing permits for lion trophies and was considering
stricter controls on trophies from other species.

“Following your letter and recent visits in Africa in preparation of the
climate summit in Paris, I want to let you know I have given orders to my
services to stop delivering certificates for importing lion trophies,”
Royal wrote in the letter dated 12 November.

Last month, scientists warned that lion numbers in central and western
Africa are likely to halve in the next two decades due to loss of habitat
and prey.“

Concerning other species trophies, I am in favour of a much stronger
control for hunting trophies and this issue will be discussed with all the
countries concerned and with the EU.”

In July, conservationists and MEPs called for an EU-wide ban on the import
of lion trophies following the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a
Minnesotan dentist near one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. France is the
first EU state to implement such a ban. In March, Australia also banned
their import.

Between 2010 and the 2013, the last year for which data is available, more
than 100 such lion trophies were imported to France.

Lionaid, a UK-based charity that is calling for the UK to follow suit with
a ban on lion trophy imports, said it was “overjoyed” by the move.

A spokeswoman said: “Within the EU, France was a major importer of such
trophies and we expect that wild lions will now find themselves safer
without the presence of French trophy hunters.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/19/france-bans-imports-of-lion-hunt-trophies