Trophy Hunting: Pathetic and twisted

 FILE - In this Friday, March 2, 2018 file photo, keeper Zachariah Mutai attends to Fatu, one of only two female northern white rhinos left in the world, in the pen where she is kept for observation, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia county in Kenya. According to four new United Nations scientific reports on biodiversity released on Friday, March 23, 2018, Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

 FILE – In this Friday, March 2, 2018 file photo, keeper Zachariah Mutai attends to Fatu, one of only two female northern white rhinos left in the world, in the pen where she is kept for observation, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia county in Kenya. According to four new United Nations scientific reports on biodiversity released on Friday, March 23, 2018, Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

As a result of the Trump Administration recently announcing a decision to let trophy hunting imports into the United States on a case by case basis, many animal conservation organizations are suing to prevent this, arguing that the decision violates the Endangered Species Act. These conservation groups include the Humane Society International and the Center for Biological Diversity. By bringing these lawsuits against the decision, these groups are bringing more attention to the barbaric and cruel pastime known as trophy hunting. Thousands of animals are killed globally every year simply for sport or for “trophies,” such as ivory tusks from elephants. This practice is not only cruel and brutish but also cowardly and pathetic. America has been faced with popular news stories regarding trophy hunting over the past few years, one notable example being the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015, and another being the pictures of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. with trophy-hunted carcasses.

These stories have rightly caused outrage over the terrible practice.

Trophy hunting is often part of a business, often peddled by the Safari Club International (SCI). This organization encourages wealthy hunters to kill animals for rewards and import them back to America. Animals often targeted include lions, elephants and rhinos . This is a despicable practice that has no place in a civilized society. Killing animals is not a sport, and it does not make you a more interesting person, merely a smaller one. If you feel the need to spend a vacation targeting and shooting beautiful animals just to bring back a trophy that serves as a reminder of the kill, then it demonstrates that you are a person of abhorrent character. Much of the time, it is not even a challenge to bring these animals down; professional guides may bait animals with food so that hunters can more easily find and kill them, or traps may be used to trap the animal until the hunter can shoot them. It is truly despicable to see how far one will go in order to feel the false thrill of being a “hunter,” as Donald Trump Jr. calls himself. With the recent news of the death of the last male northern white rhino, animal conservation is back in the news cycle. Many argue that, ironically, trophy hunting can aid animal conservation efforts because wealthy people pay great sums in order to have the chance to hunt exotic animals, and these funds can be applied to conservation programs. However, this is assuming that the funds will actually be used for this purpose; in many regions where trophy hunting is rampant, so is corruption ( https://www.vox.com/2018/3/7/17091000/ban-lifted-elephant-trophy-hunting). For instance, Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe, where there is much political unrest, making conservation efforts not a priority. We cannot trust that trophy hunting will help conservation efforts, especially if more animals are being hunted anyway. Instead, countries should focus on raising money for conservation efforts from other tourist activities such as safaris where the animals are appreciated for their beauty, not killed in order to satisfy someone’s fragile ego.

It is a bit concerning that Trump has allowed some trophy animals to potentially be imported into the United States on a case-by-case basis. He has expressed disgust with the practice himself, calling trophy hunting a “horror show”; however, it is likely that he wants the case by case clause in order to satisfy his sons, who participate in trophy hunting. This is especially frustrating because this is not a complete condemnation of trophy hunting, which is what we need from the President of the United States. Trophy hunting is a vile activity, and Americans should not be encouraged to engage in it. The first step in finally changing the attitude towards it completely is banning the importation of carcasses into the United States; Trump should make a moral stand for once and make all cases illegal.

http://dailycampus.com/stories/2018/3/30/trophy-hunting-pathetic-and-twisted

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The NRA and the Safari Club Are Gunning for Grizzlies

The gun lobby and big-game hunters are teaming up to get the bears off the endangered species list. But that’s just a first step toward stealing public land.

About 40 years ago, my friend the author Edward Abbey gave me a National Rifle Association (NRA) sticker to paste on the back window of my pickup. After all, he’d been an NRA member for years and we both were hunters who supported gun rights and owned a number of firearms.

I never got around to putting that sticker on. In the rambling decades between then and now, Ed’s and my attitude toward guns didn’t change much. My feelings about the NRA, however, have chilled considerably.

Increasingly, the NRA has become the big boy who thinks he can run over anyone and dominate partisan issues—they are widely criticized by environmentalists and Democrats as bullies. And the issues are no longer just those of the Second Amendment, though gun rights remain a primary test of political loyalty. As reported in The New York Times last fall, the NRA is now focused on immigration, race, health care.

The NRA is also actively trying to influence wildlife and wilderness issues, which happens to be my center of interest. Last spring the NRA, welded at the hip with Safari Club International (a privileged group of mostly wealthy hunters dedicated to killing large and rare animals), backed a successful bill to permit extreme killing methods of wolves and grizzlies on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, including the gunning down of animals from planes and slaughtering wolf pups and bear cubs in their birthing dens.

These two lobbying groups oppose protecting the severely endangered California condors, which biologists believe are sickened and killed by poisonous lead bullet fragments left in the hunter-felled game animals that the scavenging birds eat. Yet the NRA and the Safari Club pooh-poohed the notion that ingesting lead fragments threatens condors and claimed instead that their human members “will be impaired if they are no longer able to shoot lead bullets.”

Similarly, the NRA and Safari Club recently supported a controversial trophy hunt for elephants in Zimbabwe, coinciding with the Trump administration’s decision to overturn an Obama-era ban on elephant trophies. Managed trophy hunting “would not have an adverse effect on the species,” the groups said, “but can further efforts to conserve the species in the wild.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to allow the import of elephant trophies was praised by both groups but drew harsh criticism from animal-rights advocates on all sides of the political spectrum.

 At this writing, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3668, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. Democrats Abroad said, “(SHARE) is a nightmare for human life, wildlife, and public lands. The bill is chock-full of anti-wildlife, anti-Endangered Species Act, and anti-public lands provisions that would undermine wildlife conservation and put imperiled species in greater danger.” Of course, the NRA got an easy-to-buy gun silencer deal stuck into this shithouse of a bill.

So, it was no surprise when the NRA and Safari Club asked to intervene in a lawsuit over the fate of Yellowstone National Park’s grizzly bear population. Their intent is to support the federal decision to remove the bears’ Endangered Species Act protections and allow trophy hunting of Yellowstone’s grizzlies.

Five NRA and Safari Club members said, in affidavits submitted by their attorneys, that hunting grizzlies would help the region’s economy, allow states to better manage the animals, and improve public safety. These five outfitters and big game hunters claim their interests would be harmed if they could not have the opportunity to hunt Yellowstone’s grizzlies.

The core argument is public safety: that hunting bears will make people safer by instilling in grizzlies a fear of humans. These groups claim that Yellowstone’s grizzlies have become too aggressive, and that a fear of people would make bears shy and more subordinate, thus benefiting public safety. The unexamined assumption is that bears learn by being shot at.

The success of the NRA and SCI’s argument, assuming the NRA and Safari Club are allowed to fully make their case in court, will depend on what the judges make of the scientific plausibility of the “shy” bear theory, and the bear-expertise credibility of the five witnesses who filed declarations.

I disagree strongly with the NRA and SCI’s contention that there is any credible evidence whatsoever that hunting makes grizzlies shy, wary of humans, and therefore less aggressive and safer around humans.

And there is legitimate doubt that trophy grizzly hunting around Yellowstone is, in truth, good for the economy, and or that the state management is more effective than federal oversight when it comes to endangered species like the grizzly bear.

Finally, I question the grizzly-expertise of the five men who submitted affidavits to the court. The shy bear argument, which I’ve been hearing in Montana bars for 50 years, is good-old-boy folklore. These men are no doubt competent backcountry professionals, but I do not believe that trophy hunting— especially the guided type characteristic of Safari Club hunting—makes one an “expert” on grizzly bears. My own encounters with wild bears have made me believe that, in fact, the opposite is true: The key to safely dealing with wild grizzlies is behaving non-aggressively.

Does Hunting Make Bears Fear Humans?                                                    

Grizzly bear biologist David Mattson, who worked for two decades with the federal Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Study Team, recently wrote an article in the Grizzly Times saying he had undertaken a “thorough review of the evidence (or lack thereof),” and found “no empirical support for this proposition. There is essentially no evidence that a sport hunt instills fear in grizzlies. The proposition also defies logic and everything that we otherwise know about grizzly bears. If nothing else, how can a dead bear learn anything?”

Mattson goes on to point out that there has been no research on the American grizzly and hunting: “Another important point to make up front is that we know virtually nothing about the behavioral and motivational responses of bears to hunting, certainly little that is grounded in research. The closest we come is a study out of Scandinavia showing that hunted brown bears increased their nighttime activity, with little obvious relevance to whether humans were thereby safer.”

What most bear expertsl agree on is that American brown bears are genetically inclined to deal aggressively with perceived threats; this is evolved behavior, presumably learned on the treeless periglacial of the Arctic during the Late Pleistocene, by mothers defending their cubs from many larger, now-extinct predators.

So the NRA and Safari Club theory that hunting—as a perceived threat—thereby installs fear in bears is counterintuitive. Mattson believes the reverse may be true, that “grizzlies can become less reactive to people, not as a result of heightened fear, but rather as a result of the opposite. These fundamentals alone call into question the logic of using hunting to increase human safety.”

My own 50 years of experience with Yellowstone’s wild grizzlies supports Mattson’s position.

Before 1968, I didn’t know squat about grizzly bears, despite having spent a summer in Alaska. Fresh home from two tours as a Green Beret medic in Vietnam, I had gone to Yellowstone to camp out and heal from a malaria attack. There, quite accidentally, I ran into a whole bunch of bears.

Here is one of my earliest encounters, from the preface of Grizzly Years:

“The big bear stopped thirty feet in front of me. I slowly worked my hand into my bag and gradually pulled out the Magnum. I peered down the gun barrel into the dull red eyes of the huge grizzly. He gnashed his jaws and lowered his ears. The hair on his hump stood up. We stared at each other for what might have been seconds but felt like hours. I knew once again that I was not going to pull the trigger. My shooting days were over. I lowered the pistol. The giant bear flicked his ears and looked off to the side. I took a step backward and turned my head towards the trees. I felt something pass between us. The grizzly slowly turned away from me with grace and dignity and swung into the timber at the end of the meadow. I caught myself breathing heavily again, the flush of blood hot on my face. I felt my life had been touched by enormous power and mystery.”

That was the last time I carried a firearm into grizzly country. I found you didn’t need them. I believe to this day that a gun will get you into more trouble than it will get you out of in bear habitat.

But inexperience continued to land me in the briar patch. In my early years, I got too close to grizzlies, over a hundred encounters where both the bear and myself noticed each other. I say “too close” because my intent was to not have the bears know I was around; in those situations, I stood my ground and the grizzlies usually—but not always—ran away.

Far more dangerously, I got charged by grizzlies a few dozen times, about half of them were serious encounters: typically mothers with cubs or yearlings, often from nearby daybeds where they were sleeping out the middle of days. This is the source of almost all human mauling by bears (carcasses are also dangerous); attacks are by mothers near or on daybeds where you can get too close and carelessly invade the space she feels she needs for her cub’s safety. The sow only cares for her cub’s safety. As long as you are perceived to be a threat, she will continue to charge and if you do anything stupid, like run or try to climb a tree, she may start chewing on you. If you fight back, the mother griz will keep attacking you until you are no longer seen as a threat to her young. You could die.

The advice to “play dead” during a grizzly attack is sound. Many a victim of a mauling saved his or her life by ceasing to resist the attack, by relaxing. Tough advice but it works. Remember, the mother grizzly isn’t there to hurt or kill you, just to make sure her cub is safe.

More than a dozen different sow grizzlies have aggressively charged me. (None completed her charge; no wild bear has ever touched me.) A few mother grizzlies started the charge, then quickly veered off and ran away without breaking stride. More often, charging bears came directly at me, and then skidded to a stop. One sow grizzly stopped so close (probably six feet) she appeared to lean forward and sniff my pant leg.

During the course of all these grizzly charges, my behavior was as non-aggressive as possible: I stood my ground without moving a muscle or blinking an eye; I looked off to the side (a frontal orientation can be confrontational to a grizzly). I also held my arms off to the side (to make yourself look bigger?) and talked softly to the bear, hoping to present no threat whatsoever to her cubs. It’s worked every time—so far.

“The time for these ceremonial executions is over. We lost our authenticity somewhere in the colonial past. We don’t need a Yellowstone grizzly hunt.”

My most recent encounter with a mother grizzly was last June, when my daughter and I were sheltering behind a Buick-sized huge boulder on a high butte in Yellowstone. It was our last hike together before I walked her down the aisle later that summer. It was a blustery, windy day; we couldn’t hear a thing. All of a sudden, the look on my daughter’s face changed and I followed her gaze. There, some 50 feet away, a mother grizzly and her yearling cub were coming over the top of the hillside.

We all saw each other at the same time. The mother bear quickly reared onto her hind legs, smacked her lips, slobbered, and looked all around. I whispered to Laurel, “Don’t move.” We never moved an inch. Eventually, after a few minutes, the bear calmed down. Then, the bears slowly walked past us and sat down on the edge of a cliff 30 feet away, where the mother began nursing the cub. This went on for about five minutes. The sow grizzly appeared to graze (it could have been displacement behavior, where the nervous mom just pretended to feed) along the lip of the cliff and the cub started to approach us, not unlike a curious puppy, coming way too close, maybe within 15 to 20 feet. I stopped his advance by flipping my palm, a gesture I made up in the moment, not knowing if it would work. Laurel quietly recorded a short piece of video on her phone. In the distance, I could hear the bellows and roars of a mating pair of grizzlies far below, indicating the female in front of us had likely retreated to this high ground to keep her cub away from aggressive male bears who sometimes kill them.

This moment was saturated with wild trust, and sharing it with Laurel etched it forever in my memory. Such intimate encounters with grizzlies are rare with inland bears, like the grizzlies in Glacier and Yellowstone parks, but it does happen along salmon streams in places like Alaska and British Columbia, where a mother grizzly once left her three cubs sitting next to me on the bank of the Nakinaw River while she went fishing, caught a salmon, and brought it back to her waiting cubs. The popular thinking on this is that bear mothers trust humans because male grizzlies tend to avoid us.

This spectrum of grizzly behavior hints at a deeper social structure than bears have previously been given credit for. All wild bears in a region appear to know each other and where they rank in a larger social hierarchy. Wild grizzlies are capable of responding to non-aggressive human behavior in surprising ways; we need to give them a chance. The simplistic notion that hunting and shooting grizzlies makes the bears fear humans is flat wrong. Probably David Mattson is right and the opposite is true.

Will Hunting Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Help the Region’s Economy?                                                      

There are a number of economic studies analyzing tourism in and around Yellowstone, revealing who spends the most money and why. The National Park Service informs us through its surveys that most Yellowstone visitors list viewing wildlife, especially grizzlies and wolves, as the primary reason for their visits. Mountain West News reported in August 2017 that “Yellowstone Park tourists spent (last year) an estimated $680 million in gateway communities in Montana and Wyoming.”

By contrast, proposed resident grizzly bear hunting licenses in Wyoming would cost $600 per season. It doesn’t sound like much of a comparison except for the small consolation that trophy bear hunters, like Safari Club members, tend to be well heeled and book the most expensive lodges.

Will the States Be Better than the Feds at Managing Bears?

The NRA and Safari Club’s argument that the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are better fit than the feds to manage trophy animals is disingenuous. It has nothing to do with wildlife management competency, and everything to do with their larger political agenda.

The first objective of these two trophy hunting groups is to kill grizzlies, and the states—especially Wyoming—will help them achieve this goal in record time. (In my own state, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has decided to put off a trophy grizzly hunt for 2018.)

My specific distrust of turning brown bear management over to the states arises from how notoriously slow the departments have been to investigate and prosecute obvious cases of poaching, protecting illegal killers who—when caught—claim they felt threatened in some way—the “self-defense” argument. Subsequent prosecution is slack or non-existent. To justify this lax enforcement, the state game managers say that if they prosecute poaching too aggressively, their sources of information about bear-mortality reporting will dry up. Still, if delisting survives its legal challenges and a hunting season is opened, illegal killing of grizzlies will become much easier (with or without a license) and will loom as the primary threat to Yellowstone’s entire bear population.

Far more transparent and important, I think, is the issue of public lands. The NRA and the Safari Club have not bothered to intervene in this regional hunting squabble because they believe the local state game departments of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho will better manage the region’s critters than would a federal agency.

I believe these national groups have become involved with the fate of grizzlies in order to serve a broader agenda: converting public land to private ownership. To put it bluntly, stealing the land that belongs to all of us and delivering it to the private sector for financial exploitation. They would auction off the vast wild lands of the Bureau of Land Management, national forests, and wildlife refuges, and open national monuments and even the national parks to resource extraction.

All public lands are threatened by this so-called “states rights” movement.: It’s not just the Yellowstone ecosystem and Bear’s Ears mesas that are imperiled, but also the underlying philosophy and concepts that made these places possible in the first place. The Wilderness, Endangered Species, and Antiquities acts are all under siege. The NRA and Safari Club agendas on wildlife and wilderness issues at their core are driven by the desire to dismantle our wild heritage.

The Problem with Grizzly Bear Experts

In the early ’80s, I served as an expert witness on grizzly bears for Glacier National Park in federal court. The judge asked me and the other expert witness how many (defined as different bears per day) grizzlies we had seen in our lives, and because I had watched grizzly bears at Yellowstone’s garbage dumps and at salmon streams as well as in berry patches and meadows, my answer was over a thousand. Does that make me an expert? Maybe for the purposes of that particular court, but otherwise I have my doubts. At the time, I let it go, not questioning the court’s opinion. But what teaches a person the most about grizzly behavior? Probably watching wild bears go about their natural business, without disturbing the animal’s activity? Nature is a great classroom. Salmon streams are good, but you can also learn a great deal by watching bears in meadows and berry patches. My own early education was slow, hampered by greenness and bear-illiteracy.

I’ve spent time with Yellowstone’s grizzlies each year for the past five decades, beginning in 1968. The first 15 years were the most intense, during which time I filmed bears full-time in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Park ecosystems. Typically, I’d spend the first six weeks of spring in Yellowstone, and then come back for October. The rest of the season, I filmed in Glacier and worked seasonal jobs for the park service.

Much of the time, I worked alone, lugging my heavy 16mm camera gear around in a backpack, camping in the backcountry for stretches of up to a couple weeks at a time.

The goal was to film wild grizzlies close up but not so close the bears would be spooked by the camera noise; I wanted to capture natural grizzly behavior without the bears becoming aware of my presence. Of course, I didn’t always succeed.

My strategy for finding grizzlies in Yellowstone was split between two general approaches: I could go out into good spring habitat, find a set of fresh bear tracks and follow them to where the grizzly was feeding. Sometimes, this took days of tracking to catch up with the bear. Compared with today, grizzlies were scarce in Yellowstone during the ’70s—something everyone agrees on.

The other, more efficient strategy was to set up on a hill or promontory where bears were likely to come by and just wait. It helped if there were winter-killed elk or bison carcasses nearby.

Using such methods, spread over three decades, I managed to sneak up on at least 200 unsuspecting grizzlies in and around Yellowstone and Glacier parks, to distances within about one hundred yards. Most of those approached were captured on film, which is now archived at Texas Tech.

Here I want to say something  about hunting. I don’t think dispatching brown bears with a weapon capable of bringing down a B-52 is very challenging. Because I could have shot any of those bears, I have always suspected grizzlies are easy to hunt. Easy, say, compared to black bears, who are spooky forest creatures and a test for a fair chase (no baits or dogs) hunter. Grizzlies, by contrast, are open country animals and their dominance at the top of the food chain means they don’t automatically run away.

But does tracking down a wild griz with a camera equate with trophy hunting? Absolutely not, as any Safari Club International member would point out. Why? I didn’t pull the trigger. There was no kill. Without the kill, there is no authentic hunt.

Here is a crucial distinction between me and trophy hunters. I don’t hunt predators. I wouldn’t shoot a bear for a cool million. I am not one of them.

Trophy Hunting

How do you justify killing an innocent animal of exceptional carriage that you don’t intend to eat and who poses no threat to you? A few trophy hunters try to answer this question; most see no problem, they kill the big grizzly or the lion with a huge mane just because they can. There are arguments: money for permits and licenses can be spent on conservation. You may trophy hunt because it runs in the family. Or because male archetypes like Teddy Roosevelt did it.

When we think of trophy hunters, the photo of Donald Trump Jr. holding a freshly severed elephant tail may come to mind, but I recognize a few other types, often deeply skilled in ways of the wild and dedicated to a fair chase. The ones I know tend to be bow hunters. These people are probably the exception: They know why they are out there and are grounded in their own ethic.

Of those Safari Club members who have shown any curiosity at all about their deadly sport, it’s probably fair to say the bulk have drawn their killer philosophies from mid-20th century sources, especially a little book called Meditations on Hunting, written in 1942 by Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, which is quoted so often in the literature of trophy hunting that it has assumed near-religious status.

Ortega tells us death is essential because without it there is no authentic hunting. In short, one does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted.

For Ortega’s privileged sportsman, the animal’s death is a “sign” that the hunt was “authentic” and “real.” This European view of killing and the hunt owes nothing to the roughly 300 thousand years of Homo sapiens wildlife experience: After all, we evolved our own human intelligence chasing animals all through the Pleistocene, in habitats whose remnants today we call the wilderness.

Throw in some colonial dominion over the beasts, a little Hemingway, and you find a tremendous amount of masculine bullshit in consideration of what constitutes an “authentic” experience in outdoor blood sports. Ortega celebrates the “exemplary moral spirit of the sporting hunter” who hunts for “diversion.” He looks down on the “utilitarian” hunter, like “Paleolithic man,” and “the poacher of any epoch” or individuals like myself who hunt for food.

For the record, I do hunt, mostly game birds and the occasional deer. I eat what I kill and have many guns. I don’t hunt predators on principal or trophy-sized animals (for practical and culinary reasons). Each year as I grow older, I find myself backing off a bit. But there is a legitimate debate in the bedrock question: Why do we hunt or, more specifically, why trophy hunt?

David Mattson has his suspicions: “Those who promote hunting as a means of increasing human safety are probably using the argument simply as cover for getting rid of grizzly bears that they see as an inconvenience or an affront to their personal ideologies… or promote hunting primarily as a means of inflating a shriveled ego through killing something as powerful as a grizzly bear.” Mattson continues, “Perhaps those promoting the sport hunting of grizzlies are doing so out of a visceral place of fear and a derivative need to dominate and subjugate anything that subjectively threatens them.”

Despite a few female members, groups like the Safari Club are rooted in masculine institutions of patriarchy and clanship. Within the fraternal organization, intense competition abounds. If your buddy bags a huge kudu or leopard head, you’d better get a bigger one. This deadly rivalry about who gets the best  trophy is regarded as either the purest form of sport, as seen by Safari Club, or one of the worst contests of our society, as viewed by people like myself. The payoff or price of the kill, in either case, is pretty much as Mattson suggests: a boost in the frail male ego.

My own feeling is that the time for these ceremonial executions is over. We lost our authenticity somewhere in the colonial past. We don’t need a Yellowstone grizzly hunt.

The man holding the cut-off elephant tail may take exception to Mattson’s musings, but we are decades down the road from the faded photos of TR’s rhino in 1909 or Hemingway’s lion shot in 1934. The year 2018 finds us much deeper into the climate change game than anyone wants to talk about and also smack dab in the early-middle of the 6th Great Extinction. These often endangered and expendable trophy creatures could use a break from recreational killing.

The first critters to go in a great extinction tend to be the big ones, especially the large rare mammals favored by trophy hunters. This endangered species list does not exclude two-legged primates; the hot winds of change are coming for us all.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-nra-and-the-safari-club-are-gunning-for-grizzlies?source=twitter&via=mobile

20000 trophy hunters descend on Las Vegas to join pay-to-slay auction

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/more-than-20000-trophy-hunters-descend-on-las-vegas-to-join-pay-to-slay-auctions-a6847361.html

The hunts, which will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, have outraged activists

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to take part in a series of “pay to slay” auctions that have outraged animal rights activists.

The hunting jamboree, at which delegates will bid for the right to take part in 301 hunts that will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, is organised by Safari Club International (SCI), whose members include the notorious killer of Cecil the lion.

The four-day extravaganza at the Mandalay Bay hotel and convention centre on the Las Vegas Strip includes live music from country veteran Merle Haggard and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

The auction features an array of items including a white gold leopard broach – starting price $39,000 (£27,500) – and bullet gift certificates.

But the centrepiece of the event is unquestionably the auction of packages to hunt – and in some cases stuff – big game. Lots range from Iberian red deer and Pyrenean chamois to Australian water buffalo and African elephants.

The description of the 10-day Alaska Brown Bear and Black Bear hunt, which has a starting price of $75,150, reads: “This all-inclusive hunt is an outstanding option for hunters who want an all-in-one luxury hunting experience…in amazing areas boasting the highest density of bears in the world.”

5-walter-palmer2.jpg
US dentist Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil the lion, with another of his trophies

It adds: “Method of take is hunters’ choice.”

The Ultimate Hunters’ Market has been condemned by animal rights activists, amid a renewed focus on the ethics of big game hunting after SCI member and US dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil in Zimbabwe last year.

Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International said: “The auction site reads like a grotesque killing-for-kicks catalogue, in which the lives of the precious wildlife are sold to the highest bidder so that they can be slaughtered for fun.

“It is a tragic indictment on our society that, despite the global outrage over Cecil the Lion’s pointless killing, this scale of trophy hunting is still going on,” said Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International.

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves added: “It beggars belief that there are still people who are excited by the prospect of slaughtering an animal for target practice and turning it into a trophy.”

The Safari Club International (SCI) is expected to raise more than $2.5 million from auctioning the mammal hunts alone, which have been provided from various hunt organisers.

The club runs the convention annually and it provides the majority of its income – most of which is used to lobby Washington.

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

“Killing to Conserve” is a LIE! Killing at risk African wildlife just kills animals! Depleting wildlife populations and natural resources does not “help” the local African populations.

SAVE THE DATE! JOIN THE ACTION!

JANUARY 5 & 6 from 1 – 4 pm in DALLAS, TEXAS, USA.

Safari Club International is having a convention. People who oppose the rapacious “taking” of iconic African animals and other wildlife, their self-serving definition of “conservation,” and their smug self-identification as “outdoors” men and women will be PROTESTING SCI’s CONVENTION.

* S * H * A * R * E * this brilliant action against American trophy hunting culture!

Not only are SCI members meeting up to celebrate their loathsome activities against Earth and all creation, there is an AUCTION which includes items such as SAFARIS TO AFRICA TO KILL AN ELEPHANT AND RHINO! Or you can bid on a variety of things made of ELEPHANT SKIN, like CUPHOLDERS! So many price points representing the taking of so many lives… or just to show your basic lack of regard for elephant life.

THIS IS OUR 5TH ANNUAL ON-SITE PROTEST OF SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL!

Anyone within striking distance is URGED TO JOIN IN THE PROTEST!

Not in Dallas and want to protest trophy hunting and Safari Club International?

Visit rallyforcecil.org for more information on how you can get involved in our international anti-trophy hunting rally taking place February 4, 2018

FOR THE LIVE ACTION ON JANUARY 5 AND 6 IN DALLAS:

We will protest on January 5 & 6, 2018 from 1-4pm at the corner of Kay Bailey Hutchison convention center.

1st protest will be
Friday January 5th from 1 to 4pm
This protest will be in response to the woman’s hunters event.

2nd protest will be
Saturday January 6th
from 1pm to 4pm

For Saturday, January 6th protest click here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/195548734329071/?ti=cl

Posters and leaflets will be provided, but feel free to make your own.

Lot parking is available within two blocks of the protest area and usually costs between $5 and $10.

Please remember to prepare for the weather and to be mindful of your personal safety.

This protest is being organized locally by CompassionWorks International and OneProtest.org

#MarchAgainstExtinction
#KillingIsNotConservation
#rhinos #elephants #lions
#GMFER2108
#Justice4All

JAN6

Rally Against Safari Club’s Trophy Hunting Slobs

What: CompassionWorks International (CWI) and Friends of Animals (FoA) are joining together for an anti-trophy hunting protest/rally outside the Safari Club International’s (SCI) New York Tri-State Chapter’s annual fundraiser dinner and auction in Manhattan.

When and Where: Saturday, May 13, 2017. From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. outside the Columbus Citizens Foundation, 8 East 69th St. New York, NY, 10021. RAIN or SHINE.

Why: To raise awareness about legislation drafted by Friends of Animals currently moving through the New York legislature. Cecil’s Law (S1883/A4010) would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation in New York of the African elephant, lion, leopard, and black and white rhinos-all threatened and endangered species.

“Justice arrives for threatened and endangered animals one animal and species at a time,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA. “We are targeting the motivations of vainglorious trophy hunters with educational and legislative remedies so well-heeled cowards who feel entitled to murder Africa’s wildlife are unable to ship the heads and carcasses back to adorn their walls of shame.”

“By passing this legislation, the state will not be encouraging or abetting the continued demise of these threatened and endangered species by sport-hunting,” said state Sen. Tony Avella. “New York is the number one port of entry into the United States from Africa. With that comes an exorbitant amount of big game ‘trophies’ being imported into the country that celebrate the unconscionable killing of the Big Five African species. While New York might not always be the final destination of these trophies, it is their entry into the country.”

“These animals are important to ecosystems, yet they are being hunted down for sport. What we are trying to do is discourage that kind of behavior by New Yorkers,” said Assembly member Luis Sepulveda. “It is important we pass this law in New York for future generations. Preserving these animals for our children and future generations is important, and if society continues this practice [trophy hunting], we are going to lose these species who are part of our ecosystem. We have to make sure these species survive. ”

Darien,Conn.-based Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. http://www.friendsofanimals.org<http://www.friendsofanimals.org

Protest Safari Club International’s NY fundraiser in Manhattan

*What*: Join CompassionWorks International (CWI) and Friends of Animals
(FoA) for our anti-trophy hunting protest/rally outside the Safari Club
International’s (SCI) New York Tri-State Chapter’s annual fundraiser dinner
and auction in Manhattan. Informational postcards to hand out to the public
as well as posters will be provided.

*When and Where*: May 13, 2017. Begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. as cocktail
hour for the annual fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. Outside the Columbus
Citizens Foundation, 8 East 69th St. New York, NY, 10021. (We will be there
until at least 6:30…probably 7 p.m.)

*Why*: To raise awareness about legislation drafted by FoA currently moving
through the New York legislature. Cecil’s Law (S1883/A4010) would ban the
importation, possession, sale or transportation in New York of the African
elephant, lion, leopard, and black and white rhinos—all threatened and
endangered species.

And to dispel the myth perpetuated by SCI, that without trophy hunters,
African governments would have no money for conservation. The newest data
reveals that trophy hunting is economically useless. So if the reason for
trophy hunting is “conservation,” but it is not contributing to
conservation, it’s time for a ban. Plain and simple, we as a society know
better.

If you have any questions, email Nicole Rivard at
nrivard@friendsofanimals.org. And please let us know you are attending by
emailing Nicole directly so we know how many posters to bring. You can also
join us on Facebook
<http://friendsofanimals.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=a24d24c0c4cbf4161c94e9212&id=6781822246&e=df8e76c45e>
to stay updated about this event.

*Join us May 13th outside the Columbus Citizens Foundation in NYC to
protest the Safari Club International’s NY fundraiser! Learn more.
<http://friendsofanimals.us9.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=a24d24c0c4cbf4161c94e9212&id=de601c88e5&e=df8e76c45e

South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoQTFi7C
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains are found inside two beasts

  • Hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, vanished last week after going on a hunting safari 
  • His footprints were later found leading to banks of Limpopo River in Zimbabwe
  • Police shot two Nile crocodiles who they suspected of eating the father-of-two
  • Remains found inside the crocs are now being tested by forensics experts

A South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts.

Scott Van Zyl, 44, vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs.

The father-of-two, whose company runs hunting trips for foreign clients, is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles on the banks of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe.

South African hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts

South African hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts

He vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs

He vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs

The professional hunter and his tracker had left their truck and walked into the bush in different directions.

Later that day his dogs returned to the camp without Mr Van Zyl. His rifle and belongings were found inside the truck.

Mr Van Zyl’s footprints were later spotted leading to the river bank and trackers found his backpack nearby.

Sakkie Louwrens, who was part of the search team, said police suspected two Nile crocodiles may have eaten Mr Van Zyl.

‘We found what could possibly be human remains in them,’ he told The Telegraph.

The father-of-two, whose company runs hunting trips for foreign clients, is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles on the banks of the Limpopo River (pictured) in Zimbabwe

 Police and animal nature conservation services decided to shoot the reptiles.

The remains are being tested by forensic experts to see whether they belong to Mr Van Zyl.

At least four people have been killed by crocodiles in Zimbabwe in the past month.

In March, villagers cut open a crocodile and found the remains of an eight-year-old boy inside the beast.

The shocking scene was captured by an eyewitness with a smartphone in the village of Mushumbi Pools in northern Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province.

Villagers suspected the crocodile had killed and eaten the young boy, and shot the animal dead.

Police shot the crocodiles and are testing the remains found inside them to see if they belong to Mr Van Zyl (pictured with his wife)

Zimbabwe has recently been hit by heavy rain, raising river and dam levels, which can bring crocodiles to areas where they are not normally seen.

A crocodile was recently shot dead in Beatrice, a farming community in the neighbouring province of Mashonaland East, with what were believed to be the remains of a fisherman in its stomach.

In November, last year a 13 year old boy who was fishing to pay for his school fees was killed by a crocodile in southern Zimbabwe.

Owen Chianga and his friend, Liberty Ruzivo, 15, were attacked by two crocodiles while they were fishing in the Save River near the village of Birchenough Bridge.

Nile crocodiles typically feed on fish, antelope and zebra, which they snatch from the shallows and before engaging in a twirling, drowning method known as ‘the death roll’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoRDkIKd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoQszeJf

Donald Trump Jr. taps hunting pal for Interior liaison

 

President Donald Trump’s eldest son is an avid hunter and played a key role in picking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is also a hunter and fisherman. And now Donald Trump Jr. has asked Jason Hairston, a former San Francisco 49ers linebacker and founder of hunting gear company Kuiu, to serve as a liaison among himself, Zinke, sportsmen’s groups and the White House on conservation and public lands issues, Hairston said on Thursday.

“I’m absolutely going to take the position,” Hairston told POLITICO, but the job won’t come with a salary, and he plans on staying in California where he lives and managing his business.

But an official with the Interior Department said there had “been no discussion of creating of a new role like this” and White House deputy press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an email there were no new personnel announcements.

Hairston said Donald Trump Jr. had hoped to play the liaison role between Interior and the White House himself, but his decision to stick with running his father’s business empire with his brother, Eric Trump, put a kink in that plan.

“It’s really a role he was hoping to fill, but he can’t because of conflict of interest,” Hairston said.

Hairston and Donald Trump Jr. have been hunting buddies for at least two years — and Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out his congratulations last year after Hairston’s company was featured in a Bloomberg news article. The two have tracked game together in mountain ranges in the West and Canada, and Hairston helped to organize meetings between sportsman groups and Donald Trump during his campaign, including a February 2016 gathering in Las Vegas, Hairston said.

The president “knows that it’s not just a sport, that it really is something that’s more meaningful to hunters and how important wildlife and conservation are because of everything Don and Eric have experienced and shared with him,” Hairston said. “So he’s not just pacifying his kids over this. He understands it and gets it.”

Outdoor recreation groups have recently stepped up their fight against efforts by some Western Republican lawmakers to force the Interior Department to transfer more of the vast amounts of public lands it controls in the West to states — a move the groups say would cut them off from prime hunting and fishing ground. And having Hairston as their advocate would give them a direct line to the White House.

While he said his position hasn’t been given a formal starting day, Hairston said he has “already started with the work on it,” including “meeting with different organizations to determine what challenges and issues we’re facing and really just what we should be working on — what’s important.”

Hairston has met with Zinke twice: once before Zinke was confirmed as secretary and again on March 7 when Hairston traveled to Washington and talked with the heads of conservation and hunting organizations. Those included the National Rifle Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Safari Club International.

More than 20,000 trophy hunters descend on Las Vegas to join ‘pay to slay’ auctions

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/more-than-20000-trophy-hunters-descend-on-las-vegas-to-join-pay-to-slay-auctions-a6847361.html

by Tom Bawden Environment Editor
The hunts, which will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, have outraged activists…

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to take part in a series of “pay to slay” auctions that have outraged animal rights activists.

The hunting jamboree, at which delegates will bid for the right to take part in 301 hunts that will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, is organised by Safari Club International (SCI), whose members include the notorious killer of Cecil the lion.

The four-day extravaganza at the Mandalay Bay hotel and convention centre on the Las Vegas Strip includes live music from country veteran Merle Haggard and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

The auction features an array of items including a white gold leopard broach – starting price $39,000 (£27,500) – and bullet gift certificates.

But the centrepiece of the event is unquestionably the auction of packages to hunt – and in some cases stuff – big game. Lots range from Iberian red deer and Pyrenean chamois to Australian water buffalo and African elephants.

The description of the 10-day Alaska Brown Bear and Black Bear hunt, which has a starting price of $75,150, reads: “This all-inclusive hunt is an outstanding option for hunters who want an all-in-one luxury hunting experience…in amazing areas boasting the highest density of bears in the world.”

5-walter-palmer2.jpg

US dentist Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil the lion, with another of his trophies

It adds: “Method of take is hunters’ choice.”

The Ultimate Hunters’ Market has been condemned by animal rights activists, amid a renewed focus on the ethics of big game hunting after SCI member and US dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil in Zimbabwe last year.

Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International said: “The auction site reads like a grotesque killing-for-kicks catalogue, in which the lives of the precious wildlife are sold to the highest bidder so that they can be slaughtered for fun.

“It is a tragic indictment on our society that, despite the global outrage over Cecil the Lion’s pointless killing, this scale of trophy hunting is still going on,” said Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International.

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves added: “It beggars belief that there are still people who are excited by the prospect of slaughtering an animal for target practice and turning it into a trophy.”

The Safari Club International (SCI) is expected to raise more than $2.5 million from auctioning the mammal hunts alone, which have been provided from various hunt organisers.

The club runs the convention annually and it provides the majority of its income – most of which is used to lobby Washington.

Urgent: Stop the Las Vegas Trophy Hunting Auction!

theo bronkhorst

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/774/929/935/#sign

BY: Jennifer Johnson

  • TARGET: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center, Las Vegas

 

 42,991 supporters

GOAL
45,000

we’ve got 42,991 supporters, help us get to 45,000

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to place bids at a trophy hunting auction. 

Sign this petition to demand the Mandalay Bay Hotel cancel the 4-day event and promise not to hold any future auctions encouraging the slaughter of animals.

This disgusting event is organized by Safari Club International (of which the notorious killer of Cecil the lion is a part) and is selling off permits to kill 600 animals in 32 countries. Animals targeted by the event include the Iberian red deer and even African elephants.

These are animals we need to be protecting, not encouraging people to kill. Join the campaign asking Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center to shut down this event and promise not to hold another animal slaughter auction.