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.”

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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.

Senate Committee Passes Anti-Wildlife Package with Poison Pills, Strips Wolves of Federal Protections

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2016/01/senate-committee-passes.html?credit=web_id93480558

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today added several poison pill provisions to the so-called Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, S. 659, which already threatened the interests of wildlife, conservation and public lands, but now is an even more extreme measure.

Among other harmful provisions, the bill now strips wolves of their federal protections in four states under the Endangered Species Act, subverting the judicial process and subjecting hundreds of wolves to hostile state practices such as baiting, hound hunting, and painful steel-jawed leghold traps. It also blocks federal wildlife officials from making decisions about cruel and inhumane predator control practices on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

In response to the EPW vote, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said: “This was already an awful bill, but now it’s an appalling one — undermining the federal courts and removing federal protections for endangered wolves, denying proper oversight of toxic lead in the environment, blocking carefully considered rulemaking to protect animals on national wildlife refuges, among other destructive provisions.  This bill is a grab bag of miscellaneous items that the trophy hunting lobby cannot secure in free standing bills, and Congress should give it a quick, clean kill shot.”

A few of the harmful provisions included in S. 659 are as follows:

Wolves

Just last month, Congress rejected a rider to the end-of-year spending bill that would have removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes states and Wyoming. Today, the committee adopted by voice vote an amendment by Senator Barrasso, R-WY, to accomplish the same. This proposal would both subvert judicial processes and undermine the ESA, one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws. When wolves were delisted in 2012, 20 percent of the Wisconsin population was wiped out in three hunting seasons, including 17 entire family units. In a three year period, more than 1,500 wolves were killed in the Great Lakes states alone. It is clear that federal oversight is necessary to provide adequate protections for gray wolves as required by the ESA.copyrighted wolf in water

AK Predator Control

An amendment proposed by Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK, and adopted on a straight party-line vote would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing a rule and going through a public process on cruel predator control methods like the trapping and baiting of wolves and bears in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

Lead

The bill contains troubling provisions that relate to the use of lead ammunition, at a time when non-toxic ammunition is available to all hunters, and is less harmful to wild animals, land, and human health. The committee rejected a common sense amendment by Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA, that would have narrowed the exemption for sport fishing equipment from the Toxic Controlled Substances Act to focus on lead content. Senator Boxer’s amendment would have required periodic reports by the Environmental Protection Agency on the health impacts of lead in fishing equipment.

Polar Bears

A provision of the bill would roll back the Marine Mammal Protection Act and provide a sweetheart deal to help 41 wealthy polar bear trophy hunters import the heads of rare polar bears they shot in Canada. The animals were not shot for their meat, but just for trophies and bragging rights. It’s the latest in a series of these import allowances for polar bear hunters, and it encourages trophy hunters to kill rare species around the world and then wait for a congressional waiver to bring back their trophies. The committee today rejected an amendment by Sen. Boxer that offered a sensible middle ground on this issue, and would have allowed the import of 41 questionable polar bear trophies, while making absolutely clear that the one-time carve-out is not intended to set a precedent.

Adventure show star charged with Alaska hunting violations

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/entertainment/2015/12/10/adventure-show-star-charged-alaska-hunting-violations/77084918/

Wildlife Photography a Crime? Stop Wisconsin’s Right to Hunt Bill

https://takeaction.takepart.com/actions/worse-than-ag-gag-stop-wisconsin-s-right-to-hunt-bill?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2015-11-4

About the Petition

The Wisconsin legislature is considering a bill that would potentially criminalize photography in the wild and could even make being in the proximity of a hunter a violation of the law.

The “Right to Hunt” bill expands on legislation designed to prevent the obstruction of hunting, fishing, or trapping in the state. Photographing, monitoring, or recording hunters and trappers would be prohibited under the law if passed as written. Even maintaining “visual or physical proximity” to those engaged in hunting or trapping would be criminalized.

The bill is so far-reaching that it could practically ban wildlife photography and expose hikers and other non-consumptive public land users to hundreds of dollars in fines or even jail time simply for being in the presence of a hunter or trapper.

Please sign the petition to the chair of the Wisconsin Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry, and ask him to immediately table this bill and prevent it from becoming law.

To: Sen. Thomas Tiffany

I am alarmed to learn that the Wisconsin legislature is considering a bill that seeks to shield the actions of hunters and trappers from public scrutiny by grossly expanding the list of activities prohibited under existing law.

The bill, 2015 Senate Bill 338—or, as some are calling it, the “Right to Hunt” bill—would criminalize photographing or videotaping hunters in addition to maintaining proximity to or impeding a person engaged in hunting or trapping.

This proposed legislation is so expansive and restrictive that it could make criminals out of bird-watchers and wildlife photographers and put hikers, cross-country skiers, and other non-consumptive users of public land at risk of arrest. Public lands belong to all Americans, not just a chosen few that engage in activities favored by some politicians. This legislation appears not only designed to protect one class of citizens at the expense of another (in a likely unconstitutional manner) but also to prohibit public knowledge and scrutiny of activities on public lands that impact wildlife and wild places held in the public trust. Neither of these ends is a worthy goal for a state legislature to pursue.

The bill would also be bad for endangered wolves. One of the primary causes of human/wolf conflict in Wisconsin is depredation of bear hunting hounds by wolves defending themselves or their families from these packs of dogs. Criminalizing efforts to document this activity could lead to even greater conflict and more wolves killed in retaliation.

I urge that as chair of the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry, you exercise your authority to table this bill permanently and prevent it from becoming law.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

Hunters shoot two elk – then realise they were firing through fence into zoo

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hunters-shoot-dead-two-elk-before-realising-they-are-firing-into-zoo-enclosure-a6698626.html

1610111_10152194241138908_1599987755_n “A group of hunters in Norway have shot dead two elk – before
realising seconds later they were firing through a fence into the
animal’s enclosure in a zoo.”

Animal rights activists put a bounty on the head of a man who shot a bull elephant.

Trophy hunter

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/612822/elephant-hunter-kill-animal-rights-bounty

By Jaymi McCann

The hunter and a guide with the lifeless body of the huge bull elephant he paid £39,000 to kill

The man, said to be a German who paid £39,000 to go on the hunt in a national park in Zimbabwe, was pictured with the corpse of the elephant, thought to be the largest killed in 30 years with 120lb tusks.

Animal rights group Peta Germany has offered a 1,000 euro (£735) reward for the man’s identity.

Palmer FACEBOOK•AP

Walter Palmer caused outrage when he took a picture with the lifeless body of Cecil the lion

ime’s about up for trophy hunters and the world wants to know exactly who this cowardly man is who’s in hiding after gunning down a magnificent elephant, who, like Cecil the lion, wanted only to be left in peace

Ingrid Newkirk, Peta president

Peta president Ingrid Newkirk said: “Time’s about up for trophy hunters and the world wants to know exactly who this cowardly man is who’s in hiding after gunning down a magnificent elephant, who, like Cecil the lion, wanted only to be left in peace.”

Peta wants the man to face the consequences of “killing and hacking apart an animal to feed his psychotic need to take a life”.

HunterGETTY

Poacher being apprehended in Kruger National Park

The elephant may have been Nkombo, a massive bull from the Kruger National Park in South Africa, just over the border. The row follows global outrage sparked by US dentist Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil with a high-powered crossbow.

Zimbabwe conservationist Johnny Rodrigues said: “We need international laws and the UN to make the killing and import of these animals illegal.”

 Dominic Dyre, of the Born Free Foundation, said: “Elephants are being lost at a massive rate. Allowing trophy hunting gives the green light to poaching.

“The money goes back to President Robert Mugabe’s corrupt regime.”

Hunting clubs, rhino hunter sue Delta over trophy ban

Hunting clubs and a man who paid $350,000 for a license to hunt a black rhino in Namibia have sued Delta Airlines, saying its ban on transporting some big game hunting trophies hurts conservation efforts and violates its global obligations.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Texas on Thursday, the hunter of the endangered black rhino, Corey Knowlton, along with the Dallas Safari Club, the Houston Safari Clubs and others said that the transport of the trophies is allowed under a strict systems of global permits and Delta must abide by its obligations.

“Tourist hunting revenue is the backbone of anti-poaching in Africa. If there are fewer users, as Delta’s embargo envisions, there are fewer boots on the ground and reduced security for elephant, rhino and other at-risk wildlife,” the lawsuit said.

Delta officials were not immediately available for comment.

Delta was one of three U.S. airlines in August that banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters, in the fallout from the killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion about a month earlier.

Delta is the only of the carriers with direct service between Johannesburg and the United States and its decision was seen as carrying the most weight.

There has been an international outcry against trophy hunting among animal lovers since it emerged that American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion that was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Eleven African countries issue lion hunting permits. Of them South Africa’s hunting industry is the biggest, worth $675 million a year, according to the Professional Hunters Association.

Hunting groups argue the money generated from the legally sanctioned hunts bolster the coffers for conservation in emerging African countries that want to use their limited finances for social programs.

In the middle of this year, the cargo division of South Africa’s national carrier, SAA, lifted an embargo that had been in place since April on the transport of legally acquired hunting trophies of African lion and elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.

“It should be remembered that hundreds of legally acquired wildlife specimens, such as hunting trophies, pass through our main ports of entry and exit monthly without incident. Penalizing an entire industry for the illegal actions of the few is not in the country’s best interests,” South Africa’s Environment Minister Edna Molewa said at the time.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

B.C. man persuaded to give up coveted licence to hunt grizzly bears

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-man-persuaded-to-give-up-coveted-licence-to-hunt-grizzly-bears/article26646576/

Brent Sheppe grew up in a family of hunters, and for almost as long as he can remember he wanted to kill what some people regard as the biggest trophy of all.

“It’s been a dream of mine to get a grizzly bear. You know, to be able to hunt something that could hunt you back is pretty intimidating, is pretty awesome,” Mr. Sheppe said in a recent interview as he sat at home watching a hunting show on television.

This fall, after 10 years of trying, Mr. Sheppe got lucky, and for the first time his name was drawn for a grizzly bear licence in a limited entry hunt (LEH) in the Knight/Kingcome Inlet area on British Columbia’s central coast.

Getting your name drawn for an LEH is like winning the lottery, because it allows you access to an area from which the vast majority of hunters are excluded. LEHs are a way for the government to restrict the number of animals killed by limiting the number of hunters allowed in a prescribed zone. This year, 9,614 hunters applied for LEH licences for grizzly bears in British Columbia, and 3,469 tags were issued. In the Knight/Kingcome zone, 324 applied and 59 were selected.

(A government spokesman said many more tags are issued than bears are harvested. In 2014, for example, 3,067 LEH hunters province-wide killed 267 grizzlies.)

When Mr. Sheppe got his licence after so many years of trying, he was ecstatic.

But in a remarkable story of conversion that shows the dramatic way attitudes are shifting against grizzly hunting in B.C., Mr. Sheppe is going to forfeit his LEH.

Instead of shooting a trophy bear, he is going to look at one through binoculars.

The 31-year-old welding contractor grew up in Port McNeill on the north end of Vancouver Island, where people go into the forest to get meat the way urbanites visit the butcher.

“The way I was raised, we’d go out and shoot some animals and we’d bring the animals home and clean them, process them, smoke them and put them in the freezer. That was what we’d eat growing up. So hunting has been a big part of my life,” he said.

But his views on hunting grizzly bears changed recently when he talked with Mike Willie, an old friend and a hereditary chief of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation.

Mr. Willie runs Sea Wolf Adventures, which offers cultural and wildlife tours on the coast, and Mr. Sheppe was hoping to get a boat ride into the remote Knight/Kingcome area, at the southern edge of the Great Bear Rainforest.

“I gave him a call, and was like, ‘You know, you’re the guy to take me out and help find some animals.’ And he said, ‘Well, there’s a bit of a problem because I’m completely against hunting these animals; they are majestic and spiritual,’” Mr. Sheppe said.

They talked about the importance of bears to First Nations.

“Bears are like family. If you have a bear lost, it’s a family member down,” Mr. Willie said.

“It really hit me,” Mr. Sheppe said. “I never had the opportunity to go hunt one before, so I was pretty excited about this [hunt], but my views have changed. Something in my spirit has switched and I’m ready to start a new chapter and try and help promote saving these bears.”

Mr. Willie said as an incentive to help Mr. Sheppe abandon his hunt, Sea Wolf Adventures and Nimmo Bay Resort, a luxury wilderness lodge, have offered to host him and his family for a bear-viewing trip.

It is an offer he hopes to make to other hunters prepared to give up their LEH licences.

Fraser Murray of Nimmo Bay Resort said when Mr. Sheppe sees a trophy grizzly, they will identify it as the bear that would have been shot had the hunt proceeded. A snare will be used to get DNA from a hair sample, and the bear will become part of a science project tracking the movement of coastal grizzlies.

“We’ll learn more about that bear and get a sense of the value of that bear to tourism as opposed to hunting,” he said.

A study last year found that tourists spent $15-million on bear viewing in the Great Bear Rainforest in 2012, while hunters spent $1.2-million.

Judging by that, the bear being spared by Mr. Sheppe is worth a lot more alive than dead.

Increasingly, British Columbians seem to be realizing that. A survey released on Friday found that more than 90 per cent now oppose the grizzly hunt. Included in that number are probably a lot of hunters like Mr. Sheppe, who have turned away from killing bears.

Remove hunters from conservation departments like USFWS.

we petition the obama administration to:

Remove hunters from conservation departments like USFWS. More transparency in wildlife conservation through DOJ

Request the Department of Justice and Office of Inspector General to implement changes that bring transparency in wildlife conservation. Conservation organizations like USFWS are being used to further the interests of hunting groups.

This could be considered fraudulent use of taxpayer funds. Taxpayers assume that USFWS is protecting wildlife, not sustaining hunting.

Transparency measures are urgently required to purge hunters from conservation organizations funded by taxpayers.

Published Date: Sep 12, 2015
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Big Cat Advocates Oppose Plan To Kill Cougars

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 http://www.eugeneweekly.com/20151008/news-briefs/big-cat-advocates-oppose-plan-kill-cougars

Oregon’s 2016 big-game hunting regulations will be on the agenda when the Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Florence Oct. 8 and 9.

Specifically the commission will discuss opening up target areas where “cougar numbers will be proactively reduced in response to established criteria” for cougar conflicts with humans, livestock or other game animals such as mule deer.

There were no target areas in 2014 and 2015, but the commission is proposing to open up four areas in 2016. One of them is to reduce livestock and safety conflicts, two are for improving mule deer populations and the fourth is for mule deer and bighorn sheep.

Cougar advocates want the state to know that “the people of Oregon want cougars well managed and not killed en masse because of ill-conceived schemes that have no scientific validity,” as Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon director for the Humane Society of the United States, puts it.

In a call to Facebook followers to come and testify on Oct. 9, the group Predator Defense compares cougars to Cecil, the African lion killed by an American hunter, saying, “America’s mountain lions are experiencing the same fate as Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous and beloved lion, illegally killed in July by a Minnesota dentist on a trophy hunt.” The group continues, “But what’s happening here is even worse — the slaughter is legal and being carried out by government agents on behalf of deer hunters.”

Beckstead of HSUS tells EW, “The policy of treating wild ungulates like free-roaming livestock to be ‘harvested’ and wild carnivores as vermin to be exterminated is an archaic approach to wildlife management that ignores the evolving humane values of most Oregonians.” He points out that voters have opposed twice allowing recreational hunters to use hounds to hunt cougars in 1994 and 1996.

According to the commission’s agenda information, depending on the area, the cougar killing would be carried out by volunteer agents, federal Wildlife Services and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at an annual cost of almost $70,000 to remove 95 cougars. Sally Mackler, native carnivore advocate for Predator Defense, says “federal agents from the USDA’s Wildlife Services and local houndsmen deputized by ODFW are immune from state law banning use of hounds by trophy hunters.”

Beckstead says that “using packs of radio-collared trailing hounds and neck snares to indiscriminately kill Oregon cougars” in the target zones “under the guise of protecting mule deer and reducing conflicts with humans and livestock is just poor wildlife management, not scientifically valid.”

Mackler adds, “Science shows that cougar predation is a minor influence on mule deer population, and the main reasons for decline are habitat, nutritional quality of and access to forage.”

The groups are calling for a stop to “indiscriminate killing” and for the use of up-to-date science on the big cats, especially in light of the fact that Oregon’s management plan for cougars is due to be revised and updated next year. “Cougars should be conserved for all, not just managed for a few trophy hunters,” Predator Defense, HSUS and 10 other groups say in their comments to the ODFW commission.

Those who wish to testify about the plan can go to the 8 am meeting at the Driftwood Shores Resort, Pacific Room, 2nd floor, 88416 1st Ave. in Florence.