Should Trophy Hunting remain legal?

Omila, Science And Environment WriterOpinion / Science And Environment

Read Time:4 Minutes

“Ever since we arrived on this planet as a species, we’ve cut them down, dug them up, burnt them and poisoned them. Today we are doing so on a greater scale than ever.” – Sir David Attenborough

I start my article with this quote not only out of respect to its author, climate change activist David Attenborough, but due to its succinct message.

This quote is so brilliant because it can be interpreted in so many ways. This quote encapsulates how we, as the human species, have affected every element of the earth’s circle of life through our insensitive desire to be at the top of the food chain.

The “them” can apply to anything: fossil fuels, wildlife, the ocean and, most importantly, the animals that we live side by side with.

In my eyes, I see this quote as a message to the world and its leaders on why trophy hunting (the act of killing a wild animal for sport) should not remain legal any longer.

Most people struggle to understand why hunters want to take life from such beautiful animals.

The statistics from a 2016 report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that 1.7 million hunting trophies were traded between nations between 2004 and 2014, of which 200,000 were endangered.”

Even though this data was collected a few years ago, it still highlights the ever increasing number of trophies being exported and traded, meaning more and more animals are being killed. Which I believe needs to stop.

There is an ongoing biodiversity crisis on our planet. Biodiversity refers to the variety of animals and life on earth and sadly this is ever decreasing. A statistic from CareOurEarth says that the current rate of global extinction is 100 times higher than the average over the last million years.

Serious action needs to take place in order to prevent any more of the Earth’s biodiversity from being lost- and this must start with change. Trophy hunting laws might be a good place to start.

File:Cecil the lion at Hwange National Park (4516560206).jpg
Walter Palmer’s killing of Cecil made international news in 2015. It is estimated that hunting has led to the lion species’ gene pool shrinking by 15 percent in the space of 100 years.

This lion, Cecil, lived in Hwange National Park in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. On the 2nd July 2015, he was killed by American trophy hunter Walter Palmer. Cecil was allegedly lured out of his enclosure then shot with a bow and arrow and left there in extreme pain. Palmer then came back the next day to shoot the lion. On discovery that Palmer had a permit, making the murder legal, controversy arose. A petition was created to change laws on big game hunts in Zimbabwe.

There have been numerous cases where hunters have told journalists and news broadcasters that there is a conservation side to trophy hunting. Some argue that the land allocated for trophy hunting provides protection to species’ habitats and can benefit local communities with both employment and wildlife (when done correctly).  Canned hunting in particular means the animals are bred and the species are saved from otherwise definite extinction in the wild.

And yet the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation found that that only 3% of hunting revenue went to causes such as helping communities. This tells us that there is only a minor contribution to communities and they are able to cope with or without the revenue brought in, even before any ethical considerations.

These so called acts of conservation make the wildlife into an economical asset, which does not solve the problem- rather, it endangers species by giving them an economic value that humans might seek out. The treatment of species which are not yet endangered as assets to be collected or traded will surely lead them to the same fate as those already under threat.

Fortunately, there are wildlife conservation examples to be seen, mainly in Africa, which help preserve suffering species from game hunting. An example is The Makalali Game Reserve ,which is one of South Africa’s private reserves. Their aim is to counteract illegal hunting and wildlife trade by game hunters preying on critically endangered animals. The conservation area gives shelter to the animals known as ‘The Big 5’: lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos.

File:Herd of Elephants.jpg
Elephants are in the top five most sought after animals for trophy hunters.

These animals are the most likely to be hunted due to their distinctive features; whether that is tusks from an elephant or a fur coat from a leopard- these are financial opportunities to hunters, who will either illegally or legally sell these items as commodities, or keep them for their own display.

The ban of trophies being imported to the UK through new laws has seen improvement, and is expected to dis-incentivise hunters who can no longer bring their trophies home. This is a glint of hope but there is a lot that still needs to be done.

I end this article with yet another quote by Sir David for the younger generation to ponder on.

“Cherish the natural world, because you are a part of it and you depend on it.”

Feature lion image © Kevin Pluck via Wikimedia Commons

Cecil the lion picture via Wikimedia Commons © Daughter#3

Antelope in the grass © Stevepb via Wikimedia Commons

Elephants picture © Benh Lieu Song via Wikimedia Commons

Don Jr. Suspended From Twitter for Promoting False Cures for COVID

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, October 22, 2019.
Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, October 22, 2019.

BYChris WalkerTruthoutPUBLISHEDJuly 28, 2020SHAREShare via FacebookShare via TwitterShare via Email

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest child of President Donald Trump, has received a suspension from the social media site Twitter for sharing potentially harmful information related to coronavirus.

Don Jr. shared “misleading and potentially harmful information” about coronavirus, resulting in his suspension on Tuesday morning, the social media site explained.

“The Tweet is in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a spokesperson for Twitter said. “The account will be locked until the account owner removes the Tweet.”

Twitter announced in March that it would regulate and remove content “when it has a clear call to action that could directly pose a risk to people’s health or well-being.” That includes content with descriptions “of alleged cures for COVID-19,” as well as the promotion of “harmful treatments or protection measures which are known to be ineffective.”

The post in question that Don Jr. had shared seems to fit those descriptors.

The president’s son retweeted a post that falsely promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus. The video also showed individuals, claiming to be doctors, telling viewers “you don’t need masks” to protect themselves from the disease, contradicting recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In spite of the fact that President Trump has himself come around on the issue of masks, he, too, shared the dubious and misinformative video on his Twitter account on Tuesday, which also took aim at Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Twitter removed the original post, but took no action against the president’s account, as the company has a separate policy around world leaders’ accounts, stating that they will be allowed to remain in place because of their “public interest value.” However, Twitter appears not to have followed through on its policy of placing such tweets “behind a notice that provides context about the violation” in this case, though it has done so to the president’s tweets in the past.

Other social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube, have also taken actions against users who have shared the same video.

Twitter’s actions come after President Trump petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take more regulatory steps toward social media sites earlier this week. Trump is seeking to require such companies to “publicly disclose accurate information regarding its content-management mechanisms” in order to allow “users to make more informed choices about competitive alternatives.”

Trump also complained on Monday about Twitter’s trending topics feature, arguing that it was promoting content that portrayed him in a negative way.

“They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend,” he said.

Moves to change how the FCC treats social media are being opposed by the two Democratic appointees on the commission, who view the attempts to do so as a means for Trump to politically pressure the site.

“While social media can be frustrating, turning this agency into the President’s speech police is not the answer,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in response to Trump’s request.

Born Free USA campaign challenges trophy hunting industry

Leading animal welfare organization sets the record straight on the cruel reality of trophy hunting


Jul 01, 2020, 07:00 ET

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Born Free USA, an internationally recognized leader in animal welfare and compassionate conservation, is launching a six week-long campaign in July and August to raise awareness of the global impact of trophy hunting and reveal the brutal facts behind common myths supporting the continuation of this cruel, outdated practice.

(PRNewsfoto/Born Free USA)
(PRNewsfoto/Born Free USA)

“The trophy hunting industry has unfortunately been able to persuade a segment of the public that it’s actually helping save endangered species like lions, tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses by killing them for so-called sport,” said Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA. “But hunting these threatened animals as recreation and then showing off their heads or other body parts doesn’t do anything to help vulnerable populations, and this is a chance to set the record straight.”

The facts about trophy hunting tell a different story than the one presented by hunting advocates:

Myth: Trophy hunting helps maintain wildlife populations. 
Fact: Trophy hunting weakens wildlife populations by killing off the strongest and healthiest animals, which are considered better trophies. Hunters frequently target endangered species and contribute to the global wildlife trade that threatens biodiversity and wilderness habitats.

Myth: Trophy hunting provides economic support for local communities and conservation efforts.
Fact: The trophy hunting industry benefits a small group of outfitters, sponsors, and government agencies. Very little of the money it generates is invested in local economies, creates jobs, or is distributed to conservation organizations. Animal-friendly eco-tourism, meanwhile, offers an efficient, sustainable, and cruelty-free economic opportunity.

Myth: Trophy hunting is a sport.
Fact: Trophy hunting guides lure animals with bait, target animals in and around protected land that are accustomed to humans, and even shoot from helicopters. In canned hunting operations, people pay thousands of dollars to kill animals that have been raised in captivity, and shoot them in an enclosed area from which they cannot escape. There is nothing sporting about this.

Born Free USA’s trophy hunting campaign coincides with the fifth anniversary of the death of Cecil the lion. In a case that provoked widespread outrage, an American hunter and his guide in Zimbabwe used bait to lure Cecil from a national park, wounded him, and left him to suffer overnight before returning to kill him more than 10 hours later.

Despite the negative public reaction to Cecil’s death, the United States continues to allow trophy hunters to import trophies into the U.S. from around the world and allows domestic trophy hunting of iconic species like wolves, black and grizzly bears, and mountain lions.

“There’s nothing sporting about this practice,” Grimes said. “The animals targeted by the trophy hunting industry are facing shrinking habitats, increased contact with humans, and reduced populations. Many of them are on the verge of extinction. They need to be protected, not hunted.” 

For more information, visit

About Born Free USA
Born Free USA works to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. We oppose the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaign to keep them where they belong – in the wild. Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary is the largest in the United States and provides a permanent home for more than 450 primates rehomed from laboratories or rescued from zoos and private ownership.

We’re social:

Heather Ripley
Orange Orchard
(865) 977-1973

Denali wolf sightings hit record low

Denali wolf (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)

Wolf sightings hit a record low along the road into Denali National Park this summer, and that’s driving wildlife advocates to push for a halt of wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary, where park road area wolves often roam, and are sometimes killed.

A report recently issued by the National Park Service, shows only 1 percent of agency wildlife survey trips along the road into Denali National Park this summer recorded wolf sightings.

Park biologist Bridget Borg says that’s the worst number since trained park observers began officially tracking wildlife sightings along the road into Denali in the mid-1990s. Viewing percentages previously ranged from as low as 3 percent and as high as 45 percent. Borg says the currently poor wolf sighting percentage is likely primarily representative of natural factors.

“Just there being a lot of variability in where wolves den, and the size of packs over the years,” she said. “Not to say there aren’t the potential for other things to influence that outside of the park.”

Biologist and wildlife advocate Rick Steiner has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get the state to close wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary. Steiner points to the damaging impact loss of an alpha wolf can have on a pack, and makes an economic argument for why the state should care, correlating recent poor wolf viewing opportunity with dips in Denali visitor numbers and spending.

“This is kind of the goose that laid the golden egg for Alaska — if we protect it and help restore it,” he said.

Half a million people visit Denali annually, but there’s state resistance to curtailing boundary area wolf harvest by a few hunters and trappers. Closure requests from Steiner and other Alaskans have been regularly turned down. Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent Lang recently rejected the second of 2 such petitions submitted since July. Commissioner’s spokesperson Rick Green explains why.

“Data from the Parks Service isn’t a very specified area, and when we manage we manage more of a habitat area — much larger scale — and haven’t seen the evidence to constitute an emergency on the wolf population,” he said.

Green says that means it’s an allocation issue and up to the game board, which has consistently failed to grant requests to re-establish a no wolf kill area, scrapped by the board in 2010. In a July interview, game board chair Ted Spraker pointed to wolves’ resilience, and the potential for wolf viewing to rebound.

“It could all change next year if one of these eastern packs dens close to the road,” he said.

But halting wolf hunting and trapping in the nearby northeast boundary area could also help, according to the Park Service’s Borg. She points to better wolf viewing during a decade long span when boundary area wolf harvest was closed.

“When the area adjacent to the park was closed to hunting and trapping, it was correlated with higher sightings, so we think that bears replication to see if there’s a similar effect,” she said.

The park service and wildlife advocates have submitted separate northeast park boundary no wolf kill buffer proposals to the game board for consideration at a March 2020 meeting, but any change would take place after the wolf trapping season.  Steiner is pushing for an emergency game board meeting prior to the November first start of trapping season.

Botswana lifts ban on big game hunting

A young bull elephant is seen in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana, home to almost a third of Africa’s elephants, lifted a ban on big game hunting on Wednesday, citing growing conflict between humans and wildlife and the negative impact of the hunting suspension on people’s livelihoods.

Conservationists estimate the southern African country has around 130,000 elephants, but some lawmakers say the number is much higher and causes problems for small-scale farmers.

“The Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension,” the Environment Ministry said in a statement.

“The Ministry would like to reiterate that it will work with all stakeholders to ensure that re-instatement of hunting is done in an orderly and ethical manner”.

It said the return of wildlife hunting would take place in accordance with laws and regulations governing wildlife conservation, hunting and licensing, but did not elaborate. Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Onkokame Kitso Mokaila would hold a news conference on Thursday to give details, it said.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi set up a committee in June last year to consider the hunting ban, which was imposed by former President Ian Khama in 2014 after surveys showed declining wildlife populations.

At the time, the committee chair said it recommended “a legal framework that will enable the growth of a safari hunting industry and manage the country’s elephant population within the historic range”. The committee also called for “regular but limited” elephant culling.

Botswana, a mostly arid country the size of France, has a population of around 2.3 million people and its vast tracts of remote wilderness make it a magnet for foreign tourists who want to view wildlife.

Save Orangutans and Support Anti-Trophy Hunting Bill: 10 Petitions You Should Sign This Week to Help Animals!

Lead Image Source : Don Mammoser/Shutterstock

Yellowstone’s Beloved Wolf, Spitfire, Was Killed by a Trophy Hunter

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: U.S. National Park Service
240,000 GOAL
Spitfire was beloved by many. The young wolf was often spotted at Yellowstone National Park, much to the delight of wolf enthusiasts, biologists, and tourists. 

Sadly, future park-goers will never catch a glimpse of Spitfire. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks just confirmed that she was cruelly killedby a trophy hunter. What’s even worse is that her murder was completely legal. Spitfire had wandered just outside of the park, where she was no longer protected.

Please sign this petition calling for a no-hunting buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect more animals from being senselessly killed for sport.

Spitfire’s mom met a similar fate six years ago, leaving Spitfire as the new leader of the Lamar Canyon Pack. According to wolf lovers, she “led her pack through a number of very difficult circumstances” and “showed incredible strength, courage and resilience in everything she did.” Now she’s gone, and the Lamar Canyon Pack is yet again without a leader.

It’s not uncommon for animals to roam just beyond national park boundaries — which is why their protection should be extended. Sign now to demand buffer zones around Yellowstone National Park.

Photo credit: Facebook


Trump administration appeals ruling that blocked grizzly bear hunts around Yellowstone

When the ruling came down in October, Wyoming and Idaho were on the cusp of hosting the first, public grizzly bear hunts in the Lower 48 U.S. states since 1991.
Image: Grizzly bear

A grizzly bear cub searches for fallen fruit beneath an apple tree a few miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana on Sept. 25, 2013.Alan Rogers / The Casper Star-Tribune via AP

By Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. government attorneys filed notice Friday that they are appealing a court ruling that blocked the first public hunts of grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies in decades.

The appeal challenges a judge’s ruling that restored threatened species protections for more than 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Protections for the animals had been removed in 2017. When the ruling from U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen came down in October, Wyoming and Idaho were on the cusp of hosting their first public hunts for grizzly bears in the Lower 48 U.S. states since 1991.

Federal biologists contend Yellowstone-area grizzlies have made a full recovery after a decades-long restoration effort. They want to turn over management of the animals to state wildlife agencies that say hunting is one way to better address rising numbers of bear attacks on livestock.

But wildlife advocates and the Crow Indian Tribe successfully sued to stop the hunts. Their attorneys persuaded Christensen that despite the recovery of bears in Yellowstone, the species remains in peril elsewhere because of continued threats from climate change and habitat loss.

The Yellowstone population has rebounded from just 136 animals when they were granted federal protections in 1975.

Grizzlies in recent years have returned to many areas where they were absent for decades. That has meant more dangerous run-ins with people, such as a Wyoming hunting guide who was killed this fall in a grizzly attack.

Christensen’s ruling marked the second time the government has sought to lift protections for Yellowstone bears only to be reversed in court.

The agency initially declared a successful recovery for the Yellowstone population in 2007. But a federal judge ordered protections to remain while wildlife officials studied whether the decline of a major food source — whitebark pine seeds — could threaten the bears’ survival.

The Fish and Wildlife Service concluded last year it had addressed that and all other threats.

There was speculation the agency would not appeal the latest ruling and instead draft a new proposal to get the animal off the threatened list.

That possibility was raised by the agency’s grizzly bear recovery coordinator during a meeting last month with Wyoming state lawmakers, according to the Powell Tribune.

Friday’s appeal signals that at least for now the court battle over grizzlies will grind on.

But Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the case before Christensen, said the government still has the option in coming months to dismiss the case.

“I think Fish and Wildlife should go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan to actually recover grizzly bears across the West, rather than a piecemeal approach,” she said.

Also pending before the 9th Circuit are appeals from parties that intervened on behalf of the Fish and Wildlife Service. They include the states of Idaho and Wyoming and groups representing hunting interests, gun rights and agriculture.

Cody Wisniewski with the Mountain States Legal Foundation said that if allowed to stand, Christensen’s ruling could make it harder for other species to be taken off the threatened and endangered species list.

“Opinions like this move the goalposts,” he said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland referred questions about the case to the Department of Justice, which did not provide an on-the-record comment.

Famous Alpha Wolf’s Daughter, Spitfire, Is Killed by a Hunter


The shooting of another Lamar Canyon pack member has renewed calls for a buffer between Yellowstone and nearby lands, to protect roaming wolves.

926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditDeby Dixon
926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditCreditDeby Dixon

HELENA, Mont. — A wild wolf known as 926F, dear to the hearts of wolf watchers who visit Yellowstone, was killed by a hunter as it wandered just outside the park last weekend.

A member of the Lamar Canyon pack in the national park’s northeast region, 926F was the daughter of 832F, an alpha female that had become a celebrity, famous for her hunting prowess and for her frequent appearances along the road traveled by tourists in the park’s Lamar Valley.

While wolf biologists called the mother 832F, the she-wolf was famously known as “06” for the year she was born. The subject of the book “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West,” she was killed by a hunter as well.

“Everybody’s mourning, everybody’s thinking about what to do to stop this madness,” said Karol Miller, who founded a group of wolf lovers on Facebook called The 06 Legacy. “People love the Lamar Canyon Pack and people know 06 from her New York Times obituary. These are the descendants of 06, her legacy. People love those wolves.”

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Wolf watchers called 06’s daughter Spitfire.

The shooting occurred near cabins and was within hunting laws; Montana has permitted hunting of wolves since 2011, and a few hundred are killed each year.

“A game warden checked with the hunter and everything about this harvest was legal,” said Abby Nelson, a wolf management specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

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But the killing has renewed calls for a buffer around the park so wolves that live within the safe harbor of Yellowstone and that have little fear of humans cannot be shot if they wander beyond the park’s invisible boundary.

Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon
Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon

While Montana lawmakers have passed legislation forbidding creation of a buffer zone, there is a hunting limit of two wolves in each of two districts adjacent to the northern boundary of the park.

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Still, wolf hunting near Yellowstone has been extremely controversial, highlighting the clash between the New West’s ecotourism and the Old West’s hunting to protect game and livestock.

Wolves were restored to the park in the 1990s and quickly grew in number. About 100 wolves belong to 10 packs in Yellowstone, which is considered the ideal park for sightings of the animals as they hunt elk, feed on carcasses and play with their pups. Some 1,700 wolves live in the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Donald Trump Jr. back in Canada for his annual hunting trip

Donald Trump Jr. back in Canada for his annual hunting trip

The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump posted photos over the weekend of him boarding an expedition plane out of Whitehorse, Yukon.


Donald Trump Jr. is back in Canada to hunt.

The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump posted photos to his social media accounts over the weekend of him boarding an expedition plane out of Whitehorse, Yukon. The plane is believed to be an Alkan Air plane, a Yukon-based private aircraft charter.

“Mountain time. See you all in a week. Won’t have cell or anything else for that matter. #goodtimes #outdoors,” Trump posted.

Donald Trump Jr. posted to social media that he was on a hunting trip this weekend. INSTAGRAM

In his Instagram photo, Trump is accompanied by five others, including a videographer and a photographer, all of whom are dressed in outdoors gear and swag emblazoned with Kuiu, the name of a hunting gear and apparel company.

Last fall, Trump was spotted at a Prince George airport, on a layover while returning from a trip up north. He is a frequent hunter and regularly visits Canada on annual hunting trips.