Airline Takes On Big Game Hunters to Protect Rhinos, Lions, and Elephants

Africa’s largest airline bans the shipment of endangered animal trophies on its flights.


An elephant head with ivory tusks and other hunting trophies in a taxidermy store in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (Photo: Robert Caputo/Getty Images)

April 30, 2015

Taylor Hill is TakePart’s associate environment and wildlife editor.

It just got harder for big game hunters to bring endangered animal trophies back home from South Africa to hang on their wall.

That’s because South African Airways, the continent’s largest airline, has banned the transport of endangered rhinos, elephants, and lions aboard its passenger and cargo flights.

“SAA will no longer support game hunters by carrying their trophies back to their country of origin,” SAA country manager Tim Clyde-Smith told the South African media on Wednesday. “The vast majority of tourists visit Africa in particular to witness the wonderful wildlife that remains. We consider it our duty to work to ensure this is preserved for future generations and that we deter activity that puts this wonderful resource in danger.”

The news broke April 25, when the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa posted internal documents from SAA revealing its embargo plans. The airline then issued a statement announcing that the embargo had gone into effect April 21 on all of its flights. No exceptions will be made, even if the hunter holds a valid permit “issued by the relevant authorities” to transport the animal, the airline said.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said in an email that a recent incident influenced the airline to establish the embargo. “Early in April 2015, a shipment lodged as machinery spare parts was discovered in Australia whilst in transit to Kuala Lumpur. The shipment contained elephant tusks and was seized. We were issued with a notice of seizure.”

“We recognize that this decision could impact several stakeholders,” Tlali added. “SAA Cargo remains committed to playing a significant role in curbing the illegal transportation of all animal species while positively contributing to national and international conservation efforts.”

Conservation groups are touting the move as a step in the right direction, helping curb the hunting of Africa’s endangered animals and limiting options for illegal wildlife traffickers who might otherwise transport wildlife products under the guise that the goods were obtained via legal hunts.

“We see this as a bold and positive move on South African Airways’ part to limit human-induced mortalities,” said African Wildlife Foundation spokesperson Kathleen Garrigan. “It’s especially impactful given that [SAA] services a major sport-hunting destination.”

With SAA taking the first step, the question is whether other international airlines will follow suit. Delta Airlines, the only U.S.-based airline with direct flights to South Africa, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding SAA’s embargo.

If other airlines jump on board, trophy hunting might not be so appealing to big game hunters if they can’t bring evidence of their kills home. American hunters are already facing restrictions on what African animals they can go after.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials banned ivory trophy imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe last year and are considering listing the African elephant as an endangered species—which would effectively ban all ivory trophy and elephant skin imports from legal hunts.

“This move will likely not deter hunters from hunting, but it may deter them from choosing South Africa as a destination for sport hunting,” Garrigan said.

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Also see:  With conditions: Carolinas regulators approve first federal permits for offshore oil surveys

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/05/04/with-conditions-carolinas-regulators-approve-first-federal-permits-for-offshore/

Petition: Demand an End to Trophy Hunting!

DEMAND AN END TO TROPHY HUNTING WILD ANIMALS

  • author: sophie m
  • target: KENDALL JONES (facebook)
  • signatures: 6,738

6,738

7,000

we’ve got 6,738 signatures, help us get to 7,000

This girl posts loads of photos of herself with endangered animals that she kills and shows them off on facebook. She is proud that she hunts defenseless wild animals to hang on her wall. This needs to stop now and we need to make a point for other poachers out there!

Bill Maher: If you’re on a safari to kill elephants and the elephant kills you instead… ‘good’

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/bill-maher-if-youre-on-a-safari-to-kill-elephants-and-the-elephant-kills-you-instead-good/

Bill Maher - (HBO's Real Time screenshot)

On this week’s edition of HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher was all about death during his New Rules segment, expressing happiness that a big game hunter was killed by the very elephant he was stalking, to a Republican named Upright who is still campaigning against Hillary Clinton from beyond the grave.

Maher began by mocking constant target Sarah Palin for her new PAC logo — featuring the Big Dipper over her head — saying stars circling over your head isn’t a sign that you’re looking to the future, “it just means you’ve walked into a stop sign.”

Also see   Laughing at religion is exactly what the world needs: http://www.salon.com/2015/04/26/bill_maher_american_hero_laughing_at_religion_is_exactly_what_the_world_needs/

Rhino Hunt Auction Winner Fears for His Safety

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/16/us-rhino-hunt-auction-winner-fears-for-his-safety/4517427/

Marie Saavedra, WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth 6:07 a.m. EST January 17, 2014

A man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety

DALLAS — A U.S. man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety.

Corey Knowlton said that after being revealed as the winner of a controversial Dallas Safari Club auction, he’s received death threats — so many that he says local law enforcement and the FBI are now working to keep them safe.

STORY: Black rhino hunting permit auctioned for $350,000

Knowlton, who has hunted around the world, said there has been a lot of anger and some confusion.

He leads expeditions for both everyday Joes and billionaires looking to hunt, and has been a fixture on The Outdoor Channel. His Facebook page is filled with photos of large deer he’s tracked and killed — wild boar, a bear, even a massive shark.

The Safari Club auctioned the permit to raise money for efforts to protect the black rhino.

Knowlton said his goal was to support conservation efforts for the black rhino. That’s where the money from his bid will go.

But critics feel that the chance to kill one is no kind of reward — and they’re letting him know it.

Still, Knowlton said the hunt is well-managed, and insists he will be targeting an aggressive older male that he says is terrorizing the rest of the herd, and would already be a target.

He said this is a challenge he welcomes.

“I’m a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino,” Knowlton said. “If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it’s beyond the point.”

He said the death of this black rhino is inevitable.

“They are going to shoot those black rhinos … period. End of story,” he said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Mystery blob messes up ecosystems

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Adapted from:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27362-mystery-blob-in-the-pacific-messes-up-us-weather-and-ecosystems.html#.VTFO22d0y1t

16 April 2015 by  under Climate Change

An unusual threat is looming off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Now roughly 2000 kilometres wide the mass that scientists are calling “the blob” has lingered off the coast for a year and a half and has set size records.

Fresh research published in Geophysical Research Letters has examined the causes and impacts of this anomaly, which has grown more recently.

The blob has changed water-circulation patterns, affected inland weather and reshuffled ecosystems at sea. Although scientists say the planet’s warming oceans may not be responsible for the mysterious and long-lived anomaly, some see it as an early warning of changes that might be coming to Africa in the next few decades.

Satellite imagery first alerted scientists to the strange formation in August 2013, when the roundish blob was seen over the Atlantic. Researchers don’t know what to think…

“You know that feeling of joy someone gets when they put an arrow through a giraffe’s eye…..No, me neither”*

*Recent Tweet by Ricky Gervis

More: http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2015/04/ricky_gervais_vs_rebecca_franc.html

Rebecca Francis has been famous in hunting circles since 2010, when the photogenic Utah native won the obscure reality show “Extreme Huntress.”

But now she’s famous in the wider world as well, thanks to comedian Ricky Gervais.

Last week, Gervais, a dedicated animal-rights activist with more than 7 million Twitter followers, came upon a photo of Francis posing next to a giraffe she had just killed, a big smile spread across her face. The result: a tweet heard ’round the world.

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“What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?”

Ricky Gervais         @rickygervais

People outraged by Francis’ apparently cavalier attitude toward killing wildlife expressed their disgust on social media and beyond.

Stunned by the criticism, Francis struck back, accusing Gervais of sexism. “Ricky Gervais has used his power and influence to specifically target women in the hunting industry and has sparked thousands of people to call for my death, the death of my family and many other women who hunt,” she said in a statement. She added: “I repeat I will never apologize for being a woman who hunts as I know that my passion for hunting and conservation is making a direct difference on the ground for wildlife.”

In the wake of Gervais’ giraffe tweet, a few people on Twitter did call for violence toward Francis. Some of Francis’ supporters have also suggested violence is the answer. One hunting enthusiast tweeted: “@rickygervais a real hunter would shoot idiots like you for the greater good of society.” Gervais retweeted it.

On her website, Francis boasts of having “taken” bears, moose, sheep, zebra and many other animals with both bows and rifles, and of mentoring other women who are interested in hunting. “For me, there is nothing more empowering than sharing that special moment of success with another female who is chasing her dreams,” she writes.

Gervais responded to Francis’ sexism claim by tweeting as if he were Francis: “I kill lions, giraffes & bears with guns and bows and arrows then pose grinning. Why don’t people like me? Must be because they’re sexist.” He then highlighted male hunters too, employing his usual un-PC humor.

Such as Tweeting, “Maybe he was hungry,” under this photo:

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Francis has gone quiet in recent days, but Gervais, whose Twitter feed often features his house cat Ollie, gives no indication that he’s done.

Elephant kills professional big game hunter in Zimbabwe

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Professional hunter tracking a lion for American client crushed to death by young bull elephant in Zambezi Valley

By Peta Thornycroft, Johannesburg

17 Apr 2015

A young bull elephant killed professional hunter Ian Gibson early on Wednesday as he tracked a lion for an American client in a rugged part of north-east Zimbabwe.

Mr Gibson, 55, one of Zimbabwe’s best known big game hunters, died scouting for prey in the Zambezi Valley after a young bull elephant charged, then knelt on him and crushed him to death.

“We don’t yet know the full details of how ‘Gibbo’ as we called him, died, as the American client and the trackers are still too traumatised to give us full details,” said Paul Smith, managing director of Chifuti Safaris’ which employed Mr Gibson for the hunt.

The American hunter was on his first trip to Zimbabwe, and only has one leg, but was “fit and strong” and had already shot a leopard. Mr Gibson was scouting for lions when he encountered the elephant.

Mr Gibson’s trackers said the young bull had been in a musth period, which means it was producing much more testosterone then usual.

“We know ‘Gibbo’ shot it once, from about 10 yards away, with a 458 [rifle]. He would never have fired unless he had no alternative. He was a hunter, yes, but he was also a magnificent wildlife photographer and conservationist.

“He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy.” …

Mr Smith said the young bull elephant appeared not to be a natural target for any hunter as its tusks were too small.

“In most years someone is usually killed on a hunt somewhere in Africa, and that is why it is called ‘dangerous game hunting‘ but we are very shocked that it was ‘Gibbo’,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Gibson began his wildlife career in Zimbabwe’s department of national parks, but left to become a hunter about 25 years ago.

He was well-known in the US, where the Dallas Safari Club is paying his funeral expenses.

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/11546066/Elephant-kills-professional-big-game-hunter-in-Zimbabwe.html

Hunter Ian Gibson Trampled To Death By Elephant He Was Tracking To Kill For Ivory

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/17/hunter-ian-gibson-trampled-death-elephant-tracking-kill_n_7085374.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

A professional game hunter has been trampled to death by an elephant he was attempting to kill.

Ian Gibson was leading a hunt in Chewore North in the lower Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe, when the bull elephant “began a full charge. ”

In an online note on the website of his employers Safari Classics, the company explained Gibson had been tracking the elephant for five hours with a client when they stopped for a rest.

ian gibson

Ian Gibson was killed by a charging African bull elephant

It adds: “Feeling he was quite close to the elephant, Ian and his tracker Robert continued to follow the tracks in hopes of getting a look at the ivory as the client stayed with the game scout.”

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Gibson’s tracker indicated the elephant was in “musth” – a condition where the animal’s urge to mate goes into overdrive and it becomes overly aggressive, but Gibson continued.

The note continues: “They eventually caught up with the bull, spotting him at about 50-100 metres. The bull instantly turned and began a full charge.

bull elephant zimbabwe

The animal was in a state of ‘musth’ making it aggressive (file picture)

“Ian and Robert began shouting in order to stop the charge. At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him. The scene was very graphic.”

It is not known if the animal was injured or killed in the incident.

Gibson is paid tribute to as “a fine man and one of the most experienced professional hunters on the African continent.”

The same company lost a staff member in 2012 when Owain Lewis was killed by a buffalo, NewZimbabwe reports.