Posts Tagged With: hunting

What would Trump’s presidency mean for wildlife?

Trump’s opinion on the Environmental Protection Agency:

TRUMP: Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.

Q: Who’s going to protect the environment?

TRUMP: We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015

Trump and son Justin Appenzeller

Trump and son at an interview with Field & Stream. photo: Justin Appenzeller

On the governmental budgeting and handling of public lands, Trump eludes to leaning on his sons (avid trophy hunters and defenders of the killing of Cecil the Lion) for advice:

 “..the good thing is, I’m in a family where I have—I mean, I’m a member of the NRA, but I have two longtime members of the NRA. They’ve been hunting from the time they were five years old and probably maybe even less than that. And they really understand it. And I like the fact that, you know, I can sort of use them in terms of—they know so much about every single element about every question that you’re asking. And one of the things they’ve complained about for years is how badly the federal lands are maintained, so we’ll get that changed.”

During the same interview, his son Donald Trump Jr commented: “It’s really all about access. I mean, I feel like the side that’s the anti-hunting crowd, they’re trying to eliminate that access—make it that much more difficult for people to get the next generation in.”

On his sons’ trophy hunting:

trump boys kill leopard by hunting legends

Trump sons in one of several known trophy hunts. photo: Hunting Legends

“My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the Second Amendment. Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not  ahead of golf.”

Source: Daily Mail

On the building of the “wall” separating the US and Mexico:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predicts that a solid barrier running along the entire U.S.-Mexico land border, like the “great, great wall” that Donald Trump wants to build, would affect 111 endangered species, 108 migratory bird species, and four wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries. That would be an ecological disaster..

Source: Slate.com

Trump on Circus elephants:

TRUMP circ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on climate change:

Throughout the campaign Trump has challenged the urgency of addressing climate change using a variety of explanations from saying that the issue was “created by and for the Chinese” and that he believes climate change is merely weather. His energy policy proposals—to the extent that he has any—suggest a similar view. He has promised to “cancel” the Paris Agreement to address climate change and to expand the use of coal.

Source: Time

AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference held in his hotel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Although Trump has called climate change a hoax, he recently set out to build a seawall to protect his golf course from it’s effects. Photo: Jeff Mitchaell/Getty images

 

 

 

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Hunting Outfitters Involved in Poaching

From Down the Rabbit Hole by Oxpeckers 2013:

Rogue South African trophy hunters are directly involved in ‘a mad scramble’ to poach rhinos and get their horns out of the Kruger National Park, according to reliable intelligence sources. The horns are sold illegally, which is facilitated by layers of corruption among customs officials and Mozambique’s politicians. By Fiona Macleod & Estacio Valoi

Documents in the possession of Oxpeckers show the errant trophy hunters are supplying Mozambican poachers with ammunition and helping them to sell the horns illegally. They manage to avoid apprehension by bribing local officials and courting influence with Mozambican politicians.

Oxpeckers 1

The southern border of the Kruger National Park. Rangers arrested eight poaching suspects along the Crocodile river in August 2015

 

The hunters run safari outfits along the south-eastern border of the Kruger, and they gain access to the park through gaps in the fence between the two countries. They cannot be named owing to the seriousness of the trafficking allegations against them.

They operate in the vicinity of Corumana dam and the former Magud headquarters of Mozambique’s Renamo movement. Corumana dam is a popular destination among birders and fishers, and is being expanded to supply water to Maputo about 30km away.

“During the day Corumana is serene, but at night you hear the traffic of boats with engines plying their illegal trade. There is a mad scramble to get as many rhino horns out of the Kruger Park as possible,” said a fisherman who visited the area recently.

Independent intelligence sources have been monitoring the hunting operators since 2011. They say they have passed their information on to anti-poaching authorities in South Africa, but have received no feedback on whether it has been followed up.

Confidential documents reveal that the kingpin is a safari outfitter with a hunting concession close to Corumana dam. He regularly hunts wildlife without permits, according to intelligence, and smuggles animal trophies and rhino horns in a hidden compartment of his vehicle.

The documents implicate him directly in the poaching of rhinos in southern Kruger and the smuggling of their horns to Maputo and South Africa. He is also accused of bribing the local police chief to drop charges against poachers working with him.

Other hunters fingered in the investigation since 2011 include a safari outfit previously caught luring lions out of the Kruger for “canned” hunts, and another outfit previously implicated in ivory smuggling in Namibia. The network has formed strategic alliances with politicians and prominent business in Mozambique for protection, according to the intelligence.

 

 

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The Voice of Reason

The permission has been granted for the American trophy hunt of a Namibian black rhino. The stance of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is that by killing this “old bull” it will aid in conservation. But I invite the director Daniel Ashe to listen closely to the people who know best, the men and women on the ground.

black rhino alamy

Namibian black rhino (by Alamy)

 “In forty years of close association with black rhinoceros, I have NEVER known of a free ranging wild old male past his breeding period targeting, and killing, rhino females and calves but, rather, the odd fights have only, in my own experience, occurred amongst breeding competing males, as is common in other species.

In Africa old age is respected: by extension, it is un-African and basically unethical not to allow an old male that sired many calves a peaceful retirement, in the same way as breeding bulls in the cattle world are put out to pasture, not sent to the butcher, once they stop being productive. It is equally unethical to use two sets of measures for poachers, who shoot a wild animal for financial gain, and are arrested or shot, and for a wealthy legal hunter who can pay a fortune for the pleasure to kill it, and is congratulated instead? In both cases a dead endangered animal is the end product. This auction is cruel, ill-timed, and to be condemned.

If the person bidding to shoot the rhino bull has that spare cash available, why not DONATE it to the cause and leave the poor rhino alone? The old rhino does not deserve a bullet.

– Kuki Gallmann; Conservationist, author, founder of The Gallmann Memorial Foundation and honorary game warden.” 

 

Please tell the USFWS how your feel (civilly)    USFWS

Email: dan_ashe@fws.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usfws
Twitter: @DirectorDanAshe @SecretaryJewell
‪ #‎ShameUSFWS‬ ‪#‎KillTheTrade‬

 

– See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/kenyan-rangers-moving-letter-to-american-rhino-hunter/#sthash.2r4GBqvU.dpuf

 

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In the Eye of the Storm

Tornado

by: Sarah Soward

 

The Debate

Trade talks are going strong in South Africa. The DEA’s (Department of Environmental Affairs) specially appointed “Committee of Inquiry” is hearing both sides in an ongoing debate on a topic that is irrelevant and distracting.

In a spot on observation by Allison Thomson, founder of OSCAP:

South Africa’s authorities need to understand that a trade proposal is the wrong way to go. It does not have the support of Asian rhino range states who indicated their wish to retain the trade ban in the Declaration from the First Asian Rhino Range States Meeting which took place in Indonesia on October 2013. Any proposal which might be put forward at the next CITES meeting, which will take place in South Africa in October 2016, is highly unlikely to succeed, which will be a huge public and political embarrassment for South Africa on home turf.

If the government put nearly as much effort into current, day-to-day anti-poaching strategies imagine the impact! Yet, anti-poaching strategies COST the government, whereas legal trade would give them a generous payout.

Perhaps no-one said it better than Chris Bean (Attorney) to the DEA:

“Should you manage to change direction of this ship then posterity will hail all of you as heroes.,” said Bean. “If you dither around and achieve nothing then you and the others in the Department of Environmental Affairs will be known as the corrupt losers who tried to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic just before it sank.”

The Hunt

Just in yesterday:  the American trophy hunter who applied for the permit to kill the Namibian black rhino, in the name of conservation made news again. As the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) issued permission for the hunt to go ahead.

The agency, as well as pro-hunting advocates claim killing the older, less viable rhinos is necessary to promote healthy populations.

In a statement from Daniel Ashe, the USFWS director, “United States citizens make up a disproportionately large share of foreign hunters who book trophy hunts in Africa. That gives us a powerful tool to support countries that are managing wildlife populations in a sustainable manner and incentivize others to strengthen their conservation and management programs.”

With this in mind, the death of this rhino should then make way for the birth of more. Is there proof in this theory?

In the midst of it all, do pro-trade (which will not likely come to fruition without CITES or Asian support), or the killing of one or two black rhinos amount to measurable conservation? All smoke and mirrors, a distraction to the poaching and corruption. The focus needs to be on strategies that make a real difference. Relocation efforts, stepping up anti-poaching initiatives, and strengthening laws.

Let’s remember what matters most…

black rhino by jan hrbacek

Photo by: Jan Hrbacek

 

 

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Rhino “Safekeeping” in Question

runnin rhinos

It’s no secret that South Africa has been gunning for legal trade in rhino horn. This has been their agenda all along. But with the recent CITES convention, independent analysis from varying groups and global public pressure; it’s evident they may not get their way.

Yet rhino continue to be slaughtered. So what options do they have?

They could have stricter laws against poaching. Straight jail time with no chance at a lessened sentence or parole would be a good start. Prosecutors who specialize in poaching and trafficking crime, who have no choice but to implement the stricter law, and a shoot-to-kill policy for their rangers, combined with immunity for those rangers put in a shooting situation.

Zuma could direct funding toward supplies for rangers and APUs, and work in tandem with other countries to stop the massacre. As President, he has the power to set the tone by conveying a no tolerance policy.

BUT instead they choose to send the rhinos away. Mr. Zuma “Is it really easier to change locations for hundreds of one ton animals instead of changing laws?”

zuma meme 2

Still, this move could almost be applauded if they were only being moved to a country like Botswana, a country with a no-tolerance, shoot-to-kill policy against poachers. A country where trophy hunting is now obsolete, a place further away from the scourge of poachers thriving in Mozambique.

BUT losing out on the money that legal trade would’ve given them, they have to make it up somehow. So half of the rhino being moved, are being sold to hunting safaris. (This move, which was denied repeatedly by SANParks and Edna Molewa, has been in the works since November of 2013 according to Oxpeckers)

hunter in sun

Winterhoek , Chapunga and Steyn Safaris are the three in contract with the rhino purchases.

Like a bad episode of Lost, the twists and turns in the rhino saga continue to respond to questions with yet more questions. The corruption and mere incompetence continue to leave the world shaking their heads and wondering at the outcome.

Is there really no super power to swoop in and save the day? Can no one step in, take the reins from these bumbling fools and say “Enough!”?

Attorney Christopher Bean, Terri Stander, Shadow Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, and Allison Thomson of OSCAP have requested an urgent investigation into these contracts with the hunting safaris.  Hope for a more reasonable outcome lies with them.

For more on the rhino move, see SANParks Allegedly Sold Rhinos to Hunting Farms for ‘Safekeeping’

Wildlife SA cartoon WAR

via WAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molewa with rhino

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Shades of Gray

rhino auction protest

Protesters at the Dallas Safari Club January 12th.

The Dallas Safari Club has auctioned off the life of a black rhino for $350,000.

In light of this recent atrocity, trophy hunting has come to the forefront of the social consciousness. The elitist hobby of killing for the thrill  has been going on since the 19th century, with nearly 18,000 participants a year.

Today, with the black rhino population in serious decline, each life is crucial to the species. It is a wonder that anyone could place higher value on their death, than their life. Endangered species are labeled as such to provide them extra levels of protection. Hunting them to “save” them flies in the face of logic.

Yet, some argue that hunting helps conservation. What do they mean by that?

Countries condone trophy hunting for a couple of reasons:
1. to make money – the money brought in from the hunting fee goes toward community conservation
2. to help control wildlife populations – keeping wildlife at reasonable numbers for the health of the species
3. to rid areas of “problem” animals –  i.e. elephants or cape buffalo that destroy crops

elephant huntedThe hunters pay fees, differing amounts depending on the size of the game.  Allegedly, these fees and the resulting meat are given to the communities.

With human/wildlife conflict a growing concern, many countries permit trophy hunting where only older males or repeated crop or cattle raiders are targeted. This provides a win-win for the village: the pest animal is removed and they receive monetary support.

Is it working? How much money is the community receiving? And how do they spend the money?

According to David Hulme, author and conservationist, its working well in terms of conservation.  Zimbabwe is having high conservation success, primarily because of the hunting community.

“Here in Zimbabwe hunters have been on the frontline of the poaching wars. They were at the forefront of massive rhino evacuation exercises, moving them from the Zambezi valley to safer areas. Pretty much the only rhino left in Zimbabwe are in the large conservancies, owned and operated by hunters.
Hunters here in Zim  also organized and carried out the first ever live adult elephant translocation exercise, moving whole herds from drought stricken Gonarezhou national park to the conservancies.”

The Save Conservancy in Zimbabwe, an area Hulme is quite familiar with, is one such example.

The conservancy used to be denuded cattle land and is now the largest privately owned conservation area in the world, at 1 million acres. In 1990 there were a handful of lions there, now there are hundreds, 20 odd rhino, now there are 130, 20 odd elephants now there are 1500, no buffalo now there are thousands.. “said Hulme.

big five james jean

Big Five by: James Jean

And what about the community? The Zimbabwe government is currently backing a project that allows trophy hunting of elephants, warthogs, giraffes, buffaloes and impalas. The project is well established, with the hunting fees being used to build a school and a clinic. This added income is especially helpful to the people during the dry season, when crops and livestock are not viable.

It’s hard to argue with the wildlife growth or community benefit. It’s been working in Zimbabwe for years. Yet what seems to be helpful in one area is a disaster in another.

South Africa remains the largest trophy hunting industry on the continent.  Frustratingly, they are one of only two countries to allow the legal hunting of rhinos. Of course with the rhino being endangered and this being home to the remaining 90% of them, this is a nightmare.

rhino awareness graffiti by Faktor

Rhino awareness graffiti in S.A. by: Faktor

Encouraging  legal hunting, while trying to crack down on illegal hunting (poaching) seems difficult, if not impossible. Rich foreigners with cash in hand stepping into impoverished communities make it all too easy for corruption to flourish.  In the end, it comes down to money. The communities need it, the hunters have it, and the animals are the product to be bought and sold.

________________________________________________

Thank you David Hulme for reminding me the world is more than black and white.
R.I.P.

david hulme 3

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South Africa Tourism: A Catch 22

international rhinoOf the world’s most popular travel destinations, South Africa ranked #21. Tourism supports 1 out of every 12 jobs in South Africa,  in total contributing 9% to the total GDP (gross domestic product).

Among the top ten travel hot spots within the country, half are eco-tourism destinations, including the #1 ranked Kruger National Park.

Understandably, the government aims to increase its tourism industry,  in turn fueling the economy.

According to the S.A. tourism director, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, “Going forward, we would like to contribute half a trillion rand into South Africa’s economy and create 225,000 jobs (in tourism) by 2020.”

With that being said, “Why doesn’t the government take a stronger stand on poaching and conservation?”

Canned Hunts

The cover page on the South Africa tourism site shows “The Big Five” under the photo of a lion.  Ironic considering that although lions are listed as threatened,  SA is home to  the shameful atrocity of canned hunts. (see: Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

There are now officially more lions in captivity than in the wild. From 2006 to 2011, canned hunts of lions increased by a whopping 122%, with no signs of slowing. In the last 6 years, the number of farm lions has grown by 250%.

Is anything being done to stop this? It would appear not.  In 2010 the South African Supreme Court struck down a law which would have restricted the practice.

bachmanIf the recent outcry of protests against Melissa Bachman (the US hunter shown in a photo with a dead lion after her hunt) is any indication, the majority clearly do not favor or support this practice.

Poaching

With South Africa being home to 83% of the world’s remaining rhinos, the country is holding all the cards when it comes to saving the rhino from extinction. There has been an escalation in poaching over recent years to the toll of 2-3 rhino being killed per day.

rhino poaching stats 2013

In 2013, although there have been 310 arrests,  how many are actually convicted? The justice system seems inadequate in handing down speedy or consistent sentences. Those who are sentenced, are often released with a minimal fine, only to go out and poach again.

Granted, poaching is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be combated through combined routes of education, economy, and the justice system. But time is not on the rhinos side.

With the lack of action, and decrease of wildlife, some in the tourism industry are fearful of negative repercussions.

Chris Roche of Wilderness Safaris said “Tourist boycotts are harmful and have adverse effects contrary to their intentions,” says Roche. “We would not advocate any real consideration of this as a mechanism in exerting influence on governments. Rather, we believe that the opposite is a far more meaningful action; that tourists actually travelling to locations where poaching, especially of ivory and rhino, is prevalent is the best possible contribution.”

While that is true, it is a catch 22.  No one will pay for wildlife safaris to see grass and trees. Tourism is the jewel of South Africa’s economy. If the tourism industry is to survive, then so must the rhinos, elephants, and lions.

A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
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Philan”trophy”

The Dallas Safari Club is making headlines for their decision to auction off a permit to shoot a rhino in Namibia. Their mentality: “kill a rhino to save the rhino” doesn’t need much argument as to why it’s ridiculous. Watch the following video:

The Word: Philantrophy

stephen colbert

Colbert Report : The Word Philantrophy

Please read, sign and share the following:

Dallas Safari Club: Stop the Auction

Absurd Practice: Don’t Kill Them to Save Them

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The “Con” in Conservation

Lions live behind fences and cages, waiting to be killed.

Lions await their fate at breeding farms.

Recently SABC: Special Assignment aired an expose on lion breeding facilities in South Africa.

The lioness’ are forced to breed more repetitively, not unlike puppy mills. They make money by tempting tourists to pay for being a “caregiver” to the cubs, leading them to believe they are helping with conservation of the lion. In reality these same cubs who become accustomed to people, are sold to the highest bidder to be shot and killed.

This is an eye-opening, must-see for everyone concerned with animal conservation.

THE CON IN CONSERVATION

Cubs start their lives off being doted on by well-meaning tourists.

Cubs start their lives off being doted on by well-meaning tourists.

Ultimately they are all shot and killed by humans who they do not fear.

Ultimately they are all shot and killed by humans who they do not fear.

Avaaz: Please sign the petition to ban the Lion trade in South Africa

To Donate: Four Paws: South Africa…saving lions from canned hunts

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King of the Jungle Dethroned

Africa’s rhino and elephant aren’t the only animals facing extinction, the African Lion is threatened. It is extremely rare to see a lion over 3 years of age in the wild.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

*Over the last 50 years, the lion population has plummeted from 200,000 to less than 25,000

*Sadly, the rate of decline is accelerating. While the countries of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and the Congo have already lost their lions, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda expect them to be gone within ten years.

lion map

FACTORS EFFECTING LION POPULATION

Habitat loss and human conflict is partially to blame for their loss. The loss comes from the gradual depletion of the savannah. In an ecosystem that was once larger than the United States, there is only about a quarter of that left today. From this shrinking habitat, comes a population growth which increases human/lion conflicts. People move into an area, bring in livestock which is inadvertently bait for the lions; then when the lions come in and do what their predator skills dictate they do,  the people kill the lions. It’s  a losing situation on both sides.

Trophy hunting/canned hunting is also a factor. (See previous post: https://fightforrhinos.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/shooting-fish-in-a-barrel/). This is entirely preventable. There are currently 160 farms in South Africa alone who legally breed lions just to be hunted. Although the hunts are not completely confined to bred animals, as some ranches capture wild lions and smuggle them in. In a five-year span ending in 2011, there have been 4,062 lion trophies exported out of  South Africa.

These lions were bred to be killed at a ranch that offers canned hunts.

These lions were bred to be killed at a ranch that offers canned hunts.

Canine distemper and tuberculosis have also been widespread.  In 1994 and 2001 there were major Distemper outbreaks  resulting in a the demise of a third of the population.  Tuberculosis  started with infected cattle and moved to buffalo which was ingested by the lions. About 25 lions die each year from TB. Just as importantly, it  has an effect on social behavior, as males are weakened by the chronic disease, leading to a faster territorial male turnover and consequent infanticide, eviction of entire prides and a decrease in  lion longevity.

lions storm

NEGATIVE AFFECTS OF LION DISAPPEARANCE

If this top predator disappears, it will devastate an entire ecosystem. Lions play an integral role in the food chain, regulating the herbivores (i.e zebra, buffalo). Without the big cats, the “prey” will out-compete other animals, causing a reduction in biodiversity and eventual extinction.

Tourism will become non-existent. People go on safari to see not only the lions, but the lion’s prey (zebra, gazelle, buffalo). At the current rate of decline with  Africa’s big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard) there will be NO safaris.

It seems difficult for people to grasp that the “King of the Jungle” is vulnerable and needs help. But without human intervention, it seems the lions may be a species of the past, only to be seen in pictures. We can’t let that happen.

For more information on lions and how to save them please go to these organizations:

 http://www.lionaid.org/

http://lionalert.org

extremely rare to find a male lion older than the age of three – See more at: http://right-tourism.com/issues/cruel-sports/canned-hunting/#sthash.OsWKD5HF.dpuf
extremely rare to find a male lion older than the age of three – See more at: http://right-tourism.com/issues/cruel-sports/canned-hunting/#sthash.OsWKD5HF.dpuf
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