Sorry “hunters”, but I’m going to have to support the animals on this one.
Trophy hunters really get my goat. Indeed they probably would be itching to get my goat, if I was speaking literally*, and not figuratively.
Every year, trophy hunters kill thousands of magnificent, exotic wild animals, representing hundreds of different species, in a host of countries. Trophy hunters most often prefer to kill the most beautiful, the largest, and the rarest of animals.
They also call it “Sport”. Calling such a lop-sided endeavour “Sport”, is akin to playing a 5-year old at tennis. No one is buying it, and you just come off as a massive wanker.
Look, it might classify as “Sport” if you were both equally equipped. And no, you can’t tie a rifle to a zebra’s back and call it evens. Mano a mano. Or mano a los dientes, if I had my way.
“Myth of Conservation”
Proponents of trophy hunting consistently argue that the revenues raised from trophy hunting in poorer countries supports conservation. Yes, good reader. Hunters actually claim they are conservationists. The irony is as thick as their skulls.
“Killing for conservation” is akin to “fighting for peace” or “fucking for virginity”…
The reality is very little, if any, of the revenue generated from hunting goes towards preservation.
Eco-tourism on the other hand, where visitors observe and photograph animals in their natural habitat, does help conservation.
So which is better? The answer would appear obvious, but let’s do some simple math. Oh, stop groaning. I’ll do the math. You kick back and hum “The Old Grey Mare” until I’m done.
Let’s do the exercise based upon lions. On average, a lion kill brings in around $15,000 to the organisers. That’s one visitor, one lion, and one singular injection of tourist dollars. Don’t get me wrong, this is significant income in a poor nation. But you’re left with a dead lion at the end of the deal.
In national parks, a single maned lion generates on average over $350,000 PER ANNUM through photographic tourism. And their average life expectancy in the wild is 10-15 years. That’s over $3.5M during its life span.
So although hunters pay quite large sums relative to the local economy, ordinary tourists are much more numerous, and not only do they inject much more into the economy, they provide revenues straight into the horse’s mouth. Or in this case lion’s mouth, because the proceeds go directly towards conservation parks.
Blood-hungry hunters can shoot an animal only once, but photo-hungry tourists can shoot it a thousand times and the animal is still there for the next group.
$15,000 vs $3.5M. Hmmm. Which is better… Which is better…
Serial “Conservationist” – Melissa Bachman
Because the numbers of lions in the wild are dwindling at such an alarming rate (an estimated 75% decrease in population in two decades), “Game Farms” in South Africa have sprouted to meet the demand of trophy hunters determined to “bag a lion”. Sadly, this is a legal practice in South Africa, and it generates a sizeable income for farm owners. Virtually none of the money generated goes towards conservation, despite shameless promotion to the contrary.
So what is “Canned Hunting”? There’s no dressing it up. Lions are bred and kept in captivity, and tourists are encouraged to visit and pet them when they are young cubs (more income on a pay-per-pat basis). When the lions are in their prime, a “hunt” is arranged in a confined area. The unsuspecting lion is released and can then be easily shot and killed, in some cases from the safety of a vehicle.
Incidentally, the magnificent male lion in the photo above was bravely killed by Melissa Bachman by way of canned hunting. Tally ho! How sporting!
Why am I hating on Melissa Bachman so much?
After completing her canned lion hunt in South Africa, she drew attention to herself by boasting about her kills on Twitter and Facebook. She wrote: “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion… what a hunt!” The words were accompanied by the photograph of a beaming Bachman posing next to the dead animal. Her apparent joy in killing the magnificent, and ostensibly defenceless lion sparked outrage in South Africa and all over the world.
Canned hunt. Take out the “anned h”, and you’ll glean my thoughts on the likes of Melissa Bachman…!!
Admittedly, social media abhorrence did go a little too far, when there was internet furore over this photo:
But it did spur a pretty awesome meme, so the Triceratops’s death wasn’t entirely in vain…
Trophy hunters’ desire to kill the biggest and strongest is also affecting natural selection. Some scientists say that systematically hunting of the most mature members of an animal population can adversely affect its gene pool. This will reduce the average size of future generations and threaten the ability of the species to thrive in its habitat. It is claimed that human hunting over many years has gradually diminished the size of the Kodiak bears of Alaska. I fail to see how this is a good thing, unless you’re a dweeby, socially-awkward Kodiak Bear…
But seriously hunters, if you desire a thrill from tracking an animal through the wilderness, sneaking up on it and pressing your finger – buy a fucking camera.
If your lust for killing leaves you unsatisfied with this, then I have one last suggestion that at least offers a more level playing field. Let’s call it, I don’t know… “The Hunter Games”. 24 hunters enter an arena, and, well, you get the picture…
* Gen Y take note…