Too many people choose to shoot wildlife with guns instead of with cameras. Two examples of killing wildlife which includes many endangered breeds are trophy hunting and hunting of exotic animals on designated hunting ranches.
A recent case of trophy hunting came to the forefront when Cecil the lion was killed July 2015 by a trophy hunter. Cecil was a well known lion who lived primarily in Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. He was shot by Walter Palmer, an American dentist and recreational game hunter.
It was determined Cecil was lured away from a safe zone within Hwange National Park, so he could be shot outside the park. He suffered for days before he died from his injuries. Of Palmer, Capt. Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and former star of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars”, said in Facebook:
“Dr. Walter Palmer has done something worthwhile after all. His special combination of vanity, smugness, greed, arrogance and stupidity has taken something which happens all the time, usually out of sight and out of mind, and has elevated it to international recognition.”
Cecil the Lion
According to Wikipedia, “Trophy Hunting is the selective hunting of wild game for human recreation. The trophy is the animal or part of the animal is kept, and usually displayed, to represent the success of the hunt.” Additionally, they define ‘trophy fees’ as:
“A trophy fee happens when you buy an add-on tag to combo up a hunt at a certain price, and if you take that add-on animal, you pay an additional price for its harvest.”
Some trophy hunters think that killing endangered exotics helps conservation, but not everyone agrees. Many animals at hunting ranches are bred in captivity or purchased from zoos. They are killed by big game trophy hunters who pay a trophy fee.
Trophy fees vary depending on the prey that is being sought by the trophy hunter. USA Today explains the costs to hunt exotic animals in their story ‘Hunters happy to pay big cost for big game‘.
Hunting ranches can be found throughout the United States. A majority of them are found in Texas. The size and prey on each ranch varies. Ox Ranch in Texas boasts that it has “18,000 acres of the best Texas Hill Country Hunting.”
Ranches allow hunters who pay a trophy fee to shoot whitetails, red stags, red sheep, black buck, elk, buffalo, Aoudad (sheep), red Sheep, turkey, and feral hogs.
Examples of wildlife subject to captivity hunting include big cats, bears, giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, axis, African addax antelopes, dama gazelles, scimitar-horned oryxes, Arabian oryxes, red lechwes, barasinghas and wildabeasts.
Greed feeds the trade, but the threat of extinction continues the fight to save them by individual effort and the efforts of rescue groups such as NSEFU Wildlife Conservation.
NSEFU MISSION is two-fold:
To preserve and protect the wildlife in Zambia, while developing and supporting community programs which provide economically viable alternatives to poaching.
To educate the NSEFU Community, particularly its youth, about the critical importance of environmental and ecological stewardship.
In the next in this series, National Compass will outline the threat to animals’ survival and well being from smuggling and poaching.
My second story in this series: