I am climbing in with a few opinions on the recent furore over the Trump offspring, their manly Big game hunt in Africa and their ensuing defense of their actions. They are not apologising. In fact the twitter-verse is full of Donald jr’s defensive responses to public opinion.
Here are some of his prime justifications: When questioned whether it was wasted meat: “r u kidding me? Everything is always eaten or you don’t shoot. It’s the first rule of hunting” The Trump Boys did not personally skin, dress and eat the result of their merry romp around the bush – apparently they gave it to the local village: “u think we wasted the meat? It fed a village for a month.” Nice thought, but if the photos are anything to go by: one elephant; at least three buffalo; a large male kudu; a large waterbuck; one, maybe two crocodile; a leopard and a civet… were the (reported) tally for the time they spend running around the bush. They were out there in March 2011, which is late summer in Zimbabwe and in order for this massive pile of meat to feed the village for the month and not poison them, they would need an elephant-sized refrigerator, a canning operation or huge drying and smoking sheds.
There are quite a few hunting concessions that are permitted to bring self-indulgent morons into the area and it seems they provide a full service including how to get your “trophy” home. Yes, trophies! You don’t think a leopard gets shot and they don’t want the skin? Click here to see some of the taxidermy FAQ’s for one of the hunting concerns in the Matsetsi River Valley. My favourite (not):
“Q. How long will it take you to finish my trophies?
A. The typical turn around time is 12 to 14 months depending on the shop loading and the trophies received. Full body Elephants, Rhino, Giraffe etc, will require more time. Estimates are provided when we receive the trophies.”
Full body Elephants and Rhinos? Are you KIDDING ME?
So if anyone wants to stake out US Customs and Excise around now, they might find there is a shipment from Africa for the Trump Boys… The bits that the villagers couldn’t manage to fit into their non-existent freezers.
While the hunting outfit that they used has a lot to say on the subject of hunting and conservation – their ethics are not proven. On their website they state: “We will support any person who is against the hunting of endangered wildlife species.” So if it is not listed as Endangered, merely threatened or vulnerable, that’s okay – lets push the species over into the Endangered category by hunting it! In their rather gruesome flickr album of grinning fools – what do we see?
Rhinos (shot in 2009) – Endangered - in the linked paper you will see that they cite White Rhino populations in Zimbabwe as being in the decline – this paper was prepared in 2008. And since then, poaching has reached epidemic proportions.
Leopards – Status – threatened - Ya gonna eat that animal, Bubba?
Cheetah – Status – Vulnerable - Ditto above
Elephant - Vulnerable - in addition to which – they have photos of big tuskers – these are the prime breeders. So because some rich idiot wants the tusks they are removing prime breeders from the gene pool and leaving the small tusked and tusk-less animals to breed into it. That is not hunting with “conservation” as their primary objective. That is hunting for the sake of ego.
Talking of egos – Old Eric must have been so proud of bagging a civet. There it is, about the size of a spaniel and probably less likely to savage your ankles. I can see no conservation or nutritional benefit from this kill. They don’t threaten human habitation, they don’t eat small children for lunch, in fact they are probably quietly beneficial in keeping the creepy crawly population down. Big up Eric, You’re the MAN!
I eat meat, I wear leather, I have no objection to hunting for the pot – your pot, to feed your family – as long as it is an abundant species. I have no objection to necessary culling of species that are overpopulated (although ironically, we don’t do enough to control our own populations). Just stop thinking that it’s cool to trophy hunt our animals. Kindly stay out of Africa, unless you want to take photographs and if you want to contribute to the local population, fund some schools so that they can pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty – feeding them for a month is not teaching a thing, it’s just being patronising.