Big Game trophy hunting always in the headlines.

Big game trophy hunting has recently hit the headlines yet again with another American huntress causing worldwide outrage by posting photos on social media and causing widespread attention. It could be said that they do it on purpose. And of course that is exactly want they want to do. They want us outraged, and strange though it may seem, they want the publicity so that they can get the notoriety and associated celebrity they crave and social media is the best way of doing so.

The culprit this time is a lady from Kentucky named Tess Thompson Talley who stated:

“prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today. Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him.

Dead giraffe, posing hunter, Big Game trophy hunting
Tess Thompson Talley with her aged victim. ©Independent Digital News and Media Ltd.

They know what they do is perfectly legal and that they have the backing of many conservationists, wildlife experts and scientists. Many are coming around to the idea that perhaps it does benefit some animals in the long-term to be hunted for money which can be used to pay for their protection and habitat.

Lions need trophy hunting just as much as trophy hunting needs lions”

Dr Craig Packer, an eminent American professor with a passion for conserving lions is one of them and has stated: Lions need trophy hunting just as much as trophy hunting needs lions’. He believes their long-term survival depends on big money coming in to protect them and was also quoted as saying:

“Trophy hunting is not inherently damaging to lion populations provided the hunters take care to let the males mature and wait to harvest them after their cubs are safely reared. The dentist [who shot Cedric] was unlucky and not altogether to blame. Trophy hunters are no angels, but they actually control four times as much lion habitat in Africa than is protected in national parks; and 80% of the world’s lions left in the world are in the hunters’ hands”.

For the countries involved, such as Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique it apparently benefits their economy greatly. Advocates are quick to point out that by encouraging ‘hunting farms’ wildlife and natural habitat is also encouraged and not used for livestock, therefore benefiting conservation.

“you can often be sharing the dinner table with hunters who have just shot one of the animals you came on safari to see”.

Hunting farms are on the increase and are shooting galleries full of semi tame animals that are easily tracked and shot. They have the dual purpose of being ‘private reserves’ providing luxury safari accommodation for tourists. Ironically at these places you can often be sharing the dinner table with hunters who have just shot one of the animals you came on safari to see.

The subject is of course extremely divisive and in recent years we have had the story of Cedric the lion in Zimbabwe. He was shot with an arrow, then tracked for hours and finally shot dead by a trophy hunter paying US$35,000 dollars for the privilege. The main reason this story attracted so much attention was that the lion had a name making it more personal to us and was wearing a tracker collar for an Oxford University research team to follow him.

He didn’t realise the lion was so popular and had a name, otherwise he wouldn’t have shot him.

The American dentist, who committed the outrage, apologised for his actions. He said that he didn’t realise the lion was so popular and had a name, otherwise he wouldn’t have shot him. The apology was absurd as basically he was justifying his actions by claiming that shooting some other semi-tame non-celebrity nameless lion would have been acceptable, which bizarrely is probably correct.

What is noticeable is that so many of the hunters are north american, presumably because of the gun culture there and that they are bored with shooting bears, coyotes and pumas in their own part of the world.

There are hundreds if not thousands of iconic wild animals such as lions and bears being bred for the sole purpose of being shot for gain and pleasure, just like game birds. All over Africa big-game hunting is big business, with hunters lining up to pay huge sums to kill ‘trophy’ animals, so that they can display the heads and body parts around the home.

Everything I have done is legal, so how can you fault someone because of their hobbies?” Sabrina Corgatelli, another ‘celebrated’ hunter.

Big game hunting will never be eradicated in the present climate as there are so many mixed messages coming from all those who should be campaigning against it.

There seems something very wrong in breeding ‘wild’ animals to order, just to be shot to raise funds to supposedly conserve others. If that is the future for the planets’ wildlife, which it seems it is, I just wonder whether it is worth bothering to save animals for future generations.

Updated February 2020

Tourists abroad risking life and limb.

We seem to lose all common sense and concern for our own health and safety

With mass tourism spreading round the world it doesn’t take long for local entrepreneurs to realise the strong lure of displaying local wildlife to tourists in unregulated collections, animal rides and shows, particularly when it concerns young animals or up close encounters. And they are quick to entertain the hordes and grab the foreign exchange.

As tourists abroad we seem unable to stop ourselves from taking part in these pursuits just to while away a few hours. Often visits to these places are part of excursions and day trips advertised on boards outside every tourist information stand.  Many of those who book these trips see no wrong in it, and become fed up with ‘do-gooders’ or ‘animal lovers’ telling them it is wrong.

We seem to lose all common sense and concern for our own health and safety and visit certain attractions which we would never consider supporting at home, usually as part of our holiday itinerary, such as riding elephants, posing with baby monkeys, tigers or snakes or watching crocodile wrestling, performing bears and elephants, cock-fighting and bull-fighting, the list is endless.

Asian elephants forced to perform for tourists

The promise of close contact with animals entices us and for some absurd reason we are eager to accept assurances from total strangers in charge, or tour guides, that the baby monkey or tiger cub we are about to hold, the pen we are about to walk into containing adult tigers, lions or leopards or the animal we are about to ride on are perfectly safe to be in close contact with and have our photograph taken with. We have no idea of the unpredictability or danger posed by ‘tame’ or semi-tame wild animals.

We also, for some inexplicable reason,  cannot associate the same cruelty and suffering involved, with that of circus animals which most people are supposedly against.   Globally, incalculable numbers are trained by methods which normally involve fear and pain and they face torment and neglect living in unnatural environments. Trainers force them to do demeaning and unnatural tricks and although there is plenty of advice and publicity available on the issues, most tourists abroad lap it up, particularly the burgeoning tourist trade from countries which see little value in animal rights.

No consideration is given to what kind of life the animals experience and what happens to them once they outgrow their usefulness. The poor things are only brought into the world to make a lot of foreign currency for the owners, which is only made possible by the clueless tourists who support such ventures.

For me it is impossible to understand why watching some local idiot wrestling with a snake or a crocodile or a poor monkey riding a kids bicycle is a pleasurable experience. Honestly what do we get from experiencing these or riding on an elephant’s back for twenty minutes or so when the poor creature spends most of its life chained up.

Such behaviour is not just restricted to ‘exotic’ countries with different values, as such activities are common in the USA, Canada and Australia where you can pay to meet and stroke tigers at petting zoos or watch alligator wrestling. Tiger petting attractions are very popular throughout South East Asian countries such as Thailand where tour companies promote the experiences, such as Tripadvisor and ‘animal loving’ reviewers laughably give them the thumbs up.

When the animals are too old to perform or are no longer ‘cute’ and particularly if they rebel, the owners discard or kill them. Baby monkeys are taken from their mothers, attached to rope leashes and paraded around all day. Once their cuteness wanes with age and they become aggressive through frustration, they are either killed or discarded. They are rarely able to fend for themselves or safely join a troop.

History is littered with highly publicised tragic incidents of so-called rogue animals attacking, mauling or killing innocent tourists, but usually it is the tourist who is mainly culpable. Despite these regular incidents we never seem to learn.

Tourists have short memories and still put their lives at risk to go elephant trekking as it is a thing to do on their bucket list.

In 2000, at an elephant ‘show’ in Pattaya, Thailand a man and his two daughters were crushed by a frustrated elephant that ran amok into the seated audience. One of his daughters was tragically killed and after the incident the naive father criticised the lack of medical facilities at the park and lack of an ambulance. Attacks by exasperated and cruelly treated elephants in countries like Thailand occur every year and are widely publicised, but tourists have short memories and still put their lives at risk to go elephant trekking as it is a thing to do on the tick list.

In 2016, a Scottish tourist named Gareth Crowe was trampled and gored to death by an elephant in Koh Samui in front of his 16-year-old daughter having allegedly tormented the animal with a banana and when attacked by his handler wielding a speared hook, gored him as well.

No matter how well-trained and socialized with humans an animal is, we fail to understand that wild animals never lose their wild instincts and can rebel at any time when they become frustrated and their natural wild urges come to the surface.

The message is not getting across that posing with captive wild animals with no thought to how the poor creatures was obtained, housed and cared for, and ultimately disposed of is a crass behaviour just to get meaningless photograph posting on social media and forgotten in no time.

By attending these events you are not only playing a part in continuing the cruelty and suffering involved behind the scenes, but RISKING YOUR LIVES!