Welcome to Pieter Kat's official LionAid blog. Here you can follow Pieter's opinions, thoughts, insights and ideas on saving lions.
Thursday 18th November 2010
Just in case you thought you had heard it all….
ALL I CAN HOPE IS THAT NAMIBIA HAS LOTS AND LOTS OF CHEETAHS?
CITES records show that between 1999 and 2009, a total of 1115 cheetahs were exported as trophies from Namibia. Other countries like Zimbabwe (75 exports over the same period) pale in comparison. And it seems that Germans are particularly fond of cheetah trophies as they imported 386 of them during that time, Austria (104) wins second place by a nose over France (103), Spain also did well (85), and Poland (49) and Italy (47) were also rans. They speak a lot of German in Namibia, so maybe that’s why the Germans and Austrians ranked so high? It’s called a gepard in German by the way.
WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO SHOOT A CHEETAH IN THE FIRST PLACE?
And Namibia classifies cheetahs as “Dangerous Game”! Give me a break. Among the big cats like lions and leopards and tigers, the cheetah has to rank among the most docile – starting perhaps with the Pharaohs, many fully adult cheetahs have been kept as household pets! That aside, I cannot understand why anyone would want to shoot a cheetah in the first place. It is not even one of the big five that at least have a bit of a macho factor for hunters – you could always make up a great story about how the buffalo, elephant, or rhino almost flattened you, or how the lion or leopard almost killed you, but what could you say about a cheetah? “It was a close thing Hans, this cheetah that is now a rug came within inches of biting my ankle”? Maybe cheetahs appeal to the more fearful and timorous among hunters?
HUNT A CHEETAH AND TAKE ONLY ITS PHOTO HOME TO THE USA?
To hunt a cheetah in Namibia will cost you at least $20,000 (not including your flight from Frankfurt, taxidermy, VAT, tips, etc.). Perhaps in recognition of the timid hunter, the trophy fee seems to be about $5,500, compared, for example, to the trophy fee of $25,000 for a male lion. But get this. You are not allowed to import cheetah trophies into the United States – a rather strange exception to the “anything goes” attitude of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Some of the Namibian Professional Hunter websites warn their potential US clients about this, but in case they should be deterred from hunting a cheetah, they also say that you can pose with your trophy for a picture. Now to me, that defies all logic and sanity. You, as a trophy hunter, would pay in excess of $20,000 to shoot a cheetah, pose for a picture, and then head home? If a picture is a trophy, how about a photographic safari?
WANT TO KILL AN ANIMAL BETWEEN FLIGHTS?
And talking about heading home, I came across an interesting offer on a South African Professional Hunter’s website. He says it so much better than I could, so this is a direct quote: “Johannesburg - Cape Town - Got time to kill between flights?...don't waste time hanging out at the airport! Hunt just outside Johannesburg or Cape Town for a variety of South African species including Cape Eland, Bontebok, Gemsbok, Blue and Black Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest. Quick and easy”. One wonders if he used the phrase “time to kill” on purpose? “Honey, you and the kids go check into the hotel, I just gotta kill me something. Be right back”. As your mind boggles, you must admit this is a whole new angle to trophy hunting in a true entrepreneurial spirit? And with true South African efficiency you can be sure the game ranch near the airport will have the animal ready and waiting for you…
Posted by Pieter Kat at 00:00
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