Welcome to Pieter Kat's official LionAid blog. Here you can follow Pieter's opinions, thoughts, insights and ideas on saving lions.
Monday 16th May 2011
Radioactive decay is a natural process – for example uranium 238 undergoes over a dozen changes before stabilizing as lead 206. This decay chain, as it is called, can be clearly seen among proponents of trophy hunting as well, and that is also a natural process.
The decay is internal as well as external. Internally, trophy hunters are no longer believing they do the good for conservation that their lobbyists keep thumping on about. They do not conserve the species they hunt, they bed with corrupt operators and government officials, and they do no good with the money they supposedly spend for African communities to gain any benefit from wildlife. Soon they will be globally recognized as the lead weight to conservation we all have known them to be for many years.
Externally? We know trophy hunters for what they are. Abusers of wildlife, complicit in corruption and a neo-colonialist approach to African communities, exposed for their excesses, and a happy self-satisfied few who select to read their own literature rather than the truth.
But the trophy hunters do have some radioactive life left. The SCI president, Larry Rudolph, urged members not to apologize but to realize they are part of a great conservation effort. Sounds to me like Sarah Palin, a member of SCI, who says things like “don’t retreat – reload”.
Let’s look at a few more current bleats from the hunting community:
• They quote Jose Ortega y Gasset (a Spanish philosopher who wrote a short book called “Meditations on Hunting) in this passage: “the true hunter does not hunt to kill; the hunter kills in order to have hunted”. Ortega further states... “as the weapons became more and more effective, man increasingly imposed limitations upon himself as the animal’s rival in order to leave it free to practice it’s wily defences, to avoid making the prey and the hunter excessively unequal, as if passing beyond a certain limit in that relationship will annihilate the essential character of the hunt, transforming it to pure killing and destruction!”
Good for the hunters to attempt to venture into philisophy, but then there is also this they did not quote:
“Pushed by reason, man is condemned to make progress, and this means that he is condemned to go farther and farther away from Nature, to construct in its place an artificial Nature. Now it is clear why I said earlier that, far from hunting’s being a “reasoned pursuit” of the animal, the greatest enemy of hunting is reason.”
This was written in 1942, and “reason” in trophy hunting has not prevailed. Instead, it has led to destruction of wildlife populations, the generation of a canned hunting industry in South Africa, and corruption among operators and wildlife departments in other areas.
Nice words, no action.
A natural drive? Strange that, I must be an evolutionary mutant then, as I have not felt this tidal pull to hunt?
Perhaps it is time that the WWF published their stand on trophy hunting in general and lion trophy hunting in particular. And in that statement address corruption and the realities of community disenfranchisement?
Recreational hunting has been shown over and over to have no conservation value. Hunting operators have been advised time and again to conduct themselves more ethically, to engage communities in partnerships, and to hunt sustainably. This has been wilfully ignored, so therefore there should be no more talk of a partnership in conservation.
Rob Little was CEO of WWF South Africa until 2008. He issued statements against canned hunting of lions, but WWF takes little overt action against the practice. WWF is involved in trophy hunting in two ways – by “assisting” community-based natural resource management programmes that include trophy hunting, and by having a voice in CITES. Again, we would call for a clear statement from WWF assessing community programmes’ successes or lack thereof, and about the effectiveness of WWF within CITES.
In that case, we would ask WWF to provide a clearly worded message on their current stand on lion trophy hunting.
That should actually be the Wildlife Conservation Society. Western is now chairman of the African Conservation Centre based in Nairobi, and an adjunct professor at the University of California San Diego. Perhaps we could also extend the invitation to speak out on lion trophy hunting to the ACC?
Ian Player, now 84, was awarded the Safari Club International Conservationist of the Year award in 2009.
Russell Train, now 91, was heavily involved with conservation at WWF and founded the African Wildlife Foundation.
In fact, the communities benefit next to nothing from hunting, and can’t wait to get rid of the hunting operators.
Too bad trophy hunters in Africa are not ecologically motivated, do not have ethical practices, and could care less about conservation.
A blog will to follow will bring more hand-wringing arguments from hunters. They are deeply in the decay chain, but it was not the major conservation NGOs that exposed any of this hunting excess. Stay tuned here for more of the actual truth.
Posted by Pieter Kat at 01:36
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