O.K., Enough

Vandals Attack Walter J. Palmer’s Vacation Home

Look, I hate trophy hunting and I abhor and mourn what happened to Cecil, but this has gone too far. I hope Palmer is extradited for his crimes, but doxxing, death threats, and vandalism are completely inappropriate. (And in this case, bizarre. Pickled pigs feet?) It’s ugly, and does nothing to advance the cause of his legal prosecution or animal conservation. It makes people who want to save animals look like as big nut-bags as the douchebags I talked about below.

And his family does not deserve to suffer for what he did.

Knock it off and let the law authorities and courts handle it.

In the meantime, if you want to do something, do something useful.

African Conservation Experience

Top Ten Animal Conservation Projects

Wildlife Conservation Expeditions

Or find a wildlife conservation group charity to volunteer locally for or give to. (I bet you can find one in your area trying to clean up your local river or beach. Trying to save local wildlife or parks.)


What is Up with the Trophy Hunting Attention Whores?

Granted, the vast majority of big game trophy “hunters” are men with obvious issues.

And I have absolutely no trouble with women going out in the field hunting.

It’s just the ones who actually hunt using skill tend to look like this:


Or competitively, like this:


Not like this:


She worked so hard tracking this animal that her make up is perfect and her hair freshly curled, no less.

But over the last year a number of women have not only appeared in the in the big game trophy hunting field, they made damn sure they got noticed by the greater public.

First we had the cheerleader who loved to kill animals with her Barbie-Pink accented bow and arrows. (I always loved how she “tracked” those animals so hard her makeup was perfect for all these pictures of her and the animals she killed.)

Then there was “I wanna be a Playboy model, but in skin-tight fake camouflage with blood stains.” (My favorite pic is her using a chainsaw with her long flowing hair hanging right next to it while she implies what a pro she is at using chainsaws.)

And now, only a week after the public outcry over the poaching of Cecil, yet another female trophy hunter thrust herself into the spotlight.

Once again, don;t you love how hard she worked to track this animal that her clothes are clean, her hair is nice and flowing, and her make-up is perfect?

Once again, don’t you love how hard she worked to track this animal that her clothes are clean, her hair is nice and flowing, and her make-up is perfect?

And not merely through taunting people outraged over trophy hunting on her Facebook page, but by going on the Today Show to talk about how “right” trophy hunting is, using the usual disproven “conservation” argument, swearing she had “great respect” for the animals she killed (I guess she is trying to have some sort of pseudo-“Native American” vibe that rationalizes that it’s totally o.k. to needlessly kill animals for your ego so long as you say you “respect” them). And, my personal favorite since it is so desperately pathetic, that “giraffes are really dangerous.”

Otherwise known as the Uncle Jimbo defense:

Giraffes are only dangerous if you deliberately provoke them (especially a mother and calf). They are not randomly rampaging through villages stomping on people. In fact, millennia of dealing with real hunters have made most in the wild human-avoidant. They are not flying over to the U.S. and breaking into your home. You are not “fighting them over there so you don’t have to fight them here”

You obnoxious, bloodthirsty fuckwit.

What is interesting is that I found in the course of researching this post is the biggest direct problem locals encounter with wildlife are elephants and hippos eating their crops, which can result in major income loss. However, there are non-lethal ways of dealing with that. It’s at very advanced technique called: Chilli powder.

But we got off track. I don’t want to shame any women about hunting. I think it’s cool that women get out there and hunt (non-Vulnerable or Endangered species for food) and shoot competitively. They are, after all, better shots. But these trophy hunting women, at least the ones trying so desperately to get noticed, are doing something else entirely. What is disturbing is while the trophy hunting men have a macho element to their pictures, many of these trophy hunting women have a sexual element to theirs. It’s not just that they want to be proven “Great White Hunters,” they want to be “Great White Sexy Hunters.”

I mean, I don’t wear make up unless it’s a special occasion anyway, but when I am camping or sailing, I sure as hell am not wasting space by taking along make up, a curling iron and gel/hairspray. I do not make sure my clothes are clean and immaculate while I am engaging in my outdoor activity.

(But then I am not being driven around by guides who are doing all the real work for me. )

But why do these women feel the need to do this? They obviously feel they have something to prove beyond their “prowess” as a hunter/how much they pay their guides to find animals for them to shoot at. What is it? Do they feel hunting is “too masculine” that they need to offset the activity by appearing overtly feminine? Are they trying to attract what they perceive to be “alpha males?” I don’t get it.

On the good side, Zimbabwe has begun to take steps to ban hunting near their National Parks.

Some American airlines have banned carrying animal trophies on their flights.

And the report that came out last week that Cecil’s “brother” Jericho had been killed turned out to be false. Not only is he alive, he has taken over Cecil’s pride and not killed Cecil’s cubs.

And if you would like some up close and person interaction with those “dangerous,” viscous giraffes, you can always visit Giraffe Manor. Eco-tourism, after all, provides more job locally and keep more money in the local economy than hunting does. (Though it can be hit or miss. One area cited that shutting down commercial logging in an area in China lost the area a lot of jobs that Eco-tourism could not replace. Eco-Tourism is a new “industry.” They’re working out the kinks for what suits each country/area’s needs. But it’s certainly better for conservation and local economies than big game trophy hunting. Even international pro-hunting groups have been forced to admit the claim that hunting brings in millions to the economy is not true.)

In the end what it boils down to is if trophy hunters actually cared about conservation, they would give most of the money they throw around trying to kill something to national parks so they can hire more wardens (more jobs!) to protect the park from poachers. If they cared about the local people/economy, instead of throwing a carcass at the local village on the way to the airport, they can buy them a herd of cows or goats that the people can use, slaughter or sell as they need. If they actually respected the animal, they would be tracking and taking pictures of them (which given light, distance, movement, dust, etc. can actually be more of a challenge than shooting them with rifle).

Or if you are really attached to firing guns, get involved in competitive shooting.

So Here is the Real Skinny on Big Game Trophy “Hunting”

      (I have no idea what is happening with formatting on this post. I apologize in advance.)
      Now let me preface with my perspective here: I grew up in a hunting culture in the backwoods of Maine. The people around me hunted deer, moose, partridge, rabbits, etc. for food. I am a vegetarian now (and have been for 22 years), but I respect that kind of hunting. That is not wasting any of the animal. That is not endangering an entire species. That is at least getting closer to the reality and responsibility of consuming meat than people buying it at the grocery store do. (And I know that vegetarianism is a personal choice, not a lifestyle for everyone. Humans are naturally omnivores.) So I am not completely anti-hunting.
      Big Game/Trophy Hunting just pisses me the fuck off.
      It is 110 pages but if you really want to know how “effective” trophy hunting is for conservation and contributing money to these countries’ economies? Here is the summary:
      Today in sub-Saharan Africa, very large areas are used for big game hunting (approximately 1.4 million km²), which is 22% more than all national Parks of the region. Therefore, it is an important component of African rural landscapes. This study clarifies the role of big game hunting, with an emphasis on West Africa. The data gathered has been analyzed to clarify the pertinence of big game hunting according to conservation, socio-economic and good governance criteria.
      Regarding conservation, big game hunting shows mixed results. Some areas are geographically stable, and wildlife populations are significant, but this is not the norm. Large disparities are seen between areas. Where management levels are similar, the conservation results from big game hunting are lower than those of neighbouring national parks or reserves. Hunting areas are less resistant to external pressures than national parks, and thus will play a lesser role in future conservation strategies. An undeniable positive result is that the conservation results that are obtained are entirely financed by the hunters, without support from donors and often without government commitment.
      The economic results of big game hunting are low. Land used for hunting generates much smaller returns than that used for agriculture or livestock breeding. Hunting contributions to GDP and States’ national budgets are insignificant (Kip note: according to the report, in most countries where this is an industry, it is less than 1%), especially when considering the size of the areas concerned. Economic returns per hectare, for the private sector and for governments are insufficient for proper management. Returns for local populations, even when managed by community projects (CBNRM) are insignificant, and cannot prompt them to change their behaviour regarding poaching and agricultural encroachment. The number of salaried jobs generated (15 000 all over Africa) is low considering that 150 million people live in the eight main big game hunting countries, and that hunting takes up 16.5% of their territory. To summarise, the hunting sector uses up a lot of space without generating corresponding socio-economic benefits.
      Good governance is also absent from almost the entire big game hunting sector in many countries. Those who currently have control of the system are not prepared to share that power and undertake adjustments that would mean relinquishing control. They attempt, thanks to a fairly opaque system, to keep a largely exhausted management system going. This position serves individual interests, but not those of conservation, governments or local communities.
      Hunting used to have, and still has, a key role to play in African conservation. It is not certain that the conditions will remain the same. Hunting does not however play a significant economic or social role and does not contribute at all to good governance.
      The question, however, can be summarised today as: can we do conservation better than big game hunting has up until now, in those areas where big game hunting is practiced? This is not at all sure, all the more so in that big game hunting pays for itself.
      The advent of consideration of environmental services and sustainable financing makes it possible to envisage financing these networks from a new angle. The environment is increasingly seen as a global good which cannot be used exclusively for individual interests or those of a minority. In modern protected area networks, hunting areas still have an important role to play in conservation: that of financing and maintaining the peripheral areas around conservation blocks.
      Here is another study that confirms these findings.
      In short, the way it is being run now it’s corrupt and inefficient with no impact on the economy and an uneven impact on conservation. It is certainly not as effective as the national parks. And it is certainly not as effective as pro-big game hunters claim.
      The fact is that over the last few years, poaching has gotten completely out of control as guerrilla armies and organized crime have become involved in the ivory and rhino horn trade. And poachers do not differentiate between open land, park land and private land.
      While pro-hunting types love to point to private hunting reserves bringing the population of the Southern White Rhinoceros back (to around 17,500 individuals), they neglect to mention that the Northern White Rhinoceros has only seven confirmed adults living in captivity and is considered extinct in the wild. The Western Black Rhino has only 740 individuals in the wild, while Eastern Black Rhino was hunted to extinction (following four of its sister species) in 2013. We will never see one alive again. (Rhinos in Asia don’t have it easy either.)
      African Elephant population numbers are in free fall (both Forrest and Bush Elephants are listed as ‘Vulnerable‘). So are African Lions and Common Hippos. African Leopards are swiftly approaching Vulnerable status. Cheetahs, also on the menu for trophy hunting, are Vulnerable, on the edge of Endangered.
      It’s perfectly legal to hunt all these animals.
      It’s perfectly legal to beat women in Saudi Arabia for wearing jeans. That does not make it right.
      And if they want to give meat to the locals (another frequent rationalization), they can buy them a few cows.
      As someone on Fark said, this is the equivalent of a Saudi prince paying Dick Cheney a billion dollars to hunt a Bald Eagle and then dumping the carcass off at a homeless shelter on his way to the airport.
      Given that the hard numbers show the benefits of legal hunting are highly dubious at this point, the “trophy hunting is great for conservation” argument holds little to no water. Dead is dead. It doesn’t matter if a poacher does it or a licensed hunter, the pressure on the population is still the same.
      These hunting trips are incredibly expensive, and little of that is making its way back into the local economy. The tags to hunt a rhino or elephant can cost tens of thousands of dollars, while the guides are hundreds of dollars a day. And here is the sick part: on most of private hunting reserves, there is little to no “hunting” involved for the guest. The guides do the work, often driving the guests to where they know the animals will be. (After all, if the guests go home empty handed, they won’t come back and they won’t recommend it to people.) Sometimes the animals are raised on the reserve to be accustomed to human presence. The guests are not hunting, they are doing target practice with live animals.
     Live vulnerable and endangered animals.
     I understand that sometimes populations need to be culled (though if the animals had enough land to live in it would not be so much of a problem!), but professional rangers and biologists know how to do it far better than some wealthy thrill seeker. And who the hell learns that a rhino species was *just* declared extinct due to hunting and says, “Let’s go kill some more! Yippee!”
     A sociopath, that’s who.
      Big Game/Trophy Hunting is nothing but rich people to shoring up their fragile little egos by pitting themselves against an innocent creature in a laughably one-sided match. It is sick, and the people who do it are sick.

Well That Escalated Quickly

Post Hobby Lobby, Religious (Owned) Organizations Want Exemption From LGBT Hiring Order.

Short version: Because Hobby Lobby got a religious exemptions for health care coverage for their employees,  fundamentalist “christian” owners of business who have or want federal contracts are now demanding the right to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Thanks 5 out of 9 Justices.

And fuck you sideways with a snowshovel.

The scary bit is their idea of “national unity” seems to mean we must all have the same “values” of the fundamentalists of one faith.


Like these guys:


And these guys:


Between this and spending the last 24 hours arguing over the 19 year old sociopathic attention whore who likes the spend her daddy’s money killing species already sliding toward extinction* this is one of those days I have little faith in the human race. I’m going to go back and watch the Pallas Cat again.

*And I will explain why the whole, “Tourists killing animals helps them” rationalization does not work later. Main reason? Poaching is still out of control and populations are still in decline. Some of the species she has hunted are in free fall. Private hunting reserves are providing no more protection from poaching than the parks are. “Legal” hunting does not stop poaching. Period. Hunting just adds to the population decline. If someone cares about conservation, they should donate the exorbitant costs for these hunting trips (tags for hunting elephant and rhino usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, hence the poaching) to the parks so they can hire and train more staff to hunt poachers, and push for stronger sentences for poaching in those countries.