Tag Archives: hunting

Botswana lifts hunting suspension

Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism announced that “the government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension.”

The country’s new president, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, recently received in Kasane for five southern African heads of state whose countries are home to roughly half the world’s remaining elephant population, with an aim to forge a common strategy for elephant conservation in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA). The strategy does not explicitly mention hunting, but it paves the way for justifying it.

Under the pretext of ‘consumptive use’ – the idea that an animal will only be conserved if it is hunted or its parts are traded for cash – hunting was defended at the Kasane Conference as a silver bullet for elephant conservation. Speakers and ministers expounded myths that the world – and most African Elephant range states – have largely abandoned it.

Kitso Mokaila, Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, claimed that elephant population has surged to 160,000, from 55,000 in 1991, claiming  that there are ‘too many elephants.’

In 1983, Botswana’s elephant population numbered between 70,000 and 75,000. It had certainly not dropped to 55,000 by 1991.

The minister may have done well to consult the scientific reports of Northern Botswana, which estimates the population to be roughly 126,114. However the number doesn’t differ from the 2014 figure, indicating the population is stable, but not growing. 

A second myth: Botswana has exceeded its ‘carrying capacity’ of 54,000 elephants. This has become an expedient cover under which to justify elephant trophy hunting and even culling. The entire concept of ‘carrying capacity’ is arbitrary without relevance for vast, unfenced wilderness landscapes that adapt and maintain integrity without human intervention.

“Much of the research community, and many managers, accept that ecosystem structure and function are not about elephant numbers but instead about elephant distribution across a landscape and in relation to plant communities” scholars Phyllis Lee, Keith Lindsay and Katarzyna Nowak explain.

A large number of scientists wrote in Ambio that they did not see “any ecological reason to artificially change the number of elephants in Chobe National Park, either through culling or opening new dry season ranges.

What matters is not “carrying capacity” but dispersion and concentration. A high density of elephants in one area may prove to result in some ‘undesirable’ vegetation transformation, which is a good reason for keeping migratory corridors open without fences.

Even where apparent vegetation transformation occurs, however, the ecological benefits of keeping elephants as keystone herbivores should never be underestimated. They deposit seeds up to 90 km away from areas in which they feed, regenerating vegetation elsewhere and creating corridors for other animals to use.

A myth of hunting to solve the “population explosion problem” is ignoring that the population is stable – and potentially in decline. The truth is that hunting only decimates the big tuskers, reducing genetic diversity.

Trophy hunting is typically rationalised on the grounds that it only eliminates old bulls that are ‘surplus’ to herd requirements. Such small-scale elimination is, however, incapable of controlling an ‘exploding’ population, especially given that Botswana’s annual export quota was only ever between 420 and 800 elephants in the decade preceding the moratorium.

Moreover, there is no such thing as ‘surplus’ bull elephants. Dr Michelle Henley writes that “in the past, bulls over 50 years of age were considered redundant but more recent studies have found that bulls do not reach their sexual prime until they are over 45 years old.”

She also notes that older bulls, because they have protracted musth cycles, “often suppress the musth cycles of younger bulls, thereby maintaining social stability and lowering younger bulls’ aggression towards other species such as rhinoceros.

They are thus critical for ensuring functional herd sociology, transferring knowledge and disciplining delinquent behaviour among juvenile males.

Hunting is a fundamentally unsustainable, as the incentives are loaded in favour of over-consumption and rule-breaking.

Anyone who knows anything about hunting cannot honestly claim that a hunter, tracking a trophy bull with his client, upon finding a young bull carrying large tusks, would try to dissuade his client from shooting it”, a Botswana veteran Mike Gunn said.

Hunting quotas tend to be arbitrarily determined by the hunters themselves and over-exploited, which violates the ‘maximum sustainable yield’ principle.

Hunting will therefore never solve a population problem, but it does destroy herd sociology and ensures that big tuskers are being shot out.

In this respect, hunters are aiding the poachers – undermining, not supporting, conservation.

Bringing back hunting will solve human and elephant conflict (HEC) and increase benefits to local communities has proven to be wrong.

The fact is that hunting would only solve HEC if it were able to keep elephants within protected areas and reduce the scarcity of resources, such as water, especially during prolonged drought.

Part of the argument is that hunting generates revenue that accrues directly to local communities and thus disincentives both poaching and the killing of errant crop-raiders. Ironically, however, hunting is rooted in a colonial anthropology that castigated indigenous people groups as ‘poachers’ and colonialists as ‘hunter-conservationists’.



Trump retreats on imports of hunting trophies

President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Friday he is putting a decision to allow imports of elephant trophies on hold after a torrent of criticism from conservation advocates and across social media.

Trump’s reversal came hours after his administration released a rule on Friday to allow hunters who kill elephants in Zimbabwe to bring their trophies back to the United States, which had been banned by the Obama administration.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement that he had spoken with Trump and “both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical.” He said the “issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”

Early word of the planned change had drawn protests from conservationists, who said it could deplete already at-risk elephant populations. It also caused a social media firestorm, with opponents posting photos of President Donald Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric, avid hunters, posing with dead wild animals.


Russia: Bear cub sadistic killing unpunished

WARNING! Disturbing images below.

Russian news site Sakhalin info and social media reported sadistic torture and murder of a bear cub for the sake of his gull by locals in city of Makarovo (Sakhalin). A cub appeared in a residential area in outskirts of the city, when locals prevented him to go back to the forest, quickly deciding to grab a chance to kill a young bear to get his gull for sale (at the black market the price goes from  $10,000  to  $15,000). With active participation of police, eager to get a ‘fair share’, the cub had no chance to survive, becoming an easy prey of Makarovo inhabitants, whose average salary is around $ 400 a month. However it was not just an execution, because beyond the gain, the hunters took pleasure in an abhorrent torture of a cub, entertaining themselves by his agony.

First locals send a pack of dogs to block the frightened screaming young bear to prevent his retreat to the forest, then they rushed to shoot him, and while still alive to cut his balley, and rip off the precious gull, appreciated by witch doctors, and the other charlatans in the Far East. At the moment the video of a sadistic scene is removed from internet to conceal the crime, in which police has enthusiastically participated. Already without a gull, the agonising, convulsive animal with open bally, and falling out intestines, was attached to a vehicle and dragged along the road in a ‘triumph’ procession (photo above in a Tweet).

The sadism towards animals is norm in Russia, and does not surprise anyone. President’s Putin administration has been consistently blocking the laws protecting animals from cruelty, prepared in times of  Boris Yeltsin, who attempted to upgrade Russian legislation to Western standards.

Being a symbol of Russia, in reality bear’s population has at most miserable existence, trapped and killed by hunters and poachers for the sake of their precious gulls or skin. The orphan bear cubs are sold to circuses, zoos, and kept privately in cages as ‘pets’ next to restaurants to entertain visitors, being victims of cruelty, and wide-spread sadism.

(Below a story of a bear living 15 years in a cage near a cafe, next to city of Smolensk)

In 2015 an employer of “Rusalliance” company, a subcontractor of Defence Ministry of Russian Federation,  at island of Wrangel (Chukotka) gave for ‘fun’ explosives to a mother white bear who was tamed by militarymen. With torn apart throat the animal suffered an atrocious agony, filmed by culprits, who were fascinated by the scene of suffering of the majestic Arctic animal.

White bear with cub

In spite of the outrage of animal rights defenders, and multiple petitions to authorities, the murderer was not punished, but offered interviews on central TV channel to deliver his highly doubtful version of events. He got away with the crime by paying a symbolic amount of money in a fine for the sadistic killing of mother bear, and her doomed to death orphan cub. As in this case, traditionally, Russian prosecution is merciful towards the murderers and sadists of animals. According to records, Ivan the Terrible was encouraged to mutilate cats and dogs, and also cheered when throwing them life from the bell-towers by witnessing his killings boyars, who considered it as a sign of a strong character, indispensable for  a ruler.

On contrary to hunters, poachers and sadists, the animal rights defenders are seen as dangerous elements, introducing foreign, Western values to Russian traditional lifestyle. Their appeals for upgrading of Russian legal system to protect animals from human cruelty have been ignored since last millennium.

Sakhalin: a smart bear checks fishermen’s net:


May 'in favour' of fox-hunting

The Prime Minister says she has “always been in favour of fox-hunting” and will recommit to the 2015 Conservative Manifesto promise to give Parliament the chance to make a decision.

“This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against” – said May during a visit to Leeds.

“As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of fox-hunting, and we maintain our commitment, we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote.”

“It would allow Parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this.”

The Labour government banned fox-hunting in England and Wales in 2004 but the issue has remained highly divisive.

David Cameron dropped the plan for a vote due to lack of support and in December 2015 sports minister Tracy Crouch said that Parliament “had better things to do than bringing back hunting foxes with hounds”.