Monday, August 3, 2015

Missing the Mark on African Trophy Hunting

Have you ever just missed the mark?

I did the other day.  I sat down full of ideas to communicate to the world,  and ended up writing a piece of pap.  It was dull, it added no interest to the conversation, it was off-target and bland.

What I ended up writing was just another piece on killing Cecil the lion.  But that wasn't what I wanted to convey.
I didn't want to just put out another piece that said, "I like lions, he's a jerk to kill one."
I didn't want to just put out another piece that said, "Trophy hunting is wrong."

What I wanted to do, and failed completely, was to look at the why under the headlines.  I wanted to explore the complexities of international law in this situation, and missed.  I wanted to convey the tragedy that many African nations, with histories of unrest, civil strife, religious fighting, and even tribal warfare, not to mention the trifecta of AIDS, famine and civil war, is stuck in a cycle of poverty.  Africa is a complexity, that we comfortable westerners in general, just do not understand.

And that brings me to more of what I wanted to talk about.  How a comfortable American with money to burn can go to Africa and buy the opportunity to kill an endangered species.  Some African nations have realized that one of the ways they can use their natural resources is as a tourism draw.  Mozambique and Botswana have both embraced the concept of natural preservation and eco-tourism.  But this isn't a one size fits all solution.  Very few solutions are in Africa.

So money, still brings in hunters.  And hunters still pay for the 'thrill'.  This brings up another idea I wanted to explore.  What is the 'thrill'?  Is it the chase?  Is it the excitement of outsmarting another critter in its home habitat?  Or is it the actual killing?   Is it the need to see if your testicles have grown a fraction of an inch because you have killed another living thing?

Don't get me wrong.  I am all for hunting for food.  And in my family hunting was a way of life for my father's generation.  Very few seasons went by without dove, or quail, or pheasant, or venison being served.  And I can still ask family and friends for venison when the fancy strikes.  I have no problem with eating game.  But I do have a problem with someone who wants to kill, just for the kill, just to prove to themselves in some twisted way their superiority.

So here's an idea.  If you have to have the chase - why not talk to biologists who need to tag and trace animals?  The hunter gets the chase, the hunter even gets to shoot something, albeit with a tranquilizer and not a bullet.  It has the potential to offer everything to the hunter that is supposed to be important,  except the kill.   And just think about it,  that animal,  lion, leopard, rhino, can be traced, followed and even hunted again with tranquilizers - to check on progress or aid a biologists study.

There.  That's closer.

No comments:

Post a Comment