Indeed, Palmer is not the only hunter deserving of our contempt and anger. Far from it.” ~ Jane Goodall
Trophy hunting should be stopped in Wisconsin today, with an emergency stop to the September bear slaughter. This You Tube video shows a Wisconsin bow hunter, safely hidden, killing one of our bears over bait. His sadistic thrill, glorying in the blood trail, is followed by the usual triumphant trophy pictures.
Jane Goodall posted a strong condemnation of trophy hunting Aug. 20 after learning that Cecil the lion’s brother, Jericho, had abandoned Cecil’s cubs and one had already been killed by a rival male. “Almost certainly the other cubs will be killed as well,” she lamented.
She expresses the grief and outrage being felt worldwide as men and women serially kill our world’s wildlife: “And the question we should ask ourselves is this: Just because he was named, and loved and part of a scientific study, does that make him any different, in the world of the lion, than the other lions killed by ‘sport’ hunters? All those splendid individuals whose decapitated heads disfigure the walls of countless wealthy homes?”
Goodall cites another trophy hunter, Sabrina Corgatelli, who “began boastfully posting pictures of herself grinning gleefully as she poses with the various animals she has been killing (including a large giraffe).”
In the face of the public sorrow over the killing of Cecil and his cubs dying, Corgatelli was gloating over her kill. “’Such an amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!’” As the anger poured in, she, the entitled one, promised many more trophy kill pictures for her “haters.”
Many hunters seem to enjoy the suffering of people who care about animals as much as they thrill at their killing. They know they have the “right” to kill. Why doesn’t the majority who doesn’t kill have an equal right to protect?
A recent article by Kerry Sheridan, Agence France-Presse, describing a study in the journal Science, says: “Humans are super-predators that upset the natural balance on Earth by killing far too many adult animals and fish, scientists said Thursday (Aug. 20), urging a focus on catching fewer and smaller creatures. … And humans slaughter large land carnivores such as bears and lions at nine times the rate of predatory animals in the wild.”
Rather than nine times the rate, it must be hundreds of times, if not thousands, in Wisconsin, where the DNR brags of killing more bears than anywhere in the country.
“The ways humans hunt and fish ‘change the rules of the game’ of evolution from survival of the fittest to survival of the smallest,” the co-author of the study, Chris Darimont, a Canadian professor, is reported as saying. “Our impacts are as extreme as our behavior and the planet bears the burden of our predatory dominance.”
Sheridan writes: “He (Darimont) said the recent outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion may be an indicator that societies are ready to at least cut back, if not stop all together trophy hunting of large beasts.”
“Based on a survey of 2,125 predators around the world on both land and in the water, scientists found that people cause ‘extreme outcomes that non-human predators seldom impose,'” Sheridan writes. These include extinctions. “If humans want to continue to see large beasts like rhinos, elephants and lions (and bears and wolves) in the wild, as well as ensure the health of ocean life, scientists said big changes are needed.”
“This might include increasing revenues to local communities derived not from hunting, but from non-consumptive uses such as eco-tourism, shooting carnivores with cameras, not guns,” Darimont told reporters.
“If you use natural predator-prey quotas as some type of sustainable guide, we would be talking perhaps close to an 80 or 90 percent reduction in our global take,” study co-author Tom Reimchen said, according to Sheridan.
Conservation expert Stuart Pimm of Duke University, who wasn’t part of the study, praised it, according to an Associated Press story. “We ought to be harvesting animals that are about to die from other causes,” Pimm said. (That is what bears do in salmon predation, after the spawning, as salmon are dying anyway.)
Goodall mirrors the outrage Cecil’s killing unleashed: “For years I have puzzled about the psyche of the ‘sports’ and trophy hunters. How can Sabrina feel ‘happy’ as she contemplates with pride the severed heads of her innocent victims, the trophies she will take back to her home?”
“But I simply cannot put myself into the mind of a person who pays thousands of dollars to go and kill beautiful animals simply to boast, to show off their skill or their courage. Especially as it often involves no skill or courage whatsoever, when the prey is shot with a high-powered rifle from a safe distance,” Goodall wrote.
“How can anyone with an ounce of compassion be proud of killing these magnificent creatures? Lions, leopards, sable antelopes, giraffes and all the other sport or trophy animals are beautiful — but only in life. In death they represent the sad victims of a sadistic desire to attract praise from their friends at the expense of innocent creatures. And when they claim they respect their victims and experience emotions of happiness at the time of the killing, then surely this must be the joy of a diseased mind?”
From South Africa to Algeria, from Europe and Canada, Brazil and Ecuador, from all over the world, people are protesting this upcoming Wisconsin bear slaughter in a petition to the state DNR to end this cruelty.
But what of the majority who enable this ecocide with their silence? 4,750 black bears will be killed starting in two weeks, and not a show of local outrage. Caring folks, church-going folk, environmentalists — silent. If we cannot even be bothered to save our bears, can we expect, ultimately, to save ourselves?
Wisconsin citizens can remedy this injustice by acting to democratize the funding structure of the DNR. Call your state legislators. Contact DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp at DNRSecretary@Wisconsin.gov or 608-266-2121. Contact information for the DNR regional director for your county here. Contact Sen. Tom Tiffany, Sen.Tiffany@legis.wi.gov and 608-266-2509, chair of the Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee. Assembly Sporting Heritage Committee members can be contacted here. Direct contacts are the most powerful thing you can do.
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