Thursday, August 20, 2015

"...I have been meaning to join..."

Dictionary definition:


North American

Noun:  a minor league of a professional sport, especially baseball

Adjective, informal:  not of the highest quality or sophistication; second-rate.
Below good standards, not good or correct.  Pitiful, poor, terrible, bad, mean, petty, unprofessional, amateurish; mediocre


Last week we re-printed here the first part of an article from the New York Times about wildlife conservation and hunting, with the intention of following it with the rest of that article.  I had this piece vetted by a real hunter, because I -- as part of the percentage of population that is not strictly knowledgeable about hunting or conservation -- was at long last down to simply believing, and being upset by, whatever was the last thing I'd read about Cecil the Lion. ...

(And in a side-note:  my ideas of who's to blame have migrated, upon further contemplation.  At first I was disinclined to think of the local Zimbabwe guys -- the 2 hunting guides -- it felt like, Come on, Walter Palmer, take responsibility, you're the American who paid for the hunt, you instigated the whole debacle, quit trying to slough off the blame on the natives...

But on thinking more about it, this idea came:  Palmer was just a foreign safari-tourist, the guides were paid to help him get a lion head -- it may well have been the guides who felt like, Hey "let's get the thing done," so they could finish their "job" and go home for the day, or for the week.  A tame lion, lured off the national park's preserve, would be easier-and-faster to kill, they may have thought, than a wild lion out in the general -- open country ... Taking the fast way, the easy way, the lazy way ... maybe ...)


The first part of the article printed here ended with this:

Mr. Mandima, who led the foundation's efforts in his native Zimbabwe for nine years, described

killings like the one that claimed Cecil as a "less frequent occurrence."

"A lot of the professional hunters tend to follow very strict procedures on how they do their hunting," he said, noting that the enforcement of trophy hunting regulations varies by country.
---------------------------- This strikes me as an oblique way of saying that the way trophy-hunter Palmer's guides "set up" that "hunt" was -- by the standards of many hunters -- "bush league."

**  "a less frequent occurrence"

**  "A lot of the professional hunters tend to follow very strict procedures on how they do their hunting."

Following is the remainder of the article titled "Outcry for Cecil the Lion Could Undercut Conservation Efforts" -- at our request, this article was read and endorsed by a hunter who does not work for the New York Times.

Animal rights groups hope to curb trophy hunting by pressuring the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to classify lions as an endangered species, which would make it difficult for hunters to take lion trophies into the United States. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the most comprehensive catalog of the world’s threatened species, ranks lions as “vulnerable,” below “endangered” and “critically endangered.”

Overhunting has decreased the number of lions in some areas, especially Tanzania, according to a 2012 study by researchers affiliated with universities and Panthera, a New York-based wild cat protection group. Still, the researchers concluded that overhunting was a smaller risk than a blanket ban.

One of the study’s authors, Vernon Booth, a Zimbabwe-based ecologist who has worked in wildlife management for 30 years in Africa, said that lions were now protected because of the high value attached to them as trophies. Locals tolerate them because of the income that trickles down. Without the trophy hunt money, locals would increasingly poison lions, which are considered dangerous to people and livestock, he said.

“If there is a complete ban on lion hunting, the tolerance levels for lions would just plummet,” Mr. Booth said. “And in wild areas outside of the protected areas, lions would be exterminated, and very quickly.”

“Even though hunting may seem unpalatable to a lot of people around the world, it is actually very, very necessary,” he added.

For many, trophy hunting recalls some of the most unsavory aspects of Africa’s colonial past. A framed photograph in the dining hall of Mr. Dorrington’s game ranch here shows two white hunters towering over a black man holding their freshly-caught game. One of the white men rests his left hand on the black man’s head, as if petting him.

Trophy hunting is often difficult to detach from an era of unquestioned white privilege in Africa, Mr. Dorrington, 56, said.

“It’s something for the elites, the rich whites, to play on,” he said of game ranches. “And that’s one of the challenges, to get benefits from wildlife to the black population.”


He said his game ranch, less than 200 miles northwest of Johannesburg, employs 12 full-time black workers and donates to the local community and school. Like many cattle ranchers, Mr. Dorrington began transforming his land, which his great-grandfather secured in 1918, into a game ranch in the 1980s, specializing in bowhunting.

Mr. Dorrington spends a few months a year marketing in the United States, the source of 95 percent of his business. His customers spend an average of $7,000 per trip and kill between 120 and 140 animals a year, he said. After kudu, the most popular animals are impalas and warthogs, for which he charges $400 and $350 per animal.

All three animals are popular because they make attractive trophies, he said, explaining why the airline ban could hurt his business.

“You see that tsessebe?” he said, nodding at an antelope-like animal whose trophy price is $2,200. “They’re not a very pretty animal, but they’re rare. We’ve got too many of them. If I find a hunter that wants one, I’m very happy.”

-- end of article

These wildlife issues & discussions bring to mind a scene from a 2009 movie called Did You Hear About The Morgans? -- a romantic-comedy in the "fish-out-of-water" mode...

a wealthy NYC couple (played by Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) are in the Witness Relocation Program -- living in Wyoming.

Hugh Grant is in the yard of their rural cabin:  his wife is on the cabin's porch.  She sees the bear and informs him, "There's a bear" and then urgently advises him not to run or make any sudden moves.

Reading to him from an emergency pamphlet of instructions:

"Speak -- in a soft monotone."

And so Hugh Grant speaks in a soft monotone, diplomatically, to the bear:  "My wife is a member of PETA."

The bear:  Growl.

Hugh Grant:  "I have been meaning to join."

The bear:  Roar.

The wife:  "RUN!"


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