This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The "Values" of Big Game Hunting

"I think people need to really take the time to educate themselves about the values of big game hunting."
"The government should be using science and not emotions to make these decisions."
"President Trump is probably not using science and listening to emotions."
Jason St.Michael, operations manager, Safari Club International in Canada

"[Canada voted against moving all elephants to Appendix I because the four countries affected] did not meet the CITES criteria for listing on Appendix I."
"Canada adheres to a strict set of principles in the CITES fora and believes decisions regarding trade controls should be founded on best available science, support sustainable use of well-managed populations, and the conservation needs of species."
Environment Canada

Canada represents one among four countries refusing to ban domestic trade in ivory; the others being Japan, Namibia and South Africa. Canada's ivory trade includes Inuit hunters traditionally trading in ivory obtained from narwhals and walruses. In the view of Elephanatics, a Vancouver-based elephant conservation group, any trading of ivory permitted gives a leg up to illegally obtained ivory from poachers slaughtering elephants for their tusks.

The conservation group has been petitioning the Government of Canada for its support in moving all elephants to the Appendix I list; elephants from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa included. Canada, ingloriously, was among a number of countries voting against just such an initiative in 2016.

Canadians have legally imported over 2,600 trophy animals listed internationally as endangered species in the last decade. Also included in those imports were thousands of animal skins, skulls, feet, ears, tusks, horns and tails of species ranging from antelope to zebras sourced across the globe. The American Fish and Wildlife Service reversed a 2014 ban on elephant imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia in a surprise move last month.

Leading President Trump to halt that reversal as he tweeted his belief that elephant hunting represents a "horror show", one that he would not be amenable to believing otherwise about should any source make the effort to convince him that hunting such wild animals was a positive for conservation efforts to sustain the herds in the wild.

Canada had never banned such importation to begin with. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), keeps track of three lists of animals based on the perceived level of protection required, and it holds that permits must be issued before the animals or any of their parts can be traded across international borders.

Between 2007 and 2015, according to the database, Canada permitted the legal importation of 2,647 mammals representing hunting trophies. Included among them were 83 elephants, 256 lions, 134 zebras, 765 hippos and 19 rhinoceroses. How rational and reasonable debate can conclude that this practise represents a positive for animal welfare and the conduct of intelligent human beings is beyond belief.

Animals imported in an intact state other than being dead and stuffed included another 280 mammals comprised of antelope, oryx, monkeys and lions. The list goes on to include 434 skulls, 260 feet from elephants, zebras, hippos and rhinos; 87 elephant ears; 1,156 elephant trunks; and 17 rhinoceros horns. An inventory that resounds with demented obsessions of conquest and souvenirs of the most ghastly type imaginable to civilized human beings.

No permit of any kind is required for other animals brought back as trophies not on any endangered list. Elephants, however, represent some of the most endangered species on the globe. A census taken in 2016 verified  a diminishing of populations by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014.

In all countries except four: Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, elephants are listed on the most-endangered list of CITES. And of the elephant trophies imported into Canada in that same time frame, sixty-one came from those four countries with fifteen from the most endangered list.

This photo from Nov. 17, 2012, shows an African elephant is pictured in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
This photo shows an African elephant  pictured in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.  (MARTIN BUREAU / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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