Saturday, July 30, 2011

To Kill an Elephant

Most A Man in the Woods postings are intended to be lighter in nature and at times, on the rare occasion, humorous.  This one is a tad more serious.

Please understand, I am not advocating, nor will I ever advocate the wanton destruction of any animal (except fire ants.  I do truly hate fire ants.... and protein-raiding raccoons.)  But I have to admit, I'm a bit perplexed over the controversy earlier this year when Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy.com posted a video of him killing a crop-raiding elephant which also included the local villagers butchering it afterwards.  It is an ELEPHANT people.  It is protein on the hoof, just like cattle, chickens, swine and any other four-legged creature.  It it not a human and, despite Disney's best efforts, they should not be assigned human attributes.  Do they have social orders?  Sure.  So do chickens and the fish in my aquarium.  I'm not saying they don't feel and think.  I'm just saying they are animals.

A few elephant hunting facts:

  • There are ~600,000 elephants in Africa ( IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report 2007)
  • There are 1,200 permits to hunt them issued each year.
  • For the math-challenged, this is 0.2% of the elephant population and not all permits are filled each year.
  • Fees range significantly but it is not uncommon for a hunter to spent $30,000 - $70,000 on an elephant hunt.
  • In areas where hunting elephants is banned, poaching is rampant and the elephant herds are decimated.
  • In areas where hunting of elephants (obviously in a controlled nature) is allowed, the herds are healthy and aggressively protected by governments and Game Departments since they are a wonderful economic resource. 

The way I see this, there are 5 ways GoDaddy's Bob Parsons "did good" here.

1.  Bob, and others hunter like him, inject significant funds into the local economies of poor African countries.
2.  Bob helped provide much needed food to protein-deprived people.
3.  Bob helped protect the crops and ensure the livelihood of the farmers.
4.  Bob helped protect the crops and ensure there would be food for the villages which eat said crops.
5.  Bob had an enjoyable hunting experience (I did not say all of these were purely altruistic).

There was no ivory hacked out and sold on the black market.  There was no meat left to rot in the field or eaten by hyenas.

A link to the video can be found HERE.  (It is customary to insert a caution about viewer discretion is advised, blah, blah, blah etc.  If you don't know where meat comes from at this point in your life, a comment about viewer discretion will probably not help.)

A link to a summary article on the event can be found HERE.

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