Thursday, September 24, 2015

To Kill a Rhino


Months ago, I started a significant "media holiday".

The evening news, the radio talk shows, the radio news, the dead-tree news (i.e. newspapers) have all become monochromatic.  How many stories to you really need with the following headlines?

"Black Person shot by White Cop"

"Riots in ________ in Response to Shooting"

"Black Person who was initially portrayed as literally an angel was actually trying to kill the White Cop"

"Bruce Jenner is now a Chick"

"_______________ Kardashian shows her _______ in Public"

"Muhammed _______________ killed a bunch of people with a car/bomb/knife/gun/... and even though he was screaming 'Allahu Akbar' while doing so, we will report it was not in the name of religion"

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After a while, they all run together.

So, to replace the airwave news in the car on the way to and from work, I started listening to a various podcasts.  Some are on self-improvement, others are economically oriented or perhaps humorous.

A growing favorite is a podcast by National Public Radio (NPR) called RadioLab.  Their website includes the following description:
Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
Ok, getting past "right-brain" artsy goggly-gook, I like this program since they cover a wiiiide range of topics.

Recently, they put out a story called 'The Rhino Hunter'.  It was a decent, relatively even-handed story about the auction of a black rhino hunt and the motivation and use of the proceeds.

I encourage you to take some time to listen.

Be warned:  Unfortunate, many folks who have issues with hunting and hunters have the genetic predisposition to drop a bunch of F-bombs while they are threatening to kill the hunter as they express their views on how killing is wrong.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/rhino-hunter/

Take-Aways from the story and the topic:

  • Most of the same people who claim to love animals will not spend one red-cent on helping prevent poaching, habitat improvement, etc.
  • Like many other species, black rhinos are in trouble in Africa because of habitat destruction (usually due to cattle ranching) and poaching, not because of a handful of legitimate hunters.  Stop the Asian appetite for rhino horn and you'll stop poaching of rhinos.
  • The Namibian government, wanting to raise funds to help the herd and help conservation efforts, put this hunt up for auction.  This seems to be lost on many people.  This was as "legitimate" as possible.  
  • The same people who complain about the US' "Western-centric" views of the world have no issues with forcing their views on Namibia.
  • Regardless of your views on hunting and trophy hunting, most animals killed on safari are butchered and the meat consumed by humans.

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A Man in the Woods (and who is particularly excited now that Summer is behind us)

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