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 Anti-poaching practice? (courtesy

“PRESIDENT OBAMA and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently stepped up the fight against poachers, who kill tens of thousands of animals worldwide every year, selling their body parts for enormous profits,” Ohan Bergenas, Rachel Stohl and Ochieng Adalaas write at “As well as bringing much needed political focus to the issue, their efforts include more resources to train and equip anti-poaching forces.” And so President Obama’s written a check for $10 million to help African states combat poaching. But that’s just the start. “Another key to any anti-poaching strategy should be to equip law enforcement and other authorities with the technology necessary to counter high-tech poachers, who use helicopters, night-vision goggles and automatic weapons. The United States, for example, should work with African governments to deploy unarmed surveillance drones to track poachers and identify their illicit networks.” Because poaching is terrorism . . .

Although it is impossible to know for sure how much money flows to terrorists from poaching, some reports suggest that the monthly profit for Al Shabab from the illegal ivory trade alone is $200,000 to $600,000. In the case of the Lord’s Resistance Army, witnesses report that Joseph Kony, the group’s leader, ordered the shooting of elephants in order to trade their tusks for arms, cash, food and medical supplies.

I have no doubt that bad people profit from poaching. Bad people profit from every damn thing in Africa (and elsewhere). But while poachers may support terrorists (animal rights activists will argue that poachers are terrorists) militarizing the situation will accomplish sweet FA. Except arming African terrorists (through “seepage”). And strengthening authoritarian regimes. And increasing the scope, scale and activity of America’s industrial military complex.

For some reason, the anti-poaching Times’ trio forgot to mention the role “ethical hunting” can play in eliminating poaching. By funneling cold hard cash and nice warm meat to locals, licensed hunters empower the indigenous population to keep the poachers at bay (economic self-interest is a powerful thing). In fact, hunting should be centerpiece of any anti-poaching strategy. Unfortunately, it will be a cold day in the Sahara before Ms. Clinton or Mr. Obama sacrifice political posturing for practical solutions on this or any other issue.

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  1. If it does not happen within the territorial borders of the United States it is none of our business and not one dime of tax money should be spent on it.

    • I’m absolutely FINE with that… if we get all the foreign corporations out of Africa first. This poaching isn’t happening in a fucking vacuum. It’s happening because a MARKET for animal parts and products exists, and virtually ALL of it is beyond the shores of the African Continent.

      You CANNOT just say, “let Africans take care of their own business”, when the business IS NOT THEIRS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      Take the Mountain Gorilla as a prime example: does anyone ACTUALLY BELIEVE Mountain Gorillas would be poached and beheaded, leaving parentless infants, if a foreign market for the products did not exist?

    • Five years from now they won’t let a guy ‘pilot’ a drone over Texas or Louisiana until he’s done a tour in Africa. It’ll be like a Drone Pilot check-ride.

    • Not sure about that. I see it as updating our global reach, geopolitically.

      Maybe the President was tearing up thinking about the animals, but the State department and intelligence communities love new deployments of drones. Regional influence or even hegemony is easier if you can push drone coverage everywhere.

      Yeah it’s not us today, but how long do you think that’ll be when we’re simply practicing watching everyone else?

  2. I’m against poaching, but I sure hope he sold something of his own to pay for that $10M, cause the U.S. doesn’t have 10 cents to spare. But then again, even if he did sell something of his own to do so, he should have that seized to pay back all the debt he’s amassed in our name.

    • I think the nation would be better off if he actually spent more time on vacation, instead of “working.” -_-

    • And 10 million is nothing compared the hunting fees collected by African governments. These fees in large part fund African wildlife conservation efforts. As to lions: The dirty little (not so) secret is that lions are easy to breed, and are bred in cages by some hunting operators. Lions are not in fact endangered. Like elephants, the question is the distribution within their customary ranges.

  3. That’s kind of a disheartening photo. Being that I’m a big cat softie. Not that I hole any illusions about that cat eating my face given half a chance.

    • So don’t give the big cat that half a chance, Jesse Nelson. I can uderstand shooting big game if a representative of that category is attacking you, but FA if I’ve ever been able to understand shooting an animal that’s not endangering you or yours, unless you desperately need food and the meat-markets are all closed or you don’t trust the meat you find therein. Killing a lion, a tiger, a rhino, a gorilla, a grizzly, whatever, just for the thrill of the kill and so you can have your picture taken with its corpse to remind you of the thrill, like those two bozos in the pic accompanying this issue of TTAG, comes close, in my mind, to being a capital offense.

      • Killing a lion, a tiger, a rhino, a gorilla, a grizzly, whatever, just for the thrill of the kill and so you can have your picture taken with its corpse to remind you of the thrill, like those two bozos in the pic accompanying this issue of TTAG, comes close, in my mind, to being a capital offense.

        Wow – “a capital offense.” Cue the Oprah and PETA-grade heart strings.

        Your thought emoting process assumes the only reason the ‘two bozos’ killed the lion are degenerate thrills and blood lust. There’s so more to a dangerous game hunt – the (often) 3rd world hardship, the danger, the unique natural environment.

        These dangerous game animals are not extinct.
        Dangerous game hunting IS an economic boost for properly managed game preserves.
        Humans ARE part of the environment and have been for 100,000 years. We are, and have been, an apex predator. (Stressing this point is borderline hate-speech in enviro-circles).
        In this case, wild male lions often live very brutal and short lives. Their numbers can, and often MUST be managed.

        Sidebar: If you think deer do a lot of damage to US suburban Northeast gardens, think what elephants can do to an African farm. A cull is often necessary.

        • Nobody is claiming the animals for which protection is being sought are extinct. If they were extinct, that would pretty much obviate any need for protecting them from poaching. because they wouldn’t be around to be poached. But, according to those who study such things, they ARE endangered, which I presume you understand means that unless steps are taken, they are likely to BECOME extinct. In Africa, these species include the the lion. the black rhinoceros, the cheetah, the hippopotamus, and the eastern gorilla. Endangered species don’t need to be culled, and if African male lions live, as you claim, “very brutal and short lives,” it seems that the natural order of things culls them quite adequately.

          African elephants are not yet considered to be endangered, only “vulnerable,” but in any event, as you might learn if you cared to research the topic at all, there are ways other than killing them of controlling the agricultural damage they sometimes do. Warthogs appears to be more agriculturally damaging than elephants.

          I concede that my “capital offense” comment is emotion-driven, but I stand by it nonetheless. I sometimes think it’s a pity that the animals, armed, like the hunters, with scoped, high-powered rifles, can’t shoot back. Or maybe the hunters should go after their prey with weapons that would require them to get as close to their prey, as their prey would have to get to them to do some real damage to the hunters. Now, that would be a hunting thrill not to be forgotten, if you survived.

        • Quick! Somebody get a DNA sample before the tree hater culls all the African forest elephants. Those endangered African forest elephants are trampling a farm!

          I have no emotional problems hunting. That said i’ll stick to deer and turkeys as I know they aren’t going anywhere.

      • Hunting gorilla’s is banned just about everywhere they live. Gorilla’s are listed as an endangered species, so hunting them will get you into serious legal trouble. 90% of poached animals ends up in Asia, China to be specific, for many quack medicinal remedies. Big game “trophy” hunts are allowed where populations grow too large.
        Bleeding heart environ-mental cases who scream “don’t kill Bambi’s mom,” or Bambi itself, are why America is overrun with deer. Save your emotions for when you’re picking out most consumer goods or the family pet.

        • Actually err, I believe some elk populations were collapsing after protections on wolves went into place some years back and their population started to go out of control in the western US. Then when they opened the season on wolves again within the last few years the first guy to call in a tag had death threats on his answering machine before he even got home from the game warden’s office. These people know no rationality, they don’t want to save animals they want to mismanage them to oblivion.

  4. I’m right there with you, Jesse. When I see some douchebag, ass clown smiling behind the corpse of a beautiful predator like a lion, cougar, or various other wild cats, it makes me want to punch that shit eating grin off their face.

    • Okay, I thought I was alone in this.

      I support hunting. However, I could only really get behind it if the whole or most of the animal is used for practical purposes…I’m not gonna judge you if you hunt certain animals for sport, but I simply couldn’t do that. I won’t deny there’s probably a thrill to it, but I can’t get behind hunting for the sake of killing. It just seems absurdly wasteful.

      However, I won’t ever support the hunting of certain animals for sport. Cougars, lions, elephants, tigers, rhinoceri (plural?), etc.

      Again, if you do it, that’s your gig. Fine. I just can’t get behind that.

      • I’m not a hunter but I support hunting too. These people are not hunters. Hunters are conservationists. Even primitive civilizations learned you don’t over-hunt, over-fish or eat your seed stock.

        Yeah, they may be terrorists. I don’t have a problem characterizing them as such. But so is an Islamic fascist who shoots up an Army base while yelling “Allahu Akbar”.

        • The money this guy spent on his hunt probably did more for conservation than a donation to the World Wildlife Fund would do.

        • Bravo Foxtrotting Sierra. What didn’t go to local government graft went into the pockets of profiteers.

      • True, but are we not responsible for our individual actions? What if we hunted the Tasmanian tiger extinct? Oh wait- we’ve already done that. A deer is one thing – rhinoceros, elephants, and lions are another.

        • I love the universal “we”. As if those currently supporting a dangerous game hunt are in favor of causing extinction. Very subtle (and passive aggressive) insult.

        • Tree hater, I’m an APEX predator. I was using “we” to refer to all APEX predators. I thought you were an APEX predator too. Those currently supporting a dangerous game hunt who are hunting endangered game ARE in favor of causing extinction – or they are ignorant. One of the two.

    • Well no, I’m never going to tell someone not to do hunt. At least as long as it is done sanely and legally. IE: with an towards NOT hunting a species to depletion or even extinction.

      But at the end of the day I’m not going to make choices for other people. Not unless the choice is to stop them from damaging other people or the severally damaging the environment.

        • Really? African lions are, according to Wikipedia, threatened. That’s four steps up from “extinct” and only two from “least concern”.
          What is it with the left when it comes to making distinctions?

          Dangerous animals, in certain areas of Africa, need to be managed. African lions pack hunt – consider them wolves with three times the size AND twice the speed. Oh yeah – add claws.

        • That’s a funny statement. If there are four lions left on planet earth, Treehater would shoot one of the three females in the face and look to the guy next to him and say…”What??!, There are still two more females!”

    • +1 Tom. I can’t get the taste of $hit out of my mouth from that photo, but I was able to wash it down with this. For all you “apex predators” out there:

      Sometimes the beasts get revenge.

      I’m a hunter that eats what I kill. I can’t fathom the motivations for killing magnificent animals just because you can. Humans who cannot separate themselves from the beasts intellectually should only be allowed to meet them without the benefits of tools resulting from human intellect.

      • Just because you don’t eat something doesn’t mean there aren’t valid reasons for hunting and killing an animal. Hunters today pay a lot of money, and support a lot of the natural habitat that’s left for predators and game animals.

        Trophy hunting shouldn’t be demonized.

  5. I have to say, I’m not sure why anyone would kill such a magnificant animal as that Lion, unless it was trying to kill them. I suppose we’ll hear the usual about the locals rushing out to grab the meat.

    • Fun fact: At you can buy American Lion Meat (Lions born in the US and not Africa).

      The going rate for a one-inch thick, 12 to 14 oz porterhouse steak from a lion is US $199.99.

      I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. However, per my earlier post, if I don’t support the hunting of Lions in the wild I sure as shine don’t support raising something like this for the slaughter.

      • One day scientists will genetically engineer, clone, and bring back the auroch and the mammoth. I cannot wait to eat them. Whole hog BBQ will take the back seat to whole auroch that will feed 60 people at the family reunion. Baby back mammoth ribs Memphis style?

      • There’s a place here in Sacramento, CA that has burgers made from lion meat for much less than that porterhouse. I didn’t get one due to confusion: I thought that “Lion Burger” was just a fancy name. My friends who tried it said it was sweet.

    • No, but the locals do benefit from the money that hunter spent on his safari. His hunting probably did the locals more good than all the aid sent by the US tax payer.

    • i agree. But I have to admit I’m torn on this because I’m, pro gun, pro 2nd, (although I’m a vegetarian). I don’t like this big game hunting but I do support support hunting in general. I guess I don’t like hunting big game or any wasteful hunting.

      Seeing that beautiful lion make me sad.

  6. This is like a bad sci fi movie,except its happening in real life.Perhaps we should re-designate the office of the President as Czar of the US.We would at least be an honest elected monarchy ,then.

    • Perhaps you meant to say that at least we’d be honest about what our ‘leaders’ really are?
      Expecting honesty from an elected official? Don’t hold your breath, it’s a very rare occurance indeed.

  7. “And so President Obama’s written a check for $10 million to help African states combat poaching.”

    While we are raping the tax payers for bull sh!t that isnt their concern, please cut me a check for my hospital bills ($12,000 should be fine) and a new car ($25,000ish). Better yet, Ill just quit my job and go on welfare.

  8. Consumer demand drives poaching. The Arabs love their Rhino horns for ceremonial knife handles, the Chinese need ground up tiger parts for good health.

    Don’t forget, gun nuts love ivory for custom grips. Save the elephants, Ban guns!

  9. Bear, you and are on the same page. I support hunting for eating, culling over-population, or protecting pets and live stock. Just cause you can kill something doesn’t mean you should, and like Jesse, I have a huge soft spot for cats of all sizes, so it really pisses me off when someone hunts one for “sport”.

  10. One has to wonder how much of the money will stick to the fingers of politicians and how much will actually make it to it’s intended use.
    Lots of crony politics will yield lots of graft but that is business as usual.
    It is free money after all.

  11. When the lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, and gorillas are all killed off by poachers $10 million won’t bring them back.

    • 10 million dollars, 9.9 of which gets siphoned off by corruption, won’t have made a difference either way. We’ll just be out more wasted money.

    • Indeed.

      The only way to really prevent poaching is to give the locals who are killing off the game animals a stake in regulated sport hunting.

      The biggest problems for the big cats are the Chinese medical market and livestock operations killing off predators. The biggest problems for the elephants are the ivory trade and farmers seeking to stop crop damage.

      Here in the US, many states give landowners and farmers a stake in the game by allowing farmers with sufficient levels of crop damage to draw tags – even for highly sought tags like bull elk. The farmer can either use the tag, or sell the tag to the highest bidder to recover his damages. One need only look at the results of elk re-introduction to see how well it works.

      From chats I’ve had with American big game biologists working in Africa, they paint the situation as very bleak. Far too many uninformed do-gooder Americans keep proposing solutions like Obama’s and putting animals on various lists, instead of using the fundamental human notion of greed for good. Reward the local populations for protecting game and you’ll see a systemic change. Use only the stick (as we’re seeing here) and you’ll see nothing but the same sort of idiocy we’ve seen in other “eradication of {insert problem here}” campaigns – be they drugs, whatever: lots of money spent and worse than useless results.

  12. I’m all for hunting but rich douchebags like this who fly in to poach for the thrill and trophies are a crime against nature.

  13. Poaching is really ugly down there. The week before I got there, a Rhino was killed for its horn. The ranch we were at had it in a 5,000 acre breeding area. We helped ID the bullets we pulled from it. Likely from an AK or sks.
    Just FYI, the tag fees for the big 5 are off the charts. The tag for the lion pictured above probably went for close to $50K. In South Africa, the government will only see the income taxes paid by the land owner for the income received. It’s like if you bred your dog, sold the pups, then reported the income on your 1040.
    Leopard, $32K, elephant, $50K, rhino was by dart only, and only on orders from a vet. $25K (there’s a waiting list).
    No, I didn’t take any of those. Even if I had the money, I wouldn’t eat them, and I only shoot what I’ll eat.
    I did get to see first hand how poachers are treated in SA. they can take care of their problem without the US sending stupid money over there. In Botswana, poachers are shot on sight. No capture, no trial, nothing. The government knows full well how much money photography and hunting tourism brings, how many people stay employed because of it.
    At the concession I was at, I saw no less than 14 locals working who had nothing to do with the hunt directly. Another 6 that did. Everything we harvested fed us, the staff and their families.
    If you think lion or leopard are close to extinct, please read reports by CITES. Or better yet, join me next June in a tent, in Botswana. Sleep doesn’t come easy when you’re listening to lions, hyenas, jackals, hippos and baboons prowling around in the pitch black bush. You finally fall asleep, resigned to the fact that you may be reincarnated as lion poop.
    It’s truly life enhancing.

    • It’s also my understanding that the tag fees, and donated meat, are an enormous help to the local economy. A ranch set up to hunt and conserve game supports a lot of jobs. Further, elephants and exotic game can’t be hunted if they are pushed to extinction, so there is a financial incentive to manage game properly.

      And I will, shockingly, go against BHO yet again for his reckless use of American tax dollars. It looks very much like he’s pushing SA into a crony police state, and we all are footing the bill. Let SA deal with their own problems.

      • He’s just opening the door for the “defense contractors” who are running out of wars to have fought for their products. And you can’t kill or imprison all the taxpayers at home – who will fund them then?

        • Personally speaking, if “defense contractors” want to go out hunting poachers (who are usually quite mobile and heavily armed), I’m all for it. Gorillas and rhinos are being pushed quickly to extinction. When a poacher kills an elephant, he will kill every elephant in the herd, taking only the tusks and leaving the rest to rot. The safari hunter will take one animal only, and nothing will be wasted.

          And drones are an excellent way to patrol these vast expanses. A drone can patrol more area, and with more success, than a dozen men widely dispersed. Nor do I think some attenuated connection to international terrorism needs to be established to go after these sick greedy bastards.

      • One thing what mentioned briefly upthread, but I think many do not realize, is just how important this big game hunting is. The land exiskts in its present state specifically for hunting. Without that income, the land may have to be farmed or otherwise developed. These animals are raised to be hunted. The populations are very controlled(they wont hunt themselves out of a livlihood). Legal hunting does great things to support undeveloped land and results in higher animal populations. This is not even considering the impact on jobs and state revenues. The hunt my buddy went on donated a ton(literally) of meat for the needy.

        That being said, hunting a lion, elephant, giraffe, or rhino is not for me. I would be content with the wildebeast, warthogs, gazelle, and all those deer looking things with the crazy antlers.

      • +1000 Thanks for actually understanding how African game hunting works and how it actually helps the local populations(and helps preserve the big 5). The guy in the picture probably paid tens of thousands of dollars which will go to the guides, and the local population, the meat will also go to the locals.

        Putting a species on an endangered species list is basically like putting it on death row. Do you really want the government(any government) managing the preservation of a species? That’s rhetorical and focused at all the commenters, not specifically at you.

    • Tom in Oregon, I didn’t figure you for a guy who could afford that kind of hunt. Now I know better.

      I had a childhood friend from Houston who owned a safari/hunting guide operation in Tanzania, and he gave me the standing invite if I could just scrape up airfare, but sadly he passed away (far too young, my age) before it ever happened. So, I will likely never hunt in Africa, or even outside of Oregon (maybe pigs in NorCal or Texas). Anyhoo, got tags for the White River Unit this October.

      You’re right about the poaching in Africa, and the proceeds from selling hunts to Europeans and Americans (and probably Asians, at this point) do help fund conservation efforts in a big way.

      That said, there’s a bad dynamic about the whole deal. The market is all driven by foreigners, and that’s Africa’s main problem. You’ve got rich White Hunter types buying the crazy expensive lion (or whatever) hunts, you’ve got Asians buying the Rhinoceros horns to increase penis size while curing hangovers, you’ve got corrupt governments catering to all these influences…

      Africa, as a whole huge continent, has massive natural resources, and they are continuing to be raped and pillaged as they have been for the last 700 years or so. The U.S., most of Europe, the Chinese, countless mining companies, and Royal Dutch Shell are fully complicit in this crime.

      • NCG, You’ll do well in the White River Unit. I turkey hunt there every May. (while mushrooming for Morels).
        If Africa is still a dream, don’t let it die. It’s really not that expensive. (I know, expensive can be relative)

  14. So we cant afford to give white house tours, but our socialist leader can cut a check for 10 million on a whim after a vist to afrika. amazing.

  15. Here are my two cents worth. To give me some credit, I live in Cameroon and have for 5 years. Oh, Cameroon happens to be in Africa. First of all Not a dime of that money will do anything to help stop poaching. The western world has created a “wait for the west to give us money before we do anything” culture in Africa. That money will be taken by the government officials, and point men all the way down to the last man on the poll. If we as westerners want to get anything done in Africa we have to stop giving the countries money.

    As to the hunting. A hunted animal is worth 10 times that of a poached one to the country and local people. Big game guides provide jobs for locals. That cat above was eaten, I guarantee it. Every animal killed in Africa is eaten. In fact 95% of that animal was used in some way. That animal was a recourse to the people who live around there and the government and they have a right cash in on that resource. Believe me, countries that have hunting want to expand it. They know how much it is worth, but we push that to the back burner when we give them 10 million dollars. The Hunting guides do not over hunt their concessions, they want to have good hunting and have the hunters come back and pay agian. So they do not hunt animals when the local populations can not sustain the loss of that animal.

  16. Howabout we let the African governments start selling ivory to the US. So they can make money off of that, fund anti-poaching efforts and actually give them motivations to go against poachers.

  17. Anything Barry don’t agree with is terrorism and subject to drone strike. Barry is a jug eared p.o.s. Too bad there wasn’t a drone following him and hillary around during the 8 hours Benghazi went down so someone would know what they were doing.

  18. Yet Americans don’t hear about the wars still going on in the world. Peace is breaking out everywhere we believe. Slavery is still rampant in Africa and the Middle East. Yes poaching is a problem, but what do we do about it other than a smoke screen to hide the president’s other problems. What is the real reason we do business in mid and fareast countries is because they can get away with those things we have outlawed in the civilized world; child labor, chemical waste, etc. Why, because money makes the world go round!

  19. Yes, the usual gamerers replying with absolutely no knowledge of hunting or of Africa. For one thing the lion pictured looks suspiciously like what we used to call an MGM Lion or a Circus Lion. That is, a raised lion for idiots to shoot and brag about. The cat is just too perfect. Of course if you are from Texas it is the norm. I mean shooting raised animals behinde fences there is considered ‘hunting’ by Texans.

    Have any of you actually seen a wild lion? I seriously doubt it. Not many anyway. Here’s a hint for you. If someone tells you they shot a lion in the Kalahari the odds are it was a raised lion. Well not odds are, almost absolutely. Granted a few very naive Americans probably thought they were hunting wild lions but they would have to be, well let’s just say really, really stupid to think that. Wild lions, for the most part, do not look like that photo. I would bet that lion was shot in South Africa and was a captive released animal. You don’t even want to know how the conduct the ‘hunts’ for these morons that shoot them.

    It is too bad that people that have never been to Africa let alone hunted there have such strong opinions on how things should be done. But hell, what’s new? It’s the Internet!


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