May 2017: Theunis Botha, a friend of Van Zyl and the owner of another South African hunting facility, is crushed to death by an elephant when he and his fellow trophy hunters surprise a breeding herd at a private hunting ranch in Zimbabwe.
August 2017: Karma strikes for the third time this year. While hunting in a private wildlife reserve in Namibia, Jose Monzalvez of Argentina is trampled by an elephant.
Monzalvez, who worked for an oil company, along with another Argentinian and three Namibians had been following a herd of elephants Aug. 12 at Farm Mopane, about 43 miles northwest of the small town of Kalkfeld. Before they were able to aim their guns at their intended prey, one of the elephants spotted them from a distance, according to Otjozondjupa regional police spokeswoman Maureen Mbeha.
The elephant charged the trophy hunters, who tried to run away. Monzalvez wasn’t fast enough and was trampled. This apparently wasn’t the first time Monzalvez had attempted to kill big game – Mbeha said he was “a professional hunter who had a hunting permit with him.”
Because of hunting, poaching and loss of their habitat due to development, the population of African elephants – the largest animals walking the Earth — has dwindled from 3 to 5 million in the early 1900s to only about 415,000 today. Yet in 2004, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the status of this species from “endangered” to the less critical “vulnerable.”
“Endangered species are likely to go extinct very soon, while vulnerable species have a lower risk of disappearing, giving us a better chance to intervene and save them,” the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) explains.
Trophy hunters like to boast that they are doing just that: Helping to save vulnerable and endangered species while at the same time providing money to impoverished communities. A 2015 Safari Club International Foundation report claimed the sport “provides important economic opportunities for many areas where other common forms of income are limited.”
However, a study earlier this year by Humane Society International (HSI) contradicted the Safari Club’s report. Not surprisingly, HSI found that trophy hunting in Africa provides little economic benefit and does not lead to effective conservation.
“It’s time to stop pretending that slaughtering big game and posing for morbid selfies by their slain bodies is anything more than killing for kicks,” said Masha Kalinina, an international trade policy specialist for HSI, when the study was released in February.
Although it’s very unlikely, here’s hoping that karma striking three times this year proves to be the charm as far as dissuading anyone from practicing this cruel “sport.” In the meantime, please sign and share the Care2 petition to end trophy hunting.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 17 Aug 2017.