Cameron Hanes Responds to Trump’s Anti-Hunting Tweet

President Donald Trump recently tweeted about a decision made by the department of the Interior to start allowing imports of elephants that were legally hunted in two African countries. He characterized “trophy hunting” as a quote “Horror Show” and did not see how it helps conversation.

Archer and Conservationist Cameron Hanes went to his Facebook page and penned a great response to the president outlining how hunting is conservation and how animals need hunting for the survival of the species.

Is this for real @realdonaldtrump ?
I’ve never hunted elephant or have ever wanted to, but I do know that every successful wildlife conservation model includes hunting of select animals. Just look right here in North America, the greatest wildlife conservation success story in the world. It is because of hunters that our wildlife thrives. We don’t kill everything as the term “horror show” inaccurately might indicate. Biologists and wildlife professionals study habitat, the carrying capacity of the land, how many animal currently call it home, the health of the herd, etc. and determine bag limits. To ensure the health of any herd, this needs to happen with all animals, including elephants. I am shocked that you or those on your staff (@repryanzinke) aren’t fully aware of this? If some small town bowhunter from Oregon knows that hunting animals gives them value whereas not hunting animals is the very worst thing that can happen for their future, that’s not a good sign.

North America isn’t Africa, I understand that. So, let’s talk about the history of hunting in Kenya where in reality they loved their animals to death as Glen Martin wrote in Kenya: A Contrarian View. He said Kenya’s much-praised ban on hunting, had an impact opposite to its intent: wild animals disappeared at an accelerating rate. “Charismatic megafauna”; elephants, lions, rhinos, population numbers have plummeted. When Kenya’s hunting ban was passed in 1977 in response to the “Ivory Wars” that were ravaging the nation’s elephants, it was hailed as a new and progressive paradigm for wildlife management. With the hunting pressure off, animal lovers opined, the game would prosper. Instead Kenya’s wildlife has declined by more than 70 percent over the past 20 years. What happened? While the ban played well in the developed world, it was catastrophic for the people who lived in the rural Kenya, where wildlife actually exists. As animal rights groups applauded Kenya’s no-kill policy and urged its adoption across Africa, the killing continued unabated. Hunting gave the animals of Kenya value so those that live there cared about protecting them, as an investment. But with no hunting, elephants are a negative as they damage crops, ruin water sources, etc., lions kill livestock, antelope over graze crops, so carnivores are poisoned, antelope snared and elephants speared and shot so crops can grow and the livestock graze in peace. Poachers are another issue and with no hunting value on these animals there is no money to protect them (anti-poaching programs cost money that hunting trophy fees pay for) so the killing for ivory happens unabated. Today, more elephants are being killed in Africa than are being born, with at least 20,000 killed by poachers for their ivory last year alone.

If African wildlife is to survive local people must value it. In other words, they must be allowed to gain both income and meat from it in a sustainable fashion. Love it or hate it, lion, buffalo and elephant hunting can be sustainable enterprises. Wealthy hunters will pay between $50,000 to $100,000 to take a trophy male lion or elephant bull, and up to $20,000 for a buffalo. If that money and the meat is returned to local communities wildlife has value to those that can protect it. If you care about the animals of Africa, put tangible value on them again by enlisting a compressive management program that includes well managed hunting of select animals.

Hopefully President Trump understands that African Animals need hunting and that any decision should be based on what is good for the population and not on emotion.