My Personal Plea



I know this is a space many people like to escape.  If you would rather scroll on by or read later, I absolutely understand.  But there are times, I just have to send out a request for things that mean the most to me. 

If you follow me for even day here or on Twitter, its pretty obvious my passion and love is animals.  They have been since the day I was born, I think.  Most people know I will be in Africa in a year if everything continues as planned on a conservation project.  I really don’t know how people deal with conservation on a day in and day out basis, as I would get discouraged quickly.  There are two reasons I decided against becoming a veterinarian and one of them was I knew I couldn’t handle the putting animals to sleep.  I just knew I didn’t have the emotional sturdiness to handle that on a daily basis.  (The other reason is I had the extreme bad luck of being allergic….extreme one to cats & horses which sucks in the extreme.  Good news being medications are better than they used to!) 

My true confession is I do not kill spiders.  I can honestly say I don’t believe I have ever purposefully killed one in my life.  I “relocate” them and, if they aren’t the biting kind, I even use my hands.  I even like snakes.  Snakes and lizards I think are just cool.  I would never have one as a pet though because I a) would not want to feed them mammals and b) I hope most can live in the wild where they belong.

I have spent considerable time learning about conservation and the myriad of reasons why it is so difficult to preserve so many species of animals that are quickly dwindling on every continent at an alarming rate.  I have that luxury because I have lived my entire life in the United States with so many opportunities.  The truth is, when an entire species is gone, it has far-reaching consequences.  With the reverse, we have seen incredible positives and the resiliency of nature astounds me.  In areas where wolf packs were successfully reintroduced, river beds have rejuvenated to the point that salmon can flourish in places they were no longer spawning. 

So, the point of my post is this……something really troubling happened over the last week and I really don’t know what to do except write about it. Every iconic species is now endangered to the point that we simply will not have elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, orangutans, lemurs, gorillas…….. 

Last week, a commissioner with the Idaho Fish & Game travelled to Africa and killed over 20 animals.  His name is Blake Fischer and he didn’t just kill “any” animals.  Using a bow and arrow and unfairly hunting from a jeep, he killed an ENTIRE family of baboons including two babies.  He posed with all of them, including one who still had an arrow remaining in its head.  I wish I didn’t know.  Yes, Africa considers baboons pests for the most part (just as we have issues in the states with raccoons,  squirrels, mice, rats, coyotes, etc).  However, IF this man actually cared about the “baboon problem” or animals at all, he would have helped fund game wardens dealing with the issue, so the animals could be euthanized and killed more humanely.  This man even bragged that he kept killing more because “his wife” urged him on.  He didn’t stop there.  He also killed a giraffe.  There is a picture of him sitting on top of one.  There are only two reasons to kill a giraffe.  One is self-defense/keep it from harming someone and the second is to prove you are a stud.  There is no other reason.  But he still wasn’t done….he also took a picture of himself with a leopard and proudly said on the picture that they are “nocturnal,” “reclusive” and bragged about it, like he had committed a coup.  My biggest reminder here is that, at the continuing rate of leopard declines, OVER 50 % of all species could possibly be extinct in THREE years!……………..He still wasn’t done.  In the end, he killed a few different kinds of antelope and a warthog (like Pumba from Lion King).

I am REALLY having a difficult time with this emotionally.  I went to bed last night not wanting to be on this earth anymore or part of the human race.  I actually vomited I was so sick when I saw the picture.  Many organizations, including National Geographic, used to argue some benefits to “cull” killings but most no longer exist.  That is another topic really.  There is NO REASON to shoot a giraffe or a leopard for sport.  None.  The problem is that the governments which allow these killings in parts of Africa are typically corrupt  and involved in trophy trading including ivory.  Or, they are trying to solve a long-term problem with short-sightedness.  It comes down to two things - money and bloodlust with trophy hunting.   Currently, Zinke of the Department of Interior in the US, as well as the government, have been sued by multiple organizations throughout the country.  They have already lost some cases (thank goodness).  After Trump decided to lift the ban (or try to) allowing trophies to be imported to the US, he obviously met with extreme public outrage.  He formed a “council” lead by Zinke.  Here is the problem.  THERE WAS NO TRUE SCIENTIST OR CONSERVATIONIST on this board.  NOT ONE.  It was stacked with trophy hunters or those who make money organizing hunts and tours.  

Take Cecll, the lion who was hunted and killed after several arrows.  It was not a legal hunt in the end.  They hunted him outside of the area they were supposed to.  He was also around humans his entire life.  Worse, lions are handled as cute little cubs down in South Africa for tourists to take pictures with.  Those are in turn sold for canned trophy hunts.  Some fair hunt!  Its atrocious and it is rich, privileged people taking advantage of these animals. 

 So, my plea, IF YOU ARE INCINED, please contact the Idaho Fish and Wildlife and request, demand, complain that this man be fired.  They are on Facebook.  Their Twitter handle is @idfg.  Use #endtrophyhunting and/or #BLAKEFISCHER. 

It is only when there are repercussions for these people that it will make a dent. 

I am going to spare people the images.  I hate for you to be as traumatized as I was. 

Thanks everybody!  You are the best.  Yes, I heard he had resigned.  I hadn’t checked the news yet (I am still at work)….

@cpie1954 - Yes, you are exactly right!  Penalties don’t matter, so “legal” or “illegal” doesn’t mean anything. .   

What is really, REALLY scary is that Botswana has the biggest, healthiest herds of elephants in the world because the former president there protected them and had severe & extreme retaliation in place.  The new president pretty much lifted the protections a few months ago and everyone warned it would be catastrophic but no one listened who had influence.  So, the nearly 80 elephants who were slaughtered in one night last month was a direct result of that protection being lifted. My good friend from Kenya is sure that this new president is trading ivory with other countries. 

The biggest thing we can do is vote and support politicians who will truly protect wildlife (and I am not talking about regular hunting here….I know many wonderful people who love nature and hunt and eat what they kill). 

You guys are my kindred spirits!

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