I have seen quite a few articles out there this year about hunting exotic animals, and certainly everyone remembers the ass hole dentist who shot Cecil the lion. While I am not a hunter, although I have no problem with hunting, but I would like to say that I think predator big game hunting is absolutely idiotic.
First, I would like to say that I am not a hunter but I do own plenty of guns I just don’t like killing things, nothing against it just not my style. I would also like to clarify my above statement as well. I have no problem with big game hunting so long as the game is not a predator. Big game hunting lions, tigers, leopards or any other large predator I think is beyond stupid and I will tell you why.
Currently in not only in America but I think worldwide there is a predator shortage for any variety of reasons and one is hunting and poaching. And don’t get me started on poachers. As far as I am concerned they are no better than terrorists, and the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist or a mortally wounded and or slightly maimed terrorist. Anyways, I have read a few articles out there on the web about how large predators are becoming scarce. In our society there seems to be less and less room for them as they are also competing for food.
One good example to look at is the Gray Wolf. I am not sure of the time frame but I would say 50 or so years ago the species was near extinction and put on the endangered species list. Through various conservation efforts the wolf has made a very strong comeback and to be fair almost too good. Now the species is no longer endangered and in some regards a nuisance to local farmers who terrorize the cattle and try to find an easy meal. This is all well and good and glad to see that we can bring a species back from the brink of extinction.
But let’s take a look at how the dwindling population of wolves or large predators for that matter can drastically effect an ecosystem. I read this article and another one similar a few years back, which I could not find, but they basically say the same thing. Large predators are good for local ecosystems. In the above article rangers at Yellowstone National Park talk about the impact that the reintroduction of wolves back into the park has had. At first you may think that, simply, they would just eat a few more elk and think their population some, which is correct, but then there is the effect that the thinner elk population will have so on and so forth. The rangers state that now the forest especially small saplings and the undergrowth were starting to grow more, as before they would all be eaten by elk. They also say that the elk carcasses are providing food for other smaller predators that can still pick on them. The disappearing undergrowth and small trees led to no place for small prey to hide such as rabbits, and soon the predators that ate them were also gone. So you can see how one thing can have a cascading effect on the rest of the ecosystem.
Now just imagine what Yellowstone would be like had the wolves not been introduced. The elk probably would have overpopulated and soon began starving or disease would have been rampant among their numbers. So one way or the other their numbers would have been reduced but not before they would have drastically changed and damaged the landscape.
The below video explains what I have stated, just more elegantly.
So why do we care? Well I think this small example shows that we need predators and the fact that they are disappearing is sad because they keep the ecosystem in balance, obviously. Another think to keep in mind is that without large predators there is a chance that small rodents could multiply out of control and we all know rodents carry diseases, so that would be a very bad thing as well. Remember the Black Plague, yeah that was spread by rodents.
Back to my original point of I do not have a problem with hunting in any fashion. Where I live deer are near overpopulated and on any given day you can see two three or more of them in open fields just grazing. In Kentucky there are not many large predators other than coyotes and the occasional bear so their numbers go mostly unchecked. That is where humans come in. We are allowed to hunt them because they can easily over populate and wreak havoc on the local ecosystem by eating farmers crops or again spreading disease that could possibly be transferred to cattle. So again we kill a few deer every year to try and keep things in check, which I have no problem with and they are delicious. If you have never tried venison I encourage you to try it. Very lean and much healthier than anything you can get at your supermarket.
What I cannot understand is why anyone would want to kill a predator? What is the joy in that? You are not going to eat the meat, you are just doing it for the sake of killing and I cannot get on board with that especially when there is already a shortage of large predators. I think I might care less if they were not endangered, but the fact that they are bothers me.
So back to what go me started on this rant. The little girl in the article that killed the giraffe does not bother me one bit especially given that they used the meat to feed orphans. So yeah can’t complain about that. Plus she has found something that interests her that does not involve sitting on the couch, also she gets some quality time with her dad. All cool things. See hunting is not all bad, just not for me. Just because you don’t like something does not mean that it is evil or that someone else can enjoy it. I think in some regards that our society has an agreement problem. If you don’t agree with exactly what I agree with then you are racist, or a murdered, or backwards in some regard. The sooner we learn as a society that we can disagree and still get along the better.
There has also been a controversy about paying large sums of money to hunt critically endangered species like the black or white rhinos. I think I read somewhere that someone paid $300,000 to kill one. While that may seem insane in terms of both money and killing a critically endangered animal, you have to think what that money will do. That money will more than likely fund more research and protection of the rest of the animals. So basically the money is for the greater good, and if that money was not there the animals could go extinct much faster as poachers would have a field day and wipe them out in a matter of years. This money will pay for more rangers to guard the animals.
I think there are a hand full of either black or white rhinos left in the African wild and they have a 24/7 detail. So who do you think pays for that? I doubt the rangers do it for free. So killing one of these animals for sport helps preserve future generations, I firmly believe that and like I have said I don’t like killing anything. This seems like an inhumane thing to do, but again this is for the greater good. If there was a way to preserve them without having to hunt and kill one I think a solution would have come up. But this is the only way to get the money that is required and we all know that is what makes the world go round.
I am not preaching about what is right and what is wrong, but I think as will all things we need a balance out there. I have no problem with those that hunt and kill things, just not predators as I have shown above they are extremely important, perhaps more so, than any other animal in the ecosystem.