Zimbabwean, Ron Thomson, responsible for killing around 5000 elephants

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Mr Ron Thomson
Ron Thomson

An organisation called the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting using data provided by people monitoring the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), tell us that a Zimbabwean whose name is Ron Thomson is responsible for killing around 5000 African elephants single-handedly.

This organisation also compiled a list of the top 12 countries involved in trophy hunting. In other words the countries where the top trophy hunters reside.

They are in descending order of shame:

  • United States
  • Germany
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • France
  • China
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Russia

Mr King is the UK’s number one trophy hunter. I wrote about him a little while ago. He is considered to be among the world’s hunting elite. He has won 36 awards with Safari Club International. One of his awards concerns the killing of cats. He has won the “grand slam cats of the world” award. It requires animals to be killed from a list including the leopard, lion, cheetah, wild cat, cougar and lynx. He’s also been named as achieving the “grand slam Africa 29”. This needs a minimum of three of Africa’s big five together with 26 other animals.

How do elephant trophy hunters exist when there is a ban on most trade in ivory and other elephant body parts which came into force in the mid-1970s? Well, it’s allowed because they can apply for exemptions. This has resulted in British hunters legally killing around 1,300 African elephants since the international treaty (CITES) began. These hunters take home 10 tonnes of ivory.

The founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, Eduardo Goncalves, tells us that the trophy hunting industry is out of control when you bear in mind the recent uptick in elephant hunting.

There’s been a surge in hunters from China claiming exemptions to kill elephants and they are killed at an annual rate is 16 times higher than that of British hunters.

Supporters of trophy hunting claim that it helps with conservation but critics counter by saying that the money paid by professional hunters is in effect stolen by corrupt local officials. It does not go into conservation.

Importantly, also, trophy hunters kill top animals which affects breeding which in turn leads to inbreeding and a weakening of the gene pool. The animals left are genetically compromised due to the weakened gene pool.

It’s shocking that trophy hunting is not declining but according to this report increasing at a time when population numbers of iconic species in Africa is declining.

As Africa becomes more westernised and commercialised there will be less room for and less time for conservation of the animals. I read that Facebook is going to build a fibre-optic cable all around Africa under the sea to try and boost Internet access which will result in more commercial activity on that continent. You see, Africa was at one time a continent were iconic while species were free to roam and procreate but all that is changing rather quickly and the good days are over and they will never return. It’s over for wildlife in Africa in long term.

The Facebook scheme would cost more than $1 billion but it would give the company a dedicated and dependable link between Africa and its data centres in Asia and Europe. Africa remains an untapped market and the big companies are diving into it.

In terms of wildlife on the continent it can only mean an accelerated downward trend in terms of population numbers and general welfare.