Monday, November 18, 2013

Random Thoughts on Melissa Bachman and the Lion

By now I've received more than a couple emails asking me what I think about Melissa Bachman and her now infamous lion posting on Twitter and the apparent ensuing hullaballoo following.

First- I don't watch television much, nothing on cable or satellite, and I am entirely unfamiliar with either her television show or her personally. I know she's been in the media after being bumped off of some survival show and frequently the target of anti-hunting groups. I have no idea about her hunting ethics or lack thereof. I generally avoid hunting television because it usually just disappoints or infuriates me. Celebrity hunters are something that admittedly confuse me.

Second- I did read some of the comments aimed at both her and at her detractors and her supporters. Gave that up pretty quickly too- a bunch of vitriol for naught. A lot more heat than light mostly and largely uncalled for.

Third- I've occasionally received the hate mail. I kinda hurts but mostly I just feel sad that somebody goes out of their way to try to piss me off. I suppose on a larger scale seeing someone publicly declare you should die painfully for doing something you love would pretty much not be fun.

Fourth- the comments I've seen, nearly in their entirety presume that the lion carcass was not eaten. In South Africa it almost certainly was…maybe not by Bachman, but someone chowed on lion and most everything else shot on the safari. "Trophy" hunting is hard to define for most hunters, I guess anti-hunters would be without reference.

The one fact I've seen little of is that of how the African model of wildlife management works. Unlike the American model- the success of the African model hinges upon the game animals having economic value. The very fact someone drops the (not inconsiderable) sum of cash to hunt lions is the ONLY reason there are even lions there to hunt in the first place. If lion hunting were illegal then the lions would surely be pushed aside by other profit making industries as a nuisance. Human farmers and ranchers have a long history of dealing with apex predators and crop depredators pretty harshly. The African model turns elephants and lions and other wildlife into a valuable resource rather than a dangerous or expensive nuisance. So rather than the local people poaching them off, they are protected and utilized as a renewable resource. The local populations utilize the meat, cash flows into rural communities without much industry and the wildlife have some serious advocates for their protection.

As much as the thought baffles me- it appears that old Simba took one for the team…without his death the entire area he lived would be devoid of wildlife and, maybe more importantly- devoid of lions.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your view on African Game Preserves. It kind of falls in line with my view on Elephants in Thailand. In Thailand, I am unaware of any Wild Elephants in existence. Those that do exist have been domesticated and are owned by someone...the point being that the if there isn't an individual who cares and protects the animal then they are harvested, or whatever term one chooses to use.

Africa Game Preserves are an effective way of maintaining a species because of the Economic Value of the animals within. I have always hated those out there that love to inhibit an individuals rights and freedoms, though it is their right to do so...they typically get offended when others exercise the rights and freedoms to reciprocate.

Mac said...

Well said, it seems a lot of people should "identify their target" before they start making death threats online...

Anonymous said...

It kind of falls in line with my view on Elephants in Thailand. In Thailand, I am unaware of any Wild Elephants in existence?

what a lot of total nonsense. there are thpousands of wild elephants in Thailand. My wife has over 20 on her mothers land right now !

hodgeman said...

Fromt the Thai Elephant Conservation Center-"Thailand's current population of domesticated elephants is about 2,700. After a precipitous decline from about 100,000 domesticated elephants in 1850, numbers are now stable. About 95% of Thai elephants are in private ownership, with the Thai Elephant Conservation Center's 80 elephants being Thailand's only government-owned elephants apart from a few in zoos and the King's ten revered 'white' elephants in the Royal Elephant Stable.

Wild elephants in Thailand are very difficult to count given their dense, forested habitat, but most experts would agree there are between 2,000-3,000."

So there are wild elepants in Thailand- just not that many. Interesting but since wild elephant are not hunted in Thailand is doesn't really apply to the African conservation model. However- since most of the elephants are privtely owned, I assume there is some sort of economic incentive for keeping one? I imagine its a dreadfully expensive pet.