There’s an article on poaching of African wildlife in today’s Sunday Times Magazine. It mainly focusses on American tourists going over in a bid to hunt the biggest game they can find. To read about this and to see the images of people proudly posing with their kills of leopard and kudu (a truly beautiful and regal animal I saw up close in South Africa) is incredibly sad, especially when you consider how proud everyone we met out there was of their wildlife. The children at the local school, in particular, were so eager to learn about conservation and how to protect their native animals.
Now, I’m not completely naive, I understand that all creatures, humans included, must often hunt to survive and can sympathise with an individual simply defending his livestock- ultimately his own means of survival. No, what gets me is when people seem to receive a kick out of trying to play god and exert their own self-appointed authority over all other creatures on this planet. There is one photo in this article, taken by David Chancellor, of an individual sat smugly in his ‘trophy room’, lost in amongst stuffed, dead animals of all sizes, including polar bear, leopard and brown bear. I wonder what motivates people to hunt like this: for the case of supposed sport and a need to prove their superiority? In my opinion (others are of course entitled to their own), their actions actually suggest the opposite.
All I know is how moving it is to see these animals in their own, natural environment.