CNN production "Trophy"...

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Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
I'm posting this here since the topic is conservation through hunting.

The premise of this production was to be a balanced presentation between those who believe recreational hunting is the main avenue to preserving animal species and those who would outlaw hunting. The focus was on the hunting industry in three southern Africa countries: South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Intertwined with hunting was the impact and dynamics of poaching on rhinos and, to a lessor degree, on elephants and lions.

I watched the film and would give it a 70/100 rating. It portrayed the poaching impacts and interdiction challenges well but did not give an accurate portrayal of hunting as I've experienced it. I do believe that its depiction of commercial hunting evolution was accurate and troubling. My issue here is "canned" hunting and "put and take" hunting.

The biggest glaring error was the failure to discuss the life history of rhinos, elephants, and lions especially in the area of habitat necessary to sustain native/natural populations of these species. The fact that an adult bull elephant needs upwards of 400 pounds of vegetation daily and an adult cow with nursing calf at least that much, was not mentioned. Relatedly, elephants overgraze their habitat which alters the niche of other herbivores as well as birds and other animal species.

Of other interest to me was the idea that countries other than the three presented, primarily "western" countries, are dictating control methods and management goals for animals in the Africa countries. The segment where the Zimbabwe family describes having to bring their last surviving cow into their mud hut home to protect it from the marauding lions was very striking. The fact that the lions will attempt to enter the hut to take the cow and any humans in the way was stated very clearly by the owners of the cow.

My last comment is, Africa hunting is the start of the anti-hunting movement and this movement is already spreading in Europe. If we are not proactive in the value to hunting here in the U.S. and its value in funding preservation of habitat, we will lose a heritage hundred thousand years old.
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