How activists failed to save a rhinoceros and 10 giraffe
Animal activists and celebrities around the world failed to save African wildlife including a rare black rhinoceros and 10 Angolan giraffes. They also failed to show the world a viable alternative to hunting for conservation.
This was clearly demonstrated when Jens Ulrik Høgh, of the Nordic Safari Club, gave several of the biggest celebrity names in animal activism a chance to put their money where their rather large mouths are and do something tangible for conservation.
Ricky Gervais, Kevin Pieterson, Trevor Noah, Piers Morgan, Zac Goldsmith, Chris Packham, Brian May, Ed Sheeran, Carrie Symonds, Lewis Hamilton, Hannes Jaenicke, and Eduardo Conçalves – each of these celebs have been vocal in their belief that wildlife needs to be saved. They’ve each joined the quest to see hunting banned. Some, like Ricky Gervais and Piers Morgan, have even used their public platforms to name, shame and bully hunters.
But when push came to shove, they showed the world how hypocritical they are did nothing to save African wildlife.
Hunting is conservation
It doesn’t seem to matter how much scientific evidence shows that hunting has a beneficial effect on overall wildlife numbers, and can actually save animals, Ricky and his posse of celebrity fools stubbornly cling to the idea that trophy hunters are evil personified.
So if they hate the idea of hunters spending their hard-earned money hunting animals, surely they’d be keen to spend their own hard-earned money to save wildlife, right?
An invitation to save a rare rhinoceros
On 2 October 2019, Jens penned his first invitation to several vocal anti-hunting celebrities and organisations, letting them know that a critically endangered black rhinoceros had just gone on the market and would be sold to the highest bidder.
The grumpy rhino, who was part of a much larger conservation breeding program to save the rare and endangered rhinoceros, had started killing the other rhinos on the property, including the girl rhinos they were trying to mate him with.
And when an angry 1600kg rhino decides he doesn’t want to play ball anymore, he can cause quite a lot of damage and mayhem to the owner.
After Mr Grumpy killed two perfectly healthy rhino cows, the owner was granted one of nine CITES export permits that would either allow the new owner to move the rhino to a private sanctuary, or for the animal to be legally hunted.
It is expensive to breed, own and protect rhinos. John Hume, the world’s most successful and well-known breeder, reportedly spends around $400,000 USD a month (or a cool $4.8m a year) just in security costs to protect his herd of 1500 rhinos.
So it was little wonder the starting bid to purchase Mr Grumpy was set at $680,000 USD, with all proceeds from the purchase going directly back into rhinoceros conservation.
Now, we acknowledge that price is probably out of scope for most of us, but for rich celebrities and multi-million dollar organisations, it should have been a drop in the ocean.
Alternatively, they could have started a GoFundMe page. We hear it’s pretty easy to rack up millions of dollars for popular causes.
The open letter was shared on Facebook and other social media platforms over 1553 times, as well as being sent directly to the celebrities and organisations, with a direct email address – Sa.Rhino.2019@Gmail.Com – set up so the prospective new owner could make contact. It was made very clear in the letter that the invite was also being sent out to prominent trophy hunters and the bull would go to the highest bidder at the end of the auction – hunter or otherwise.
Surely if the animal activists seriously wanted to save wildlife, like they regularly profess in the media, they’d jump at the chance to save such a beautiful, rare, exotic, iconic and endangered species.
But not a single celebrity or animal activist organisation made contact. Not even the aptly named Save the Rhino, who didn’t even mention the auction at all in their news.
Jens didn’t even get any hate mail, which he’d more than braced himself to receive.
The day of the auction came and went, and not one animal activist lifted a finger to try to save its life. Instead, he was sold to a hunter who will, no doubt, be vilified for his actions by those same people who could have actually enacted a different outcome.
An invitation to save 10 Angolan giraffes
A few days ago, Jens was approached to help cull 10 Angolan giraffes on a private nature reserve in Namibia. In many ways, the need to cull was a conservation success story itself, as the giraffes on the property were thriving and had grown to more than the land could naturally sustain. That means there wasn’t enough feed to keep them from starving.
Culling excess wildlife is a problem every country has. In Australia, we are constantly trying to balance our native wildlife against our introduced species. Kangaroos, wallabies, deer, pigs, donkeys, horses. Every year, they are culled in their thousands across Australia. They have to be to keep the numbers at sustainable levels.
It really isn’t any different in Africa, just because the animals seem more exotic.
What is common is one country always seems exotic to another. I am sure kangaroos seem more exotic to people overseas than they do to Australians who are used to seeing them hop about.
So Jens approached the owner with a proposal to again approach animal activists to save the wildlife – all the very same people who go into emotional meltdowns every time they see a photograph of a giraffe being hunted on social media.
He acknowledged that the rhino might have been out of the price range of the animal activists and their global fundraising efforts. He dropped the price to simply cover the cost the owner would get selling the giraffe into the local meat markets (yes, the locals do eat giraffe meat) – around $650USD each. Surely this was a more affordable ‘save’. Surely this would get some traction among the vocal anti-hunting fraternity. Surely they’d do something to save the wildlife.
However, it has been days since Jens posted about the giraffes, and he has still not heard a peep from anyone, despite the posts being shared over 2000 times.
In fact, in a bizarre twist of fate, Facebook kept deleting his posts. Maybe they didn’t want to draw attention to the gross hypocrisy of all those animal rights activists.
To be fair, the activists still have time. The giraffe cull isn’t scheduled until the end of November 2019, and Jens is happy to take offers for them up until 15 November. The new owners even have until the end of April 2020 to relocate their new giraffe pets.
This really is the perfect opportunity for all of those who claim that trophy hunting is evil, immoral, archaic, unethical, unnecessary or any other inflammatory word they can come up with. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to show the world a viable alternative to millions of dollars hunting puts back into wildlife conservation.
If you want to save the lives of 10 Angolan giraffes, email firstname.lastname@example.org before 15 November.
Otherwise, please stop trying to force the world to capitulate to your emotional blackmail. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re just another part of the problem.
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If you would like to know more about hunting wallabies, kangaroos or deer in Tasmania, check out these related articles and podcasts.
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