Elephant hunting: explaining the benefits

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by daggaboyblog, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. daggaboyblog

    daggaboyblog AH Veteran

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    I enjoy hunting and I don't sit around all day trying to justify why I hunt to anyone. Everyone I know understands that I hunt and accepts it at some level with a few facts over a beer.

    This year I'm going elephant hunting. I'm doing this hunt because I want to, because of the adventure and the nostalgia and the scale of a foot safari after a bull elephant. This has hit a few raw nerves even with supporters and other hunters!

    I cannot win an argument as I am mostly fighting emotional nonsense; they cannot be convinced. I don't care so much for an approval, however I really would like to give a logical explanation that others can understand and upon analysis, is a sound and logical position that supports elephant hunting.

    I'm hoping that the outfitters and PH's out there, as well as any well versed hunters, can provide some fuel for a solid discussion. I'm talking both trophy and non-trophy hunting. Here's where I'm at, the sum total of my argument put simply in a few short points:

    1. In some areas there are more elephant than the region can support, so some numbers need to be removed to guarantee the future of each biome and the other species that rely on that habitat for their survival, including the elephant.
    2. A managed quota that allows for the hunting of a small percentage of elephant does not impact the total population.
    3. Elephant hunting provides meat to communities that are lacking protein in their diets. Providing meat makes the bush meat trade redundant, thereby helping to save other species.
    4. Elephant hunting is not about the ivory trade. CITES agreements between participating countries control the ivory trade by enforcing international trading bans. CITES allows for the movement of ivory that is a result of sport hunting in countries with managed elephant herds.
    5. Elephant hunting provides employment and an income to outfitters, professional hunters, trackers, skinners, camp staff and other staff linked to the "industry".
    6. Elephant hunting brings money to communities who would otherwise see no benefit from the preservation of elephant, only the agricultural impact of the elephant on their livelihood.



    That's about all of the facts I have to offer any argument. The points I would like to back up with real data:

    Which areas are known to be overpopulated by elephant which are damaging the ecosystem? I understand the Kruger should have about 7,000 but has closer to 12,000 elephant and when I was in Botswana in 2006 one PH I met in Maun stated that the Chobe River area had tens of thousands more elephant than the area could support.

    Are quotas determined by the national parks board of each country? Is it a percentage take of the population? Do CITES or any other independent organizations get involved in determining the quota.

    What is the government office that is responsible for selling elephant quota? Is it auctioned?

    What conservation efforts are funded by the money from these sales of elephant quota?

    Which countries fund anti-poaching patrols using these funds?

    Do communities get their share from these funds? How are the funds distributed and who administers this process?

    Anything else anyone thinks relevant to this discussion??
     
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Dagga Boy

    Zimbabwe and Botswana have an over population of elephants.

    Quotas are based on animal population for a region...

    Zimbabwe & Tanzania fund anti-poaching patrols...

    Permits to hunt tusk-less elephants as non trophy are to reduce the genetic pool. Tusked elephant have a value, tusk-less do not have a value other than non trophy.

    What about PAC of elephants that reduce villages crops to zip in an evening.

    What about habitat destruction that elephants bring with the over population...
     
  3. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    Your arguments might be valid, and they're certainly important, but they'll probably never convince anyone. How could the average person who drives to work in a car, buys meat at the supermarket, and sees elephants only at the circus or the zoo understand the first thing about elephant hunting? The only person that really needs to be sure of the ethics involved is you.

    Have a great hunt!
     
  4. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    daggaboy go to www.ronthomsonhuntingbooks.co.za , he or his books will provide you with everything you need to back yourself up with about elephant hunting and conservation. buy extras and give them to your friends and schools. in my opinion every one on this site should buy/read his books, the information they provide on elephant and their impact on the land is frightening to an extent.
     
  5. M. Egan

    M. Egan AH Senior Member

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    Hi daggaboy.
    You have done a wonderful and thoughtful job of compiling the reasons on why you are ALLOWED to hunt elephant. The reasons that you want to hunt elephant are very personal and they are your own. Congratulations on your up coming hunt. I hunted eles this spring (April our spring) but was not successful in killing an ele. The tracking and the experience were great.
    People who are generally supportive of your hunting are probably owed a bit of an explanation as to why we are allowed to hunt ele. The others are not important.
    Good luck and cheers, Mike
     
  6. daggaboyblog

    daggaboyblog AH Veteran

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    Thanks for input guys. To clarify, I'm not trying to justify the ethics of why I want to hunt, I'm happy with my conscience.

    What I would like to do is crystalise the tangible benefits for the local people, the environment and the elephant population as a whole. Just cold hard fact, nothing to do with ethics or morals. Look forward to more input on this from everyone.
     
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Does CITES get involved in Quota?:
    Yes. Right up to the eyeballs! The latest from CITES on Elephant.

    This should provide some current background for you.

    CITES Secretary-General's testimony at the United States of America Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

    United States of America Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

    Ivory and Insecurity: The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa

    Written testimony of John E. Scanlon
    Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

    24 May 2012, Washington D.C., the United States of America

    CITES stands at the intersection between trade, environment and development and the Convention is needed more today than it was back in March, 1973 when it was adopted right here in Washington, D.C.1

    CITES regulates trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals, including listed timber and aquatic species, to ensure that such trade is legal, sustainable and traceable. CITES holds records of over 12 million trades, with about 850,000 legal trades being reported by CITES Parties to the Secretariat annually.

    The focus of this Hearing is on the illegal trade in wildlife, which is the focus of this testimony.
     
  8. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Mr. Grage, agreed 100% right on the money. I do believe that SA can also be added for habitat available to Elle in particular.

    I can get Elle from Kruger, Pilansberg, and pretty much any private or government reserve(SANP) reserve in SA, Nature conservation authorities have given us very generous availability on hunting tags (permits) as Limpopo do not even fill their annual CITIES quota on Elle not even the latter is a problem as far as availability is concerned, this purely because of the over population in SANP reserves as well as other top private reserves in SA.

    The only question is what do we do with them, we can not.... as one of the very few areas in SA that have Elle on our base property find enough hunter to take the over flow, ie. non trophy cows and or trophy/non trophy bulls.
    We can pretty much pick up any and as many 25 - 35 ,40 lbs bulls as we feel we can handle or area can.

    Reserves and in particular SANP do not wish to release there big tuskers to us but I can live with that......

    My best always.
     
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Jaco, I am sure there are a host of hunters available to help you out, at the right price!
     
  10. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Brickburn, I will post a special towards September for 4 bulls on Kwalata, come join us.!!! :)

    My best always.
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That is the easiest solution to over population. If you have supply, create the demand!!

    Look forward to reading your offer.
     
  12. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    As inexperienced and uninformed as I might be, it just seems to me that the basic theory of managing elephant is not that much different than managing any other form of high value wildlife.

    Now I will be the first to admit, after having been intimately involved in a number of management programs in the Rio Grande Valley and Hill Country regions of Texas that such is not for the faint of heart.

    The bunny huggers come out in force, it is hard work and the worst part is that it is really hard to find your way in the process as the results are slow to become apparent.

    So, once you've committed to a plan the killing starts. Just like nature, the old and informed fall first, then the unproductive females and after a pause to get a good count and determine carrying capacity the killing resumes.

    You will note that I said killing, this process I describe is far removed from hunting. putting down 15 - 25 deer a day is not hunting.

    But you keep at it, year by year.

    The deer get a little bigger, shinier coats, healthier animals, better fawn recruitment and less predation.

    Before you know it you have some really nice deer. But it takes a little nerve and some courage to stick to a plan.

    And some science....Parks and Wildlife is of tremendous in their assistance in these programs.

    But it doesn't end, the program has to continue with planned culling each year AFTER hunting season and as the herd goes into Winter.

    Ultimately, based on only what I have read, this is what is going to have to be done to properly steward the elephant in Africa.

    And when you start killing elephant by the truck load people are going to howl! Every PETA member with as much as 15 minutes of Disney's "Dumbo" under their belt will be there carrying a sign and calling you a murderer.

    It will be hard, at times brutal and mostly unpopular but for the African elephant to survive and prosper, I believe that ultimately this is the course that will have to be taken. To my knowledge, no other wildlife management approach has proven effective.

    Implemented correctly, in a time span of less than a decade, the elephant herds of Africa would be in balance with their available forage, 50-60 pounders would be the norm and 100 pounders would not be unusual.
    ( I base this on the improvement in antler mass of whitetail deer under management)

    I think the concept is a tough and perhaps impossible sell to the governments of the various affected Countries but the reality is what it is and you cannot tree hug or politicize your way out of the facts.

    Refusal to accept the present situation as untenable does the African elephant no benefit.
     
  13. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Your arguments are very sound and well written. Up until mid - 2010, I had no desire to hunt elephant and I couldn't rationalize in my mind why it was appropriate. I decided to research it, however, and in a very short period of time I became obsessed with the idea. The obsession became a reality in April, and I'm more consumed by it now than ever before.

    I found "Boddington on Elephant with Ivan Carter" to be a good source of information, as well as Craig's new book "Elephant!". The facts you quote played a big role in my change of heart, but a better understanding of how a proper elephant hunt is conducted and how challenging and physically demanding it can be really attracted me. Even with the number of books and DVDs I studied, I still underestimated what an elephant is capable of. The Omay in Zimbabwe is rugged country, and there were days where I would see a pile of elephant dung on an 18" wide trail on the side of a cliff (for lack of a better description) and just shake my head in disbelief that anything the size of an elephant could have passed that way. My bull was not big by any standard, but the hunt was incredible and was, without question, the real trophy. There is nothing that can compare to walking up and placing your hands on the tusks of an elephant, especially one that has come after many long days and miles.

    I too had many friends who couldn't grasp why I, or anyone else, would hunt an elephant. Since it wasn't that long ago that I felt the same way, I explained how I once felt and why my feelings changed. For some, they were fine once they understood the entire elephant would be utilized, especially the meat for the local villagers. Others were swayed by the overpopulation and habitat destruction (even though the current limited CITES quotas are not going to rectify this issue). With some, the funding for anti-poaching efforts and the animal's value that hunting created for the local population resonated. Surprisingly, many had no issue with the killing of an elephant; they just assumed that the animal was some placid, lumbering creature that you drove up to and shot and there was no sport or challenge. Once these folks better understood the challenges of a proper hunt, the capability and behavior of an elephant, and the difficultly associated with a brain shot, most developed a very keen interest in the undertaking.

    Some, however, could not justify it in their own minds. They would revert back to "let nature take its course, elephants did just fine long before we got involved". For these folks, I simply explained that those days are gone forever. With a human population knocking on 7 billion, we have forever altered the face of the earth and created an environment where the majestic elephant, once free to migrate thousands of miles as food sources were depleted, are confined to areas that can no longer support a population that grows at a reported 3-5% annually. Allowing "nature to take its course" in these relatively small, isolated sanctuaries will have devastating effects on not only the elephant population, but on all wildlife populations. Well managed and regulated hunting has proven to be a very effective conservation tool around the world, but there will always be the crowd that cannot (or will not) see this.

    Have a great hunt! I hope you too become even more obsessed with what some call (and I fully agree) the most exciting hunting adventure in the world.
     
  14. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    What so many do not understand is that nature is natuarally in a constant state of flux, populations increase until they exceed the capacity of the land then massive die offs of prey animals take place then predators, still at high populations levels, decimate the remaining stock until they eat themselves out of house and home then they starve and dwindle then the whole process begins again, not some magic state of stasis where populations are stable and everything is just fine all the time. It is a cruel balance, it works but it is not pretty.
     
  15. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Second Wind

    Elephants your 100 pounders will be about 60 years old.

    50 to 60 pounders will be 40 years or older.

    To produce the trophy size you are indicating will take a life time.

    to cull elephants, tusk-less, broken tusk and injured ones are a great start. However there are more of them then hunters. Even if you were to put a trophy price of 1K plus PH's fees on them it would take 20 year or longer to make a dent.

    The last i read the current elephant licenses permitting that is allowed and the results are taking is less than 1% of the herd and the elephant herd is growing at about 7 to 10 % now.

    So if we were just looking at Botswana, Zimbabwe & South Africa we would be talking about 100,000 plus elephants a year. Every one going on Safari would have to take at least 2 elephants and there would not be enough hunters to fill the slots.

    That is it let the country's pass a law that all hunter have to have on permit and hunt elephants.
     
  16. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    James.

    Well just perhaps I overestimated the results of wildlife management on elephants

    as I said, I was kind of extrapolating results from whitetail management and applying them to elephants

    granted, a dicey proposition and when overlaid by your knowledge base incorrect

    I concede that point, however,

    Even if you only get to the 100 lb threshold after 60 years I believe that the road back is through aggressive management which should build a healthier and more sustainable herd

    Your remarks as to the need to take 100,000 elephants a year and that every hunter on safari would need to take 2 elephants a year does seem a little tough but, it leads me to an analogy that follows

    Days gone by I was on a lease in South Texas, big ranch, dense brush, lots of deer and there was some big 'uns in there to be sure. Land owner had done some stuff with Parks and Wildlife and was a believer so we signed on and here was the drill.

    First thing we had to do was turn in all the buck tags off our license and were given 5 doe permits, shoot those, clean them up and deliver them to the children's home in Corpus, turn in the receipt they gave you in exchange for one buck tag, shoot your management buck and then come back for 5 more doe tags, same drill, does to the children's home, another management buck, 5 more doe and then finally you got a crack at a trophy, 160 or better

    As God as my witness, I have never worked so hard to kill a deer in my life.

    But, the land owner knew what he was doing, next year he dropped the doe count to three and the third year he eliminated it all together BUT he more than tripled the price of the lease and allowed 2 doe, one management buck and one trophy

    A decade later, 1 buck, 5 days $10,000 and they are standing in line. All of the culling is done selectively by his own employees.

    Sooo if Zim Bots or RSA says to JG

    :Mr Grage, says here you want to come to our country and hunt these 10 PG species, fine, you go shoot me two elephants and your permits will be right here waiting for you"

    What are you going to say?

    Maybe the real trick is not killing elephants per say but creating a herd of 100 pounders for our grand and great grand children

    certainly a legacy I can live with

    It's really just a big circle

    btw how's the knee coming along?
     
  17. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Where would one keep these 100pounders as that is the whole problem.... Too many Elle not enough land,..... are we really willing intent on being bleeding hearted liberals over one specie, (elephant) which in turn as a direct result of our actions would lead to the detriment of multiple other species in the larger ecological set up? I think not.

    Also keep in mind that if it was that easy to have a 100 lbs thereby meaning that if 40% of all bulls would hit 100lbs after 60 years I can almost gurantee that a money grabbing South African would have done so already... :)

    There is no difference between the management of impala and Elle except for the emotion we as humans attach to it.
    As James mentioned earlier I as well have looked into the eyes of a rural farmer living of the land Which now has no corn to support his family for this winter greenies should try that on for size.

    Human encroachment on Elle habitat is a major issue but you can't move people either, or if you can where too? This goes for Elle as well, where would you move them and who will carry responsibility for those costs for the relocation of Elle.

    I always find it laughable that Agelina Jolie and so many others who live in their comfy houses come to the "plight" of the African Elle but thinking of something while waxing your bikini area and getting down and dirty in the real world are 2 completely different things. I am sure Brad has first hand knowledge of Angi's down and dirty but that another post all together.... (sorry I did not sleep, maybe redwine has a little something to do with it as well... I dont know I'm not convinced ........ I'll try another glass!)

    I say if there are too many shoot the buggers it is also a good source of protein for those who do not have access to Ruth Kris, or some other fancy restaurant!

    My very best always! :)
     
  18. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    Jaco,

    Then I take it you agree with me.

    Stewardship (management) of wildlife now falls to the hunter

    At times it is nasty, bloody and unpopular business

    Not unlike spanking your children

    But there are times when the greater good and the end result outweighs the temporary discomfort

    If James G is correct and "we" are harvesting 1 % of a population growing at 7 - 10% your query is appropriate

    "where are we going to put them?

    The time to act is now . . . . not in 5 or 1o years

    A reasoned management approach has to be put in place, and it may appear to others as brutal but
    not doing so just kicks the can down the road for our progeny to deal with

    That, in my opinion is unfair, ill considered and does not serve the interest of those who follow nor the African Elephant

    A world where we as hunters leave behind healthy herd of 100# tuskers, sustainable and enduring

    yeah, I'm good with that

    In defense of your farmer analogy, who could not defend his killing the elephant(s) that laid waste to his crops

    I do not consider it his fault, nor the elephant's

    at the government level someone has to step up and take responsibility

    Look, it is as simple as this, either the herds are managed properly or Angie and Brad need to pick up the dinner check for the farmers
     
  19. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    :samurai:Yeah buddy I agree, thanks for boet for that my wife is going to flip.... I am having a glass (toast) on you....

    Or Angelina could give us what we want. :flashboobies:

    My best always
     
  20. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I don't have a huge desire to hunt Elephants, but if I got a very good offer on it, I would clearly consider to do it :)
    And I am totally fine with hunting a cow.
     

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