Colonisation and wildlife: Part Two…hunting turned into sport

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IN the first part of this series we focused on illegal poaching which is leading to the abuse and consequent depletion of animals in Africa.
We shall now look at the legal killing of animals which is likewise leading to the depletion and abuse of animals in Africa.
This is very sad since it is legalised. Hunting is an age-old activity in Africa.
It followed after gathering and predated livestock rearing.
By definition, hunting is the killing of wild animals for the sake of acquiring meat for food.
Nowadays, the whites have turned hunting into sport.
There are many who take the killing of animals as a hobby and refer to it as their passion.
South Africa was the earliest entry point for Caucasian whites in Africa.
The Dutch, followed by the British and other European groups settled there beginning in the 17th Century.
The white settlers displaced blacks by force with the use of trickery and violence.
A domino effect resulted and the displaced groups started displacing other black groups heading north.
This wave effect was known as Mfecane and led to the spread of warring and poverty.
The settler-whites attempted to wipe out the indigenous population and import more whites to replace blacks as the majority.
This they did in North America, Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, among other places.
When it proved difficult, they set up an apartheid system to relegate blacks to the very bottom of the social hierarchy.
Whites then became the ‘owners’ of the land and therefore, custodians of the minerals, plant and wildlife found in and on it. Animals that had lived harmoniously with mankind in the region were now prone to industrial killing under the name of ‘legal hunting’.
Tourists came from Europe and the US to shoot wild animals.
If they were simply hunting for meat and sustenance, there is no way that the demand for game meat would be so high as to upset the population and threaten the existence of the species hunted.
Unfortunately, these hunters take pride and pleasure in aiming at the animals, firing their weapons, hurting, tracking the injured beast or killing it with a single shot.
They aim at lungs and the armpit area to ensure mortal wounding.
The hunters often pose for pictures with their kill while holding their weapons, with a smile and a look of achievement.
After the adrenalin rush and adventure associated with killing, they decapitate the beast, stuff it and turn it into a trophy which they proudly hang on their walls.
This form of hunting, though heartless because it is only for sport, was somewhat respectable because the hunters took risks in confronting a wild animal in its own environment.
The hunters would do the very same act as the poachers, but would be legal because he or she paid some white owner of the land for a trophy head.
Unsurprisingly, hunting for sport became more and more unpopular because of the decrease of beasts such as lions which were popular on the trophy catalogue.
South Africa is a very dry region with much fewer inland water bodies like rivers and lakes as compared to Zimbabwe. Cultivation has proven difficult for the whites who continue to own the land because irrigation is not possible where there is no water.
The US, which has been prone to overhunting ever since the coming of the northern Europeans in the 17th Century has the highest number of clients that come to Africa for hunting.
It was white-Americans who put pressure on fellow white-South Africans to convert their farms into game farms for hunting.
The Americans offered South Africans a lot of money for the heads of the beasts which are insensitively named ‘trophies’.
A rhino is worth between US$50 000 and US$100 000.
A lion costs about US$40 000, kudu US$1 500, zebra US$950 and an impala US$270.
All animals, including giraffes, can be hunted.
These lucrative offers led white settlers in South Africa to convert their farms into hunting grounds for trophies.
Those who owned cattle ranches were better equipped and experienced to cross over into game breeding.
These are not to be confused with reserves because their purpose is to induce wild animals to breed for the sake of being hunted for trophy heads.
These will no longer be wild animals, but semi-tamed animals that were fenced and hand-fed their whole life, only to be released in the forest when a hunter has paid enough money to shoot that specific beast.
The animals do not really run away from vehicles because they have grown accustomed to humans rearing them.
Whites, particularly Americans, come in hunting parties.
On arrival, they choose and pay for the trophies they want and are shown where the animals are.
These animals, be they antelope or lions, are devoid of survival skills.
The lions are like dogs because they are kept in cages and fenced areas.
They are fed by humans who throw them the fetuses of pregnant beasts that were killed.
They are only set free to get shot by hunters, either by a bullet or an arrow.
The pleasure in hunting lies in outwitting an animal, but the above described is altogether an artificial experience because the animals do not run from their hunters.
Artificial hills which hunters hide in so as to stock and shoot the animals make this experience even more unreal.
Taking a fish from a fish pond is not the same as actually fishing in a river.
In the former case, the fish actually runs to the human assuming he or she has come to feed it.
The predatory nature of Europeans can be seen in how they co-operate with each other beyond borders to facilitate themselves with money and trophies at the expense of African wildlife. There is no sympathy in this business.
The only reason a hunter would not kill a large or extinct beast is that it will be too expensive.
The hunters are not concerned about the dwindling numbers of the species they hunt.
The white-settlers claim they are playing a conservatory role in accelerating the breeding rate of the beasts they keep, conserving them only to be killed after depriving them of their freedom, altering their natural instincts and survival skills.
Some claim they are more humane in only permitting the use of guns that fire arrows instead of bullets.
These are all excuses to justify the wrongful killing of wildlife.
After the hunters get their trophies, the game meat is sold for export at a high price.
The settlers falsely claim that they feed the community with it in order to appear they are playing a humanitarian role.
They also comfort themselves saying their animals, particularly lions are cleaner and less scarred than wild ones and thus make for better trophies.
Based on their shallow arguments, it seems they do not understand their crime altogether, or do not want to.
Like humans, animals have a right to live in their natural state and environment.
Taming wild animals and turning them into shooting targets is a detestable act.
Life is precious to every living creature and God did not create wildlife to be killed for sport and turned into trophy heads.

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