A teenage girl in Canada got together with a group of friends and like-minded anti-hunting people to disrupt an African Trophy Hunting show in Concord. Remington Latanvill who is eighteen-year-old and is the founder of the Ban African Trophy Hunting group encouraged her supporters to shout and jeer at attendees.
One venue said that they had backed out of hosting the show after the protesters became a concern for ordinary visitors who felt threatened by the protest. A Holiday Inn near the Pearson airport in Toronto was concerned about the “safety of the guests."
The protest was boosted by Direct Action Everywhere, which is an animal rights group. They provided signage and more support for the protest action. The show (which will travel to two other cities in Canada) has already been targeted for further protests by the animal rights groups so further disruption is anticipated this week.
The owner of African Events Canada, Birgit Johnstone told the media that they have not experienced this kind of protest or aggression in the past. The protesters were “personally attacking” organizers and attendees through social networking. CBC #News quoted Remington as saying that it is “selfish” to kill innocent animals for “their trophies."
From the perspective of the hunting operators, they generate funds for conservation of wilderness areas. However, a great deal of the income goes to pay government hunting fees and licenses. Of the profits, a portion of the hunting fees is put back into wildlife conservation and local communities. Legal hunters point out that hunts are aimed at those animals that are old, ill or likely to suffer from culling operations.
I spoke to Iain, a retired game ranger. “In an incomplete or small ecosystem, wildlife, and the flora needs to be balanced. When fenced reserves and game ranches reach their carrying capacity, something has to go to prevent an ecological meltdown. Too many predators will wipe out antelope species. Too many elephants will destroy the bush. Conservation bodies often have to try to deal with these problems.”
One ranger has cited lions as an example. “If you have too many lions in a conserved area, territorial fights lead to males being forced outside the protected area. This leads to conflict with farmers and settlements that border the reserves. The lions have been known to attack and kill cattle and horses and on occasion threaten human life.”
Another problem is that too many predators result in too few prey species. Once there are not enough herbivores, lions and hyenas compete for food. Hyenas are robust animals that will eat almost anything. They will not hesitate to attack weakened and hungry lions. The lion population may become untenable.“Currently, It is just not possible to allow every single animal to live indefinitely in the smaller protected areas,” he said.
There is some movement of animals between parks and private game ranches, mainly to keep genetic diversity and to improve stocking numbers in newly conserved areas, but the demand or place for all the excess animals is outstripped by the land suitable for wildlife.
Conservationists who are involved with hunting as a management tool point out that natural old age deaths for many animals is a horrendous and painful process. Elephant have teeth that wear out and they literally starve to death. Lions incapacitated by age become weaker until they are skin and bone. They are often torn apart by packs of hyena whilst they are still alive. Some people in Africa believe it is humane to give the animals a quick death that will earn income to maintain wilderness areas.
2015 brought anti-hunting activists to fever pitch after the death of Cecil the Lion was published. Facebook has become a battleground of harsh words, with one hunter who died getting comments like “Good, hope he rots in hell.” The two opposing forces in the hunting debate will never, it seems, find any common ground. #Buzz