Are Trophy Hunters Really Into Conservation?


After bloodthirsty Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer killed real life Disney character Cecil the Lion, more conversations began to pop up about why Cecil had been chosen as his latest, most high profile victim. In most every country in Africa, including Zimbabwe where Cecil was offed, there are laws regarding sport hunting not much different than here in the U.S., where people kill all kinds of animals without names every day.

Also, actual human people are dying in Africa and the U.S. currently has an active drone strike program aimed at a few countries it invaded.

A ubiquitous rule, varying among the Big 5 of highly sought after rugs – lion, elephant, leopard, cape buffalo, and rhino – is that hunters must kill an older male who is no longer contributing to the gene pool. This was the case with Cecil and why by this logic terrorists and insane gunmen should target Elks Lodges whenever possible.

Money from these hunts is supposed to go into well administered conservation programs in these various countries which still haven’t figured out drinking water, so we can have more of these animals to shoot without feeling like we’re playing god which probably takes some of the fun out of it for the trophy hunters if they’re being honest.

Plus they’re called rare animals. Do you want them copulating and devaluing my leopard skull reading lamp?

Despite the intuitively ridiculous idea that we should be killing animals to protect them, there is scientific merit to the idea.

However, trophy hunters shouldn’t be allowed to talk about that.

The idea that you personally need to pay $350,000 to go to Namibia and shoot a rhino in the name of conservation is patronizing. You just want to shoot a rhino. Admit it. You’d be shooting rhinos or some other animal whether or not you thought it would impact said animal’s sustainability. If you could get away with it.

Let’s not justify this ridiculously psychotic hobby in the name of conservation.

Assuming this eugenics plan works and we see wild game populations grow to healthy numbers, what’s the end game? Allow dudes from Minnesota to have free reign to kill more of them and start the process all over again? Are we trying to create jobs overseas? What’s the point?

If you really care about the animals, why not just give the money directly to the conservation groups? You could possibly pay to have the animal relocated. Or use it to feed other animals. Rest assured if we put our heads together, there are other ways than going Rambo on them.

So why do you have to shoot it tough guy?

Because you like to shoot things and if this was an episode of Charlie’s Angels where some deranged villain allowed you to travel to his private island and hunt actual people, you’d be doing that too so long as you could afford it.

I don’t understand why people like to go postal on endangered animals. Yet, if that’s what you’re into, be honest about it. Don’t pretend you’re doing something responsible.

At the very least, a conservationist who cares about animals should be shooting them. You shouldn’t get a thrill out of it. That just makes it more wrong. Like if Kevorkian high fived all the nurses after pulling the plug.

I’ll assemble a group of Whole Foods moms and sage burning hippies and go over to Africa with them and humanely kill these lions after reading them their last rites or a passage from The Jungle Book, and you can stick to dentistry and fantasizing about murdering your racket ball buddy and just generally creeping out the rest of society.







Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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