HEY HUFF PO: Again, Poacher Does Not Equal Hunter

Written by Gayne C. Young on August 14, 2014


The media has once again incorrectly associated hunters with poachers.

This time the error was made by The Huffington Post. And unfortunately, this association wasn’t the only error the article made.

Below is a sampling of the many errors in “The NRA Is Quietly Fighting For Your Right To Kill Elephants For Their Ivory.”

The Huffington Post says:

Last year, people around the world watched as a gun lobbyist with his own NRA-sponsored cable TV show stalked a large bull elephant in the African bush, raised his rifle and shot it two times in the face, killing it. The hunter, NRA strategist Tony Makris, and his guide later sipped champagne and relished the “special” act of bringing back the animal’s ivory to camp.

The segment was filmed for part of an “Under Wild Skies” show that was later canceled by the NBC Sports Network after international outrage.

The Facts:

Under Wild Skies was cancelled by the NBC Sports Network but not because it showed an elephant hunt. It was canceled after host Tony Makris compared those who don’t agree with his hunting elephants to Hitler. Makris said, ““[T]hey said but [elephants are] so big and special and they’re smarter. And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.” NBC Sports canceled the show saying that Makris’ comments were, “outrageous and unacceptable.” Under Wild Skies now airs on the Outdoor Channel.

Furthermore, the “guide” in question is Johan Caltiz. He is a licensed Professional Hunter. Not a “guide.” What’s the difference? Quite a bit actually. One drives a sightseeing bus the other has to take college level courses, undergo a rigorous apprenticeship, and become licensed by the government.

The Huffington Post says:

It served as a graphic reminder that a number of African nations still allow hunters to purchase permits — some 1,000 of which are issued to Americans every year — to kill elephants from their ever-dwindling populations, even amid reports that illegal poaching already claims the lives of up to 35,000 African elephants a year.

The Facts:

Elephants may be legally hunted in several African nations, none of which, have a shortage of elephants. The Huffington Post would do well to contact CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) or US Fish and Wildlife to get the facts on the matter.

The Huffington Post says:

In April, the FWS announced a suspension in ivory imports from elephants killed in Tanzania and Zimbabwe during 2014, claiming that even legal hunting in these countries “is not sustainable and is not currently supporting conservation efforts that contribute towards the recovery of the species.”

The Facts:

This sudden decision has been met with a host of complaints. Lazaro Nyalandu, minister of Tanzania Natural Resources and Tourism, recently traveled to the US to attend the Aug. 4 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington D.C. to discuss the concerns behind President Obama’s “National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.”

And the biggest error made by the Huffington Post deals with its associating hunters with poachers. Hunters hunt under conditions of law. Poachers kill animals illegally. Hunters pay for the privilege of hunting. Poachers pay nothing. Implying that hunters and poachers are the same is no different that comparing soldiers to murderers, racecar drivers to speeders, or the Huffington Post to journalism.

Come on Huffington Post. Get your facts straight.



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