Before listening to this podcast about The Rhino Hunt I really did not know much about hunting and how it worked. I have always been aware that in the past, humans hunted animals for survival, as all carnivores do in the wild, and the need to hunt still exists for those living tribal lives, but it also has become a want for others.
When listening to the podcast and learning how the hunting industry works I was very shocked by the system of ‘Trophy hunting’. The whole setup surprised me. The casualness of the auctions that are held, to sell hunting tags caught me off guard. In the podcast, we were given a snippet of how the auctions play out, and it really left a bad taste in my mouth. The way the host described the animals like they were toys was disgusting. They stripped the animals of their value and presented them as mere objects of pride. I personally find this unacceptable as I have more of an ecocentric view on the world, I truly believe that harmony can be formed between humans and nature.
Hunting has become equivalent to a game, it carries all the components of a great game, that is of course for those who enjoy it. The most important of these elements being that of surprise and a chance of winning. I assume to those who indulge in hunting, it gives them an adrenaline rush, getting out there on the playing field ready to shoot their target, with elements of strategic planning. The chance of winning is also another important aspect of a great game, in the game of hunting this would correspond to the human having proudly stepped on the animals dead body. But it is an unfair game, where the animals unknowingly become the enemy. As the animal’s homes turn into playing fields of survival, their chances of surviving a hunt attack are slim.
The Namibian government fuels this atrocious game, they willingly auction Balck Rhino hunting tags to hunters. It is ironic how they use the money raised from these auctions to boost the conservation of this species. Their logic behind the legalisation of the hunting of older male Rhinos is one that is presumably well thought out. Older male Rhinos have been observed to get in fights with other Rhinos, and while they walk out alive the others usually don’t end up with the same happy ending. For this reason, the Namibian government believes that the killing of these males will benefit the survival of the species as a whole. I can see the rationale behind this system but is killing really the best way to save the species? The irony of human interference in such an extreme way is what makes this situation unacceptable. Why do humans think they have the right to interfere with the natural dynamics of the species? We believe ourselves to be superiors and therefore take charge of the fates of these animals. Although it is important we work towards the conservation of endangered species, this is a special case, in which there is conflict within the species, and the humans are not the ones causing the animals to die, so why do we think it to be necessary to take charge by killing the source of the problem? I understand human intervention when we are the source of problems, but in this case, I think it is wrong for us to come in between what nature has planned for the species. Maybe I think this way just because I was presented with the opposing idea, and therefore my mind naturally has the urge to oppose, but maybe there is also still some truth in my questioning. Killing is not the best solution, especially when you get people who enjoy the act of killing involved.
But saying all this I have to confess that I am not completely clean either. I too have stained hands, I am not vegetarian and therefore am indirectly involved in the murder of animals. I am definitely not brave enough to kill my own meal, and for the courage of being able to hunt and enjoy eating the meat after, I admire these hunters in a way, but still, do not have any respect for this pass time of theirs.
This whole situation is very complicated and I can’t possibly highlight or even think of all the nuances that come with such situations. I would like to end on the note that everything I highlight in this blog post is my second impression of the podcast, and there is further thinking and consideration to be done, so here I sign off.