Kittie Howard

Sunday, January 12, 2014

An Old Bull in Namibia

Late Friday night and 2,992 miles after we left for the holidays, my husband pulled into the driveway and turned off the car's ignition. Home! As fabulous as the trip was, it felt good, being home. We were also tired. . . very tired. Like for so many in the United States, the weather had challenged throughout the trip, but especially the sleeting rain in North Carolina that had followed us almost to our driveway.

But this morning, now rested and with the sun shining and birds chirping, it's a new beginning.

Or a sad ending, depending upon one's viewpoint.

Someone in the Dallas Safari Club had the highest bid, $350K ($350,000), to shoot a black rhino in Namibia. Please note I used the verb shoot because it will be a carefully managed canned hunt, meaning the animal can't run away.

My husband, the Marine who knows about weapons, is appalled (his word). As I've mentioned before, he's a man's man who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Simply put, there's no whining at the poker table. Show up with your big boy/girl pants on or stay home.

Flying in a private jet to a far off country, wearing expensive hunting clothes, and pulling out a high-powered weapon to shoot (execute?) an old rhino in a defined space because his bee no longer buzzes is sick, the kind of sick that's perverted if one isn't ultra rich. It's the kind of rich that flips off school kids donating saved pennies to organizations that work to save the rhino. It's the kind of rich where Pro Life is morality for the masses but a Second Amendment right for the rich.

Of course, if Namibia had acted responsibly and not offered the permit for auction, much could have been prevented. Namibian officials could have put out an all-call for donations for aging rhinos to live out their years in viewing areas.

Think of the children who could've watched the rhinos on web cams, a real learning experience about what's good in life instead of kids wondering how an adult could impose a Death Panel on an old animal that symbolizes not only Nature's grandeur but the enormous work done by so many to save the rhino from extinction.

I'm disappointed in Namibia.

Not that long ago, when my husband and I lived in Macedonia, we flew to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, picked up our rental car, and drove across parts of the Namib Desert to Swakopmund, where we spent Christmas in a quaint, modest hotel that was so special we'd longed to return.

We'd also like to make that drive again. For some reason, Namibia is at a latitude that attracts meteorites. They're everywhere. Huge. Gigantic. Small. The quiet drive traverses attractive villages surrounded by golden desert dotted with meteorites in every shape imaginable.

Approximately 2.2 million people live in one of the least densely populated countries in the world. 319,000 sq. miles (825,000 sq. km). By all accounts, Namibia is a stable, multi-party parliamentary democracy, a middle income country that Bloomburg says is easier to do business in than South Africa.

In the 1990s, Namibia -- then known as South-West Africa -- split from the Union of South Africa (which had governed it since 1910). DeBeers, the South African diamond behemoth, sold 50% of its 100% ownership of its diamond mines there to the new government, thus forming Namdeb Diamond Corp. partnership.

During the drive my husband and I made, we saw signs that restricted access to certain areas, specifically the Pomona area, because of the enormity of the diamond mines there. Now, I want to be perfectly clear: This isn't a 'Blood Diamonds' set-up. But you're not going to walk along the Atlantic Ocean's beaches and pick up diamonds to take home as souvenirs. That's a fact!

Besides diamonds, Namibia enjoys an ever-expanding tourist trade (that's become too expensive for our wallets), a viable agricultural infrastructure, and mines significant quantities of gold, silver, uranium, and base metals that are sold on world markets.

Although Namibia, like other countries, has pockets of inequity, it is not a poverty-stricken, failed state like Somalia or suffers famine issues found in the Sahel (Kenya, Ethiopia, and elsewhere). There is no reason why a country blessed with Namibia's diamonds and precious metals, along with the enormous economic and business contributions/investments from the United States, Canada, Western Europe, South Africa and China, has to sacrifice a rhino to raise money to stave off poachers. No no no no. Cook the stats as you will, Namibia, but I smell a rat!

And weasels in Dallas. But let's be honest: In this era of the ultra rich, too many spoiled adults can't resist a $350K temptation, not when forgiveness is around every hallelujah corner. Shame on you Dallas Safari Club for showing the world you don't have bees that buzz in your little boy/girl pants, just money to toss around.

Question: Is your very active and influential PAC (Political Action Committee) going to release a video of the shot heard around the world?


Cloudia said...

Spoiled adults- the problem of our age.

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

William Kendall said...

I was disgusted by this the moment I heard about it. It doesn't matter that the animal is old. It is just wrong.

If there is any justice in this world the shooter- because that person is no hunter- will have karma come back and bite him hard on the ass.

What a prick.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kittie - I love Namibia ... I went with my mother up the Skeleton coast back in the late 80s ... amazing country.

Culling is an emotive subject, as are rich tourists ... people are insensitive ...

It's a difficult one - but I personally would be unhappy shooting anything ... and I believe we should be discouraging hunting in any form ... but that too can be challenging ...

Great post .. Hilary

Guilie Castillo said...

This *is* perverted, whether you're rich or not. Wealth isn't an excuse for lack of values, of global conscience, of basic appreciation of life. I was revolted when I heard about it, desperate for a way to stop it, so your post makes me feel less alone. I'm sure there's petitions out there that we could sign, ways to make the outcry a public thing, and possibly shame the gloating winner into giving up the permit, "pardoning" the rhino--what better way, after all, to show off your wealth than by "throwing away" $350K?

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

How beautifully well-written, Kittie! Too bad it's such an ugly subject. It's impossible to put a positive spin on such unconscionable behavior. Makes me ill.

(LOVE your new profile pic! Looks very professional author-y.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is sad. Poor rhino. What a waste of life.

Out on the prairie said...

If one has 350K extra to spend, it is sad they are not doing it to save lives, not destroy a life.

mshatch said...

my son likes to say that a sport is a sport only if both teams know the rules of the game. Hunting should be to feed a person or their family. It isn't a sport, imo, and shouldn't be labeled as one; we lose respect for the animal then, don't care that it gave its life to feed us.

Norma said...

I heard about this. There is no good reason for this inhumane auction.

Spoiled rich morons.

Love your header photo!

Weaver said...

That's just sad. Selfish idiots.

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Kitty (just 'met' you over at the Tiki Hut :).

These sorts of violent acts are incomprehensible, selfish and disgusting. Illegal poaching is bad enough...but an auction? Wow. Just wow. I hope your post raises some awareness.

Carol Kilgore said...

One of Carl Hiaasen's books deals with the same kind of controlled hunts at exotic game ranches here in the U.S.

Inger said...

Oh, Kittie, I just wrote a long, long comment that wouldn't upload. So all I will say is that I agree with you, thank you for bringing this up, and my best wishes to you and your family for a happy new year.

Ellie Garratt said...

I heard about the auctioned hunt a few days ago and it disgusted me. But then if you have enough money, you can more or less do what you want. So sad.

Julie Flanders said...

I didn't know about this and find it so upsetting. Makes me so sad just to read about. That poor rhino.

LD Masterson said...

Incredibly sad.

PK HREZO said...

Wow that's pathetic. I despise any kind of game sport. So wasteful. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be human.

Jen said...

Oh, this is revolting! Hunting is one thing, this is...well, as you said, execution! I worked with a lady who talked about going big game hunting in Africa. The group she wanted to go with worked with the local government/tribes so that when an animal was killed, the trophy "parts" were taken and then the rest of the animal was used by the people in the area for food, clothing, etc.

As much as I hate the idea of an "organized, planned" hunt, at least in this case, the animal was used to feed and clothe people. Still...isn't hunting about the sport and the use of the animal for the hunter? Ugh...such an issue.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I haven't heard about this until now. Happy to see you at my blog, though :) Much better news!


kjmckendry said...

Wow, I can't believe people actually do that kind of thing, so sad.

Linda Starr said...

totally disgusting and nothing to brag about for sure