OPINION: Slick “Hunter Proud” Video Uses Bad Ecology to Promote Elephant Culling, Trophy Hunting, and Ivory Trading

Elephants drinking at a river in Samburu National Park. National Geographic photograph by Michael Nichols.

By Phyllis Lee, Keith Lindsay, and Katarzyna Nowak

The Elephant and the Pauper: The Ivory Debacle is a recently released 50-minute video by the Hunter Proud Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable public foundation and lobbying organization based in Houston, Texas.

The video was circulated in the first half of January 2015 to members of the IUCN Specialist Groups and to CITES membership, with the specific aim of lobbying for hunting and consumptive use of African wildlife.

The film—whose proposals for gaining revenue from ivory and sport hunting come at a time of unprecedented poaching and killing of elephants across their range, including in Zimbabwe—is risky to the point of irresponsibility.

The Hunter Proud Foundation has turned the clock back on decades of progress in conservation and wildlife management. With opinions unsupported by evidence, the “documentary” misrepresents the science of elephant population dynamics and their ecological roles—science that is indispensable to informing conservation and management approaches.

The outdated ideas about elephant ecology, along with the blinkered call for a return to agriculture-style intensive management and population control, are conflated with the legitimate, but entirely separate, aims of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Intervention in the form of elephant culling is said (incorrectly) to —> Read More Here


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