By Glenn Kendall
Family, friends, colleagues and fellow hunters along the endless Safari trail, these thoughts of mine come from the countless emails, phone calls and texts from many of you looking for my opinion on the heels of the allegedly illegally hunted Lion in Zimbabwe named Cecil.
As I already communicated with a few of you, I did, as you know, speak out in anger about the possibility that a big game hunter would have broken the code of ethics by illegally hunting such a great big game animal like the African Lion. But I guess the liberal media had me jump the gun that first day – shame on me. I’m very passionate about hunting and conservation; maybe it was before my first cup of coffee.
As most of you know, I have been a hunter since my early years. For many many years now I have been fortunate enough to spend time all over the world and in many of the countries in Africa, some of them multiple times. Before I first ventured to the Dark Continent, I learned all about conservation, game management, legal and safe hunting, and of course, the wonderful wildlife that inhabits one of the most beautiful wild landscapes on earth.
I have been in crocodile and hippo infested waters on many occasions, charged multiple times by elephant, so close to Lions and Leopards that I could smell there bad dental habits (HMMMM speaking of dentists?), and hunted more Cape Buffalo than any other species I’ve taken in Africa.
Hunters all gravitate to what they enjoy or are good at — I just have more of a hankering for those with claws, fangs, tusks and horns. I got the fever back in the early 90’s while legally hunting a wild Mountain Lion and was hooked on the dangerous stuff ever since. It has taken me from Wild Alaska for the biggest brown bears on the planet to all over Africa for the hairy scary stuff. All of this, of course, done legally with permits and done the right way. Hard hunting afield is my passion.
As an avid big game hunter I have contributed a lot of money to the less fortunate in these different countries. I have helped to aid the anti-poaching efforts that really only the hunters like me, hunting companies, land owners and some of the game departments do. Where are the anti’s when it’s time to write the checks?
We legally hunt a few to save a lot of these magnificent animals. A short time ago, someone at Safari Club bid to hunt a Rhino and paid $350,000. A big portion of the money would go back into Rhino research and conservation. This old Rhino was on borrowed time and had he died naturally, none of the money would have aided Rhino conservation, research and anti-poaching. The anti’s of course were up in arms about this. They just want to disagree and really don’t care about these animals, in my opinion. Put your money where your mouth is, is what I think. To be quite honest, I think they enjoy all the senseless attention about Cecil.
I have paid for and fed many villages for months on end in Tanzania with Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo and other wild game. All hunted and taken legally with permits.
In Botswana, I donated a bull elephant to a local community after I gladly paid dearly in fees to legally hunt it. They used every single piece of that elephant to feed a whole village for God knows how long, because old bull elephants in Botswana are the size of dump trucks. The guts that were left afield probably fed the likes of scavengers like hyena, jackal and vultures. Nothing wasted.
There is no better feeling than to watch dozens of the villagers show up after you’ve hunted a bull elephant, knowing you are helping them to have food for a while. The smiles that the Africans radiate is like none I have ever seen in my life. I have taken countless photos of the African smiles. Us Americans should take a lesson and try an ear to ear grin once in a while.
For many of you who are not aware, elephants live a very long time. If they die of old age, how do they make it that far? It is painful to say the least, as an elephant’s teeth wear down until they starve to death – which takes a long time in many instances. Starving to death means not only suffering, but then not having the strength to fight off being eaten alive by lions and other carnivore. Living in wild Africa is a struggle of life and death every day and night.
Spend an evening by the camp fire in the wild fields, like I have many times, and you can listen to the horrors of the predators chasing and catching prey. Each time an elephant dies like this, no money is put into conservation and anti-poaching. When a hunter legally takes an old big bull then, it is aiding the wonderful people by supplying them with food, funding the hunting companies, and monies go into local governments, game departments, and help with anti-poaching efforts. I am in no way inferring that all old bull elephants should only be hunted, I am just telling you the reality of what happens in each incident.
This communication is not intended to convince anyone who does not hunt or believe in hunting to agree with me. It’s telling you the truth about what goes on in Africa. I’ve been there and done it, seen it and been a legal part of it for a long time. Much longer than most anchors sitting behind desks at major news stations who misreport information to the public. Most of them don’t know the first thing about how hunting, game management and conservation works. It’s really irresponsible to report these things to folks who will believe right off the bat that ‘Cecil was lured out of the park, killed illegally and poached’ without an investigative outcome.
One of the stories that aired on a major network’s morning show stated that Cecil was killed and illegally poached by a hunter and resulted in his offspring being savagely killed by another male or males. It sounded terrible, scary, and Oh my gosh, what horrible crime, right? Wrong – each time a male lion who governs the pride is either killed, dies or run off by a Lion or Lions, the new male or males do come and kill the offspring. It’s the way nature works with Lions in parks, the wild and everywhere in Africa. Immediately after this, the females go into heat and the new male or males start a new family tree. It’s the life and death cycle of the African lion. Our beloved daily news reporting of course forgot this important part. Did they know and not report it or are they just trying to shed a bad light on hunters? Hmmm, could anchors that get paid millions of dollars a year be this short sighted? Maybe we should ask Brian Williams?
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