Hunting big game has sparked a huge ethical debate in recent years, thanks to the news and social media. It’s not that there are more big game hunters than in the past, in fact, there are much less, but platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it easy for a hunter to share their “prize” with friends… and usually, not everyone will be responding with congratulations.
The following story is what happens when karma comes into play in big game hunting and things take a very unexpected turn with these majestic creatures…
Featured Photo Credit: www.boredpanda.com
Big game hunting or “trophy” hunting is the activity of killing large animals, that are almost always large terrestrial mammals, for meat, other animal by-products, or for sport, so they can hang their innocent heads on their walls. Understandably, not everyone thinks this is a great idea, but that doesn’t make it any less popular.
For the most part, big game hunters are people with thousands and thousands of dollars to throw away on killing exotic animals for a thrill. Animal advocates and conservationists often fight against the “sport”, but some big game hunters argue that it actually helps the environment…
Hunters will argue that big game hunting helps control wildlife populations, but since most big game targets are on the endangered species list, this argument doesn’t go very far. Glenn Kirk of the California-based The Animals Voice, says hunting “causes immense suffering to individual wild animals…” and is “gratuitously cruel because unlike natural predation hunters kill for pleasure…”
Also, despite hunters’ claims that it keeps populations in balance, hunters’ license fees are used to “manipulate a few game [target] species into overpopulation at the expense of a much larger number of non-game species, resulting in the loss of biological diversity, genetic integrity, and ecological balance.” Whatever the case, many people are happy to hear that hunting is losing popularity around the world…
According to Scientific American, data gathered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for its most recent (2006) National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, showed that only five percent of Americans, 12.5 million individuals, consider themselves hunters which are down from 15 percent in 1996.
And the environment seems to be doing just fine! However, there is one big difference in hunting today over hunting 20 years ago. Those who do hunt in 2017, are able to show off their “trophy” on social media and many people are quick to take the animals’ side and fight back.
In 2015, Cecil the Lion became a social media firestorm when the majestic 13-year-old lion was killed by Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota. Cecil was killed at his home, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, where he was a major attraction and being studied by Oxford University.
The cocky dentist shot Cecil with an arrow and he died a slow, painful death over the course of a few days. Following news of the terrible kill, people everywhere were outraged and demanded harsher rules for hunting endangered animals for what some people call sport…
Bad For Business
Thousands of angry people even took their pitchforks online and tore Palmer apart, leaving him bad Yelp reviews and bashing his practice, River Bluff Dental, all over the internet. And many demanded trophy hunting be banned once and for all.
However, Palmer is not alone. Again in 2015, an Italian veterinarian named Luciano Ponzetto became the target of social media attacks after he posted photos online with a dead lion in his arms. However, Karma caught up with him, quickly and cruelly…
Just a few months later, in December 2016, Ponzetto slipped on some ice while hunting for birds and fell 100 feet down the ravine. The Italian big game hunter died instantly in the accident and once again people on social media were quick to attack the Italian hunter saying he “got what he deserved”.
And Ponzetto is not the only hunter who learned the cruel justice of their traditional activity of choice. This brings us to the most unbelievable story of big game hunting in recent time. One that might just prove once and for all that these incredible creatures don’t deserve to die such terrible deaths…
The Big Botha
Theunis Botha of South Africa loved big game hunting so much that he made a career out of it, pioneering European-style “Monteira hunts” in Africa. His business would bring wealthy people to Africa so they could shoot rare and stunning creatures who never even see it coming.
Botha was from a family of big game hunters who killed antelope, leopards, lions and many more animals. In the 1800’s, Botha’s ancestors were among the original settlers in an area surrounding what is known today as Kruger National Park, a world famous sanctuary for many of the animals that call Africa home. However, today, the Bothas prey on the animals just on the park’s outskirts…
Earlier this year, in May 2017, the 51-year-old was leading a tour group on a hunt in Gwai, Zimbabwe to search for the animals there. The group was looking for other game when they stumbled upon a breeding group of elephants at a game reserve near Hwange National Park Several.
The group of elephants was completely startled by the unexpected visitors and were not welcoming in the least. When some of the hunters shot their pistols, the breeding elephants were frightened and charged directly at Botha and his group of tourists…
The hunters shot at the massive animals in defense, but that only made them even more hostile. One mother elephant was so upset that she lifted Botha up in the air with his trunk and then slammed him to the ground.
The other hunters shot the elephant as many times as they could until the gentle giant fell to the ground to her death. However, she didn’t die in vain, as she took Botha down with her…
When the elephant collapsed to her death, she landed directly on top of the big game hunting king pin, instantly crushing him to death. While one could say, both Botha and Ponzetto died doing what they love, other could say these are clear examples that we should not mess with Mother Nature.
Following her father’s sudden demise, Botha’s daughter took to social media, where she posted a photo of her and her father. She received messages of support from friends and criticism from detractors. Accidents like this tend to bring the issue to the forefront of public conscience. For some, it may hard to sympathize with animal killers; but it’s important to remember that they also have families and friends who love them and don’t think what they did was wrong. What’s your opinion?