Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So much for Cecil

Remember the fuss over Cecil the lion, killed by a hunter in Zimbabwe last year?  The moonbats went ape over it.  Hunting was roundly condemned, the hunter concerned was called a murderer (and many worse things), and one would have thought the Antichrist had been responsible.  (The fact that tens of thousands of Zimbabweans were ill from preventable diseases, and starving to death, never seems to have entered the moonbats' consciences.  Typical, that.  A lion's more important to them than human life.)

Well, the moonbats' efforts to ban trophy hunting have now had a side effect they didn't foresee, but which all of us who know Africa saw coming decades ago.

The outcry over Walter Palmer’s killing of Cecil drove other big-game hunters away from Zimbabwe, fearful they too would attract the ire of the public.

But in what is being described as a side effect of the affair, Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife area says it now finds itself suffering from an overpopulation of lions.

Bubye Valley Conservancy has more than 500 lions, the largest number in Zimbabwe’s diminishing wildlife areas.

It has warned that its lion population has become unsustainable and that it may even have to cull around 200 as a result of what is being called “the Cecil effect.”

. . .

Conservationists estimate about half of Zimbabwe’s wildlife has disappeared since President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned land began in 2000, but Bubye has held on by attracting wealthy hunters whose fees support its wildlife work.

But last year’s shooting of Cecil, in a conservancy bordering Hwange National Park, sparked a huge backlash against big-game hunting, and bolstered a U.S. plan to ban trophy hunting imports.

There's more at the link.

Let's leave ideology, emotion and feelings out of the equation and look at the cold, hard facts.  Today, in almost every Third World country, economic utility (a variation on utilitarianism) is the only value placed on a resource of any kind.  If it has economic value, it'll be preserved, used and exploited.  If it doesn't, it'll be allowed to wither, decay and die, and something else, with greater economic utility, will take its place.

That most certainly applies to game management.  Game has two economic utilities:  as food, or as a source of income.  Tourists won't come to a place like Zimbabwe when it's so mismanaged, when resources they prize (such as comfort, luxury and ease of access) are unavailable or very expensive, and when there are so many better-managed, better-priced, easier-to-reach alternatives.  Unlike a great herd of antelope, there aren't enough lions to feed a population if you slaughter them - and besides, the slaughter process tends to be a bit more complicated than it is with cattle, because the lions fight back!  Furthermore, once the game's been slaughtered, it's gone.  No, the only economic utility lions have, in the absence of tourists, is that they attract trophy hunters, who will pay large fees (in the tens of thousands of dollars per animal) to hunt them.  Those fees are what's kept game conservation alive in many African nations, far more so than tourist money.  They make it worthwhile to protect lion populations, allow them to breed, and 'harvest' them sustainably so that there are always more lions to hunt and the license fees keep rolling in.

Now that trophy hunters have been discouraged from going to Zimbabwe by the furor over Cecil's death, that source of income has been removed from lion conservation efforts in that country.  There is no other.  The moonbats who screamed blue murder over Cecil certainly haven't dipped into their own pockets to make up the funding lost because of their efforts.  They won't.  They need to spend that money on lattes at the local coffee shop, over which they'll continue to loudly, shrilly condemn everyone who don't see the world through their narrow-minded blinkers - particularly those evil hunters, whose license and trophy fees were all that gave economic utility to Cecil and his fellow lions in the first place.

If you eliminate trophy hunting, sooner or later you'll eliminate the trophy animals.  If they can't generate enough income through other means to pay for their upkeep and the land and resources they need, they'll go to the wall.  That's the way it is.  If the moonbats haven't grasped that, it's yet more evidence that they're living in cloud cuckoo land.



Rolf said...

There you go getting all factual, and harshing their mellow. Don't you know it's not facts that matter, it is feelz, and if you can signal the right virtues of caring?

At this rate, next you'll be telling us that we can't teach lion to act like proper vegans!

Sorry, channeling a leftists for a moment, there. The problem is that trying to explain what you just posted, and having it understood by the typical anti-hunting zelot, requires they have an understanding of economics, human psychology, history, biology, and ecology that is not just WAY past a sound-bite, it is beyond most of their grasp even will a set of year long college courses. OTOH, to you average redneck / hunter it's no more than common sense.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

It has always been that the best conservationists have been the hunters. They have a better understanding of the balance required by nature.

raven said...

You said what has been on my mind for a long time-
It is impossible to explain or have logical discussion with those who so poorly understand the world. What has passed for "education" in the US has only made it worse.
They are filled with passionate ignorance.

SiGraybeard said...

When the lions overpopulate the next effect is that they go outside the Conservancy areas (lions don't read maps very well) where they will conflict with the people. The lions will either feed on the people's livestock or the people themselves.

I think that the moonbats we're talking about would consider lions feeding on the people a feature and not a bug. You know there have been many of the enviro-weenies calling for killing off 95% of the human race; those are the moderates. The really ambitious greenies want 98% of people killed off. Curiously, they never seem to off themselves first. They want other people to die.

Paul, Dammit! said...

In my undergrad days, there was always the conversation-killer who chimed in about the immorality of animal population management, immediately followed by dreams of human population management. My old academic advisor used to say that it was a great way to see which students were worth investing time in.
The loudest of those voices in graduate school, however, are now, in their early 40's, the upper middle-management in NOAA. They finally found a soapbox.

Brian H. said...

Peter you hit it right on the head. The religious environmental types oppose any attempt to get economic gain from a resource, and fail to provide any alternative for the economy of the people of that area. Usually if pressed, they'll mutter something about tourism, but ultimately their "caring" hearts have no room for the welfare of their fellow man. After all, they already have a comfortable life. All that remains for them is to rid the world of things they dislike and the impoverishment of millions of people is an acceptable price if it pushes forth their narcissistic need to feel virtuous.

Chris said...

Magical thinking. I know that calling such mindless emotionalism "thinking" is a misnomer, but I'm not the one who came up with the label. Fits, though.

clark myers said...

Couple issues - cui bono - that tend to complicate a utilitarian analysis - back to the English Enclosure Acts and the treatment of highland Scots (see e.g. Battlefield Band "Ship of Tears" for the application of tears to folks beyond the Cherokee).

It's perfectly simple to crop herds of game, zebras and all the antelope and giraffes and elephants and rhino and all the predators too as a renewable resource without the herds ever being gone. Slaughter white tail and slaughter American bison are common in different places in this country. American Bison are hard to fence though.

Who gets the food and who gets the money can alter the outcome beyond a first level analysis. AID long long ago demonstrated by cropping hundreds of thousands of animals - mostly with a Garand and military ball and the work both killing and weighing and results have long been something nobody wants to talk about - that an existing balanced ecosystem properly cropped produces far more meat than say wiping out the ecosystem and substituting a monoculture cattle ranch.

That is cattle all compete with each other for feed but giraffe and antelope mostly don't so the feed to meat total is more with an existing ecosystem. What the balanced ecosystem produces is food - bush meat - for the cities but not dollars from McDonald's hamburgers for the new class of aristocrats who claim the land and ranches.

Which only goes to reinforce the point that any perishable resource that doesn't bring in dollars will be replaced by one that does - even if it causes suffering among the people who lived on the land.

Eccentric Cowboy said...

I remember this pointless ruckus being raised last year and felt little more than contempt for those banshees wearing human skin all over the web. They had more angry things to say about that doctor than Daesh engaging in modern day sex slavery. Idiots. What astounded me was the unbelievable hypocrisy going on with those Cecil loving types. A well known lion dies? Outrage. Impoverished Africans dying from starvation and malaria? Not a single peep. Africans being eaten by lions? Most of those folks blame the people. It's not like lions have been eating people for millenia or something like that.

I've never been outside the US (minimum wage has that effect) but even I knew this sort of thing would result. I notice again and again that those who advocate the banning of hunting simply don't understand what Africa is like and how harsh it is for those living there. They live in bubbles of ignorance and any attempt to sway them is usually met by condemnation for horrible humans engaging in blood sport. Jeez, these are often the same folks complaining about racism. Except race doesn't matter as much when it comes to the environment it would seem.

I've heard the 95% human culling idea too. I'd love to see them try to implement that though. There's just one wee problem with it: Us hunters have all the guns and know how to use 'em!