First, sorry about my childish outburst earlier this morning. I had to get it out of my system or I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate at work. With that said, I hope at least some of you are still listening because I actually did have something important to say today.

A few days ago I posted a African safari website that promotes the hunting of endangered species and I was completely and utterly appalled, as anyone should be.

But I couldn’t just leave it at posting this appalling thing and wondering forever why this guy isn’t arrested for helping people kill endangered species. So I emailed him and politely (this is key to getting an unhateful response) asked what the laws were and how this was possible.

Here is the response I received:

“Elephants are endangered in some countries and can not be hunted.

Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and some other countries have a surplus of elephants and allow CONTROLLED sport hunting.  The hunting and movement of elephant parts is controlled by and internatinal organization known as CITES (Convention of International Treaties of Endangered Species)which over 100 countries belong to.  In some countries there is a large excess of elephant.  Zimbabwe has over 70,000 elephants, 30,000 more than they should have for the size of land they occupy. All monies made from hunting is given to countries National Parks office which in return uses to management their animal resources.”
Now, some of you may not be convinced by this response, but I did check out CITES and they are very much like our own Department of Fish and Game. They allow some hunting of these animals in areas where they are over-abundant, as Donald explained quite well in his comment on my last blog.

I may not be so willing to believe this if I hadn’t seen and heard about something very similar when I was in Costa Rica. When we were visiting La Fortuna, CR, we visited a restaurant where sea turtle eggs are on the menu. Naturally, we were appalled because we’d just spent the past two weeks working to save the sea turtles.

However, these particular sea turtle eggs are allowed to be taken from the beaches by the government. They are eggs from the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, which nests on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. While the species is still considered endangered, there are more than 10,000 (if I remember correctly) female turtles nesting on a small strip of beach at the same exact time. This creates a huge problem because the females end up digging up the nests of other turtles, squashing the eggs and leaving a mark for predators to find the newly-laid nest. Not only that, but it creates a huge health risk because the eggs spoil and wash off into the ocean and also create a really horrible stench.

Therefore, LOCALS are allowed to take as many eggs as they can within the first 45 minutes of nesting each night.

NOW, I’m not saying I agree with the killing of cheetahs and elephants. I’m just offering you the explanation. I’m still disgusted by this, but thought I’d get the conversation started. What are some other solutions to this problem?

PS I also don’t think Africa’s politicians have the right priorities when it comes to endangered species anyway. In Costa Rica it was very obvious that the people are well-aware of the benefit they have as one of the last places on earth with an abundance of untouched wildlife and they spend a great deal of time and attention on preserving it. The CITES website itself seemed to think African politics were disrupting what is best for these endangered species. A better solution may be to teach these countries that their natural resources can make them just as much money by being conserved as they can by being exploited.

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