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Trump declares open season on big game in Africa

Donald Trump has reversed an Obama regime order banning bringing to the US the trophies of elephants hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

opinion Updated: Nov 17, 2017 18:09 IST
Lalita Panicker
Lalita Panicker
Hindustan Times
Donald Trump,elephant hunting,elephant trophies
The Trump administration is lifting a federal ban on the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport (AP)

He dodged serving in the Vietnam war because his feet were painful due to bone spurs. For so delicate a personage, Donald Trump certainly likes to portray himself as some kind of latter day Davy Crockett, a real man. He surrounds himself with four star generals, poses in bomber jackets and talks about his awesome nuclear power. So, it is no surprise that his administration is now reversing an Obama regime order banning bringing to the US the trophies of elephants hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Trumpian logic is that this will enhance the survival of the species though this beggars all logic. Imports will be allowed for elephants killed between January 2016 and the end of 2018. The Interior secretary Ryan Zinke who has strived with might to promote hunting puts it in his own worthy sentiments. “Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That’s something I want more families to experience,” Zinke said in a September statement. The National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm praised the decision on elephant hunting. It has escaped Zinke that catching a mackerel is not quite the same as hunting an elephant.

Elephants are part of the threatened species and the global community has pushed back on hunting them or using ivory. Now Trump declares that it is open season on elephants. Hunting is quite a family tradition with the Trumps. The Trump sons who have proved less than bright on many fronts displayed their valour by posing with dead leopards, antelope, giraffes and an elephant’s tail while on a game hunt in Africa. One of them spoke feelingly about how the hunt is the thrill and not the actual pulling of the trigger of the high calibre weapon with which they sneak up on the unsuspecting animal and shoot it dead.

Among the notable cowards who hunt big game was the dentist from some hick town in the US who paid a tracker to take him to a magnificent lion and then wounded the animal. When the weakened animal could no longer move, the criminal went and shot it dead. The lion’s son was later killed by another trophy hunter. Since the first lion was a beloved of game watchers, this created a furore. But, it had no effect on people like Trump who no doubt revels in the bravery of his sons.

The kind of people who indulge in such blood lust would probably not be able to face a small Pomeranian on a good day. And there is something seriously psychologically wrong with someone who needs to pose with the carcass of an animal to feel important or valorous. In the sort of game hunting that the brothers Trump engage in, the spotters and trackers do all the work leaving the so-called hunters to merely pull the trigger at close quarters. Not much bravery required for that. Some people out to kill animals in the wild do get their comeuppance. One such person got eaten by the very crocodiles he was hunting, another by an elephant he was trying to kill. But the hunters will come in with more firepower and help. Now that Zinke has given the green light, there will be more people crawling out of the woodwork to prove their masculinity in the wilds of Africa. Yet another example of Trump setting his sights on the wrong target and getting his aim way off the mark.


First Published: Nov 17, 2017 18:09 IST