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Canada Calgary hunters club to auction off elephant hunt, alarming animal rights group

18:25  23 january  2020
18:25  23 january  2020 Source:   calgaryherald.com

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Animal lovers and activists are furious that a Calgary hunting club is auctioning off the first licence for a foreigner to hunt and kill an elephant in Botswana. The auction comes as threats to the majestic African elephant mount.

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a elephant that is standing on a lush green field: In this file photo taken on March 20, 2015 an elephant splashes at sunset in the waters of the Chobe river in Botswana Chobe National Park, in the north eastern of the country.© CHRIS JEK In this file photo taken on March 20, 2015 an elephant splashes at sunset in the waters of the Chobe river in Botswana Chobe National Park, in the north eastern of the country.

The head of a hunters’ rights advocacy group is making no apologies for auctioning off an elephant hunt during a fundraiser to be held this weekend in Calgary.

David Little, president of the Calgary Alberta Chapter of Safari Club International, said he’s hopeful there will be a successful bid at this year’s dinner banquet and auction on a licensed elephant hunt in Botswana.

It’s just one of two dozen hunts available at the club’s annual fundraiser auction, which caps off a two-day hunting expo.

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Elephant hunting is done mostly on foot by following promising fresh spoor until the animal is sighted. Generally older larger bulls will have younger, more alert bulls in attendance and they often raise the alarm or cause problems by always seeming to be in the way of the path to the larger bull.

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Little said he understood that there could be controversy over this particular hunt.

“It’s an elephant, which is an iconic animal,” he said. “There’s been a lot of levers pulled and buttons pushed — a lot of sensitivities — but it might as well be auctioning off a trip for two to Tahiti. It’s the same genre (of adventure travel).”

He said the legal hunt reopened in Botswana last May after a five-year closure, and he described a problem of “overpopulation” of elephants there.

Online sources put the number of elephants in Botswana around 130,000, although the animals are known to migrate across borders.

However, Trevor Miller of Calgary Animal Rights Effort (CARE) believes the hunt is morally reprehensible, regardless of how many animals are in the country.

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The Dallas Safari Club is auctioning off a permit to hunt an endagered black rhino. Copyright © 2020 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved. The Dallas Safari Club , an international organization of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts, said they plan to auction off a permit to hunt an

Trophy hunting or sport hunting is hunting of wild game for human recreation. The trophy is the animal or part of the animal kept, and usually displayed, to represent the success of the hunt .

“Even though they’re able to justify it by saying it’s legal, and the government can justify it as some sort of conservation measure — we don’t feel that same way,” said Miller. “That animal certainly doesn’t feel that way.

“It’s unacceptable in our eyes.”

He said killing of animals is unnecessary because countries can instead use contraceptive and sterilization programs to control animal populations.

He said his group is opposed to all hunting, but the elephant hunt is especially egregious in his eyes because of that species’ intelligence and family patterns.

a herd of elephants standing next to a baby elephant:  Elephants arrive to drink water in one of the dried channels near the Nxaraga village in the outskirt of Maun, on Sept. 28 2019.© MONIRUL BHUIYAN Elephants arrive to drink water in one of the dried channels near the Nxaraga village in the outskirt of Maun, on Sept. 28 2019.

Little described the attitude of Miller and other animal rights activists as “neo-colonial.”

“They feel they should be entitled to tell Botswana what they can do with their animals,” said Little.

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Hunters are allowed two imports per year. Hunting trophies can include any number of body parts, including tusks. In 2016, the federal government, under News of the federal government’s decision was reported in a Tuesday blog post by Safari Club International, a hunters group , which said that

Animal rights groups criticize move. Animal rights groups were quick to criticize the lift on the ban. “Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light

“Quite frankly, those days of western countries dictating to African countries should be well behind us.”

In a Botswana government press release from May of last year , the country’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said it chose to bring back the hunt based on a general consensus of those consulted.

The ministry cited increasing elephant-human conflict and the negative impact on outfitters’ livelihoods as just some of the reasons for allowing a hunt.

According to Little, a Canadian who kills an elephant in Africa is able to bring home trophies such as the tusks, or taxidermied sections of the animal, including the feet, head or hide.

However trade in ivory is strictly prohibited in Canada, meaning the hunter could possess but not re-sell ivory products.

He said in any hunt, the meat is harvested and distributed locally.

“I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of meat on an elephant. It feeds a lot of people,” said Little

He said the retail value on this hunt is around $70,000 U.S. and there will be a reserve on the auction, meaning it’s possible bids will not go high enough for anyone to win it.

The Safari Club will get a fraction of the winning bid, but most of it will go to the outfitter. The club uses its money for education, conservancy and advocacy.

Little said the club especially likes to support youth participating in rodeos, because they’re often targeted by animal rights groups.

Miller said his group will be protesting outside the event, which is set to take place at the Westin Calgary Airport Hotel this Saturday.

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