Several years ago, a popular trophy hunter from South Africa went missing while on a hunting trip- investigation showed that he was killed by crocodiles on the bank of the Limpopo river.
Hunting is a topic of heated debate in contemporary society. Nowadays, it is practiced worldwide and is mostly done for pleasure and entertainment, which is unacceptable from an ethical point of view.
Hunting as a leisure activity is cruel and inhumane, and it can in no way bring more good than harm. With advanced weapons in place, it puts animals in a disadvantaged position and denies them the opportunity to fight for their lives.
In many parts of Africa, poaching is a serious problem, as it is the main cause of the decreasing populations of endangered species.
Legal hunting, or trophy hunting, done primarily for amusement and sport, is equally terrible, and it has become a billion-dollar, profit-driven industry, allowed in numerous countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with varying degrees of transparency and control.
According to animal psychologist Gay Bradshaw, poachers don’t just kill animals, but they also traumatize them.
Animals are desperate, frightened, and threatened by humans who enter their natural habitat, invade it, and then kill or injure them. This is why they lash out and struggle for their lives!
In some cases, the animals are not the victims, but the hunters become the hunted instead! Back in 2017, a popular trophy hunter from South Africa ended up eaten by crocodiles in Zimbabwe.
Scott van Zyl, a hunter from South Africa, was known for arranging hunting trips and expeditions for rich clients from abroad.
He ran SS Pro Safaris, which offered special trips for hunters to spend several days on hunting grounds along the borders of natural preserves and promised to hunt as many as seven species for $9,000.
This time, he went missing while on a hunting trip, and it is believed that he was killed by crocodiles on the bank of the Limpopo river. He was escorted by a pack of dogs and a Zimbabwean tracker, but the duo split in their search for crocodiles.
When they returned to the camp, the dogs were alone. Van Zyl had left his belongings inside the truck. Helicopters, trackers, rescue teams, and divers tried to find him, and his tracks eventually led them to the bank of the river, where they found his backpack.
Human remains are believed to have been found inside two crocodiles in the river, and forensics tested them to see if they belonged to van Zyl. Subsequent DNA tests have proved the remains to be his.
His website claims that he has successfully finished numerous hunts, listing elephants, the blue duiker, buffalo, rhino, lions, leopards, and antelopes as his target animals.
In the end, the wild took its toll.
Similarly, in July 2019, a group of poachers who infiltrated themselves into reserves in South Africa to hunt rhinoceros ended up dead.
The next morning, people found their weapons, shoes, and some of their clothes, as well as human remains after they have been torn apart by a pack of lions.
They found only one human head, although there were three pairs of shoes. To save their lives and survive, animals will always try to fight back.
To prevent such tragedies, we need to stop the malpractice of trophy hunting and poaching altogether.
The least we can do is to support some of the numerous organizations that work hard to protect endangered and important species worldwide.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the largest animal rights organization in the world, advises:
“Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on hunting.
To combat hunting in your area, post “no hunting” signs on your land, join or form an anti-hunting organization, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barbershops) in hunting areas.”
“Educate others about hunting, encourage your legislators to enact or enforce wildlife-protection laws, and insist that nonhunters be equally represented on the staff of wildlife agencies.”