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The grim 'logic' of trophy hunters

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Trophy hunting.

I will never understand the 'thrill' of this.

When I was a professional zookeeper, feral dogs got into the zoo one night and killed a bunch of animals, including ducks by the score, pet skunks that had been in the children s' zoo, and our guanaco (a form of wild llama).

I was there the morning we discovered the carnage. I felt the cooling body of Gwendolyn the guanaco, smelling of fear and stained with blood, fur tacky with leaking body fluids, with the ugliness of saliva and death, eyes blank and covered with bits of debris, stuck on because there was no life to blink them away and wash them clean with tears.

I remember thinking , 'So this is what a trophy hunter ends up with, this sad, disgusting, vacant corpse where life and light, movement and beauty used to be. What a horrible 'prize'. It makes no sense!' Up until that moment I had tried to defend 'ethical hunters', to walk the line of 'reason' by sincerely attempting to give credence to their logic. But that moment changed everything for me.

I don't understand the point of hunting, especially 'trophy' hunting, except the will and lust to inflict this morbid state on others. Is it about 'possession"?' What are they possessing besides the life they steal? There is nothing beautiful about a lifeless carcass - Nothing desirable about a body leaking life or stiffening with hard emptiness. What these 'trophy' hunters end up with is a rotting corpse, perhaps preserved skin or horns, but a dead, grim, sad, grisly thing nonetheless.

Oh. and the memory of taking a life.

That must be the appeal.

I know black rhinos personally. I've worked, hands-on, with them.

They were among the most responsive, most personable, most amazing of all the wonderful creatures I worked with during my tenure at Zoo Atlanta.

Black rhinos are nearing extinction.

I would do anything to save these magnificent and sensitive creatures from being driven to extinction or harmed in any way. And, especially, from being murdered by a so-called 'trophy' hunter.

Yet the Dallas Safari Club and its members wish this fate on one of the last black rhinos in existence.

They argue it's for 'preservation of the species'.

Sacrifice one to save the rest.

I say, 'Sure, and let's auction off a license for a pedophile to molest just one child, to have his way with him or her, so that we can use the money raised to prevent other children from being molested by guys like him.'

Sure. Makes sense to me.

If you want to speak out against the hunt, the permit for which has already been auctioned off, here is a petition to the USFWS to deny the importation of the black rhino trophy into the US. The hope is that it will discourage a 'fad' for killing more of these critically endangered animals if no parts of the carcass can be imported into the US as a souvenir.

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