Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have been fortunate to have been given many tickets to events and concerts over the past several months. I was lucky to be given a pair of tickets to a lecture last night at the Meyerson Symphony Hall of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, photographers for National Geographic who specialize in researching big cats in the southern regions of Africa. They showed lots of spectacular photos and footage, particularly of one leopard to whom they'd grown quite attached in Botswana. They talked extensively of conservation.

They mentioned looking for days and days to find the big cats, about how they are so territorial and all, and that made me think of safaris. The Jouberts are major experts in the field and have been researching their subject for 28 years. If they take 10 days to find the big cats just to photograph, what would be the odds of the guided tours with hunting licenses tracking them down in the few days the dry cleaner from Des Moines has to hunt big game in Africa? What would you bet that a lot of safari companies have staff just around the next clump of trees springing big game from cages to guarantee a clear shot for a kill for their paying guests? I mean, considering how territorial they are and all, it seems the only way a tour host could guarantee the big game would make an appearance would be to cause it to appear, don't you think?

Yeah, it sounds crappy, but it's human nature to take the easy way out, innit?


GeorgeH said...

Waay too much trouble.

Every villager for a hundred miles around knows the safari company will pay a spotters tip on just where there are lions this week.

phlegmfatale said...

georgeh - oh, of course, your explanation is simpler and makes more sense. Silly me! I just thought they were out in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles from any people. :)

jcat said...

Actually, it's worse than that. Very many of the "safari" companies buy hand-raised lions from tourist places when the little darlings get big enough to bite hard and aren't so photogenic either anymore. The cubs have been bottle-fed, imprinted and tamed to such an extent that they cannot be released in the wild. The hunting company keeps them on a reasonably large farm, raises them till they are big enough to shoot as trophies (but will still come to be given their supper every day). I've heard many stories of the lion being moved to an enclosure about 4 or 5 acres in size. Not that hard to find your vicious wild animal in that limited space...
Canned hunting sucks!!

phlegmfatale said...

jcat - Aw, jeez. Hand-fed lions being shot as game? That IS worse. Just like the barbaric practice of fighting dogs, yet another instance of humans breaking a pact of stewardship. Shameful.

I agree about canned hunting. I am not even comfortable with seeding deer feeders - I figure if you don't go out tromping around and LOOKING for deer, or just waiting for them to MAYBE come by, it's not really hunting.