I’ve been getting info on this guy, Pastor Gerhard Steyn, the man of God who likes to kill leopards. Every day there are hundreds of new photos of people holding “trophies” and it’s far from just leopards of course, there are all sorts of wildlife including species like elephants, polar bears, different birds and fish, some of which are “photo trophies” before release. Such is the ego of these people, it’s easy to get information, they like to peacock themselves with all sorts of “look at me, I’m a hero” images.
As I’ve mentioned before, my script on this is connecting the dots with regard to the value of these trophies as a commodity in the same way that in the illegal wildlife trade market a leopard skin (or any wildlife body part) has value. Steyn peaked my interest because there are many trophy hunters who claim to be people of faith and in fact they will describe their killing as a spiritual experience. Of course one of the main justifications they spout is their support for wildlife conservation, something which is being hotly debated and has led to the exposing of a great deal of lies, politics and corruption. Read Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the big game industry by Eduardo Gonçalves (as well as the full on sequel, Killing Game: The Extinction Industry).
I’ll go into more detail soon but now there has been a new twist, WWF-UK has broken ranks.
To quote The Times: “The British section of WWF is now understood to have made a U-turn to take a more hardline stance against trophy hunting than the government, which is committed in principle to ending it.” Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ll know the controversy over WWF’s connection to trophy hunting. It’s an issue many conservationists don’t want to talk about, often a case of not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them. One of the reasons WildTiger exists is so the master servant dynamic does not exist … in other words, no fear of speaking one’s mind. So WWF-UK’s supposed new stance is a big deal albeit a story with a lot to play out.
So this is a just a quick teaser on the situation, like I say, there will be updates and the noise of “we are conservationists” has been at fever pitch recently from the trophy hunting community. There’s no doubt there needs to be alternative revenue for communities who are supported by trophy hunting and it’s a sad indictment on the world that the low priority for conservation funding in many places and poverty in general are huge problems but just maybe the WWF-UK decision is a turning point, it’s certainly a hit on blood money.
Who knows, maybe the day is getting closer when people like Pastor Gerhard Steyn have to get their spiritual rushes in other ways…