Bob Barker Would Really Like the Dallas Safari Club to Cancel its Black Rhino Hunt

Categories: Animal Welfare

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laksge
The Dallas Safari Club's decision to auction off the chance to hunt an endangered black rhino has sparked an impassioned and thoroughly fascinating debate about the ethical implications of big-game hunting and whether an animal's age and inability to reproduce is enough to justify its death.

That debate is officially over, the underlying moral quandary settled once and for all. Yes, Bob Barker has spoken.

"As an older male myself, I must say that this seems like rather a harsh way of dealing with senior citizens," the 90-year-old, most recognizable as the longtime host of The Price is Right, wrote in a letter to DSC Executive Director Ben Carter.

See also: Dallas Safari Club to Auction Endangered-Rhino Hunt This Weekend, Death Threats Be Damned

He tosses in a few more self-deprecating old-person references -- "[J]ust because you're 'retired' doesn't mean you don't have anything more to offer. In fact, I personally feel that I've accomplished a great deal since I quit my day job." -- before moving on to his main point:

There are only about 5,000 black rhinos still alive in Africa. What kind of message does it send when we put a $1 million bounty on one of their heads? These animals are endangered for that very reason: money. What makes you any better than the poachers who kill rhinos to feed their families? At least, they are honest about their less noble motives. You try to dress up greed under the guise of "conservation."

True conservationists are those who pay money to keep rhinos alive -- in the form of highly lucrative eco-tourism -- as opposed to those who pay money for the cheap thrill of taking this magnificent animal's life and putting his head on a wall.

"If you want someone's head to go on a wall, pick mine," he concludes. "I will happily send you an autographed photo to auction off instead. My mug may not fetch as much money as that of a dead rhino, but at least we'll all live to enjoy another sunrise in our sunset years."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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39 comments
FashionFan
FashionFan

Considering how compassionate Bob Barker has always been toward animals, it is no surprise at all that he is doing everything he can to keep another majestic endangered animal from being gunned down.

Voot
Voot

patmcginnis56 and bmarvel below have both made very emotional appeals against this black rhino culling, but for a change up let's look at the facts and how they fit together rationally.

The rhino to be culled is an old, aggressive, non-breeding male. That means, first, that he isn't going to increase the black rhino population and help it recover. Second, until he dies, he will be consuming the natural resources that would otherwise go to the other rhinos in his herd who CAN increase the population. Third, he's aggressive, meaning he could potentially injure or kill one of those other breeding rhinos, including pregnant females and young.

So what is his value? First, patmcginnis56 and bmarvel have a passing, abstract affection for him as a blog topic which they're unwilling to back with dollars, one that will only last until their next life distraction comes up. Against that value we still have to weigh the potential random danger he presents to the rest of the herd.

Second, he and he alone could hypothetically be THE rhino which draws and sustains eco-tourism to his herd. In dollar values, though, the revenue attributable solely to him would have to outweigh the conservation dollars he earns for the herd being culled as a trophy, plus we still have to consider the pure net danger he presents to the herd as long as he remains, because he offers them nothing else.

Most of the negative comments are based on both an immature romanticism and, worse, sheer ignorance about just how dire the rhinos' situation is, just how little is being done overall to actively conserve them, and just how relentless the pressure is from Asian humans consuming their horns through their poacher-brokers to drive these animals to extinction.

So if any of you morons want to outbid the DSC and give the proceeds to Namibia to both spare the animal and repair, if possible, any potential damage he might do to his herd mates in his remaining cranky years, pony up your cash. Otherwise shut the fuck up.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Watching varied national news accounts of this Dallas debacle, I see that news organizations tell only half the story. I know the whole story only because of UP commenters. The negative comments are based on ignorance.

No wonder media polls so low, they sorta kinda more or less suck at delivering actual news.

bmarvel
bmarvel

Y'all be sure and come back next year when we'll be auctionin' off a license to stomp a Texas blind salamander.

dingo
dingo

"What kind of message does it send when we put a $1 million bounty on one of their heads?"

It sends a controversial message that results in pervasive publicity for rhino conservation efforts.

rusknative
rusknative

The Dallas County Commissioners Court members think that Black Rinos, Republicans in Name Only absolutely should not be killed, but should donate and campaign for them as Democrats  Heck, black conservatives ARE an endangered species, but Black Rinos are conservatives that have been insulted and abused until they just gave up and joined the liberal slave master's plantation.

patmcginnis56
patmcginnis56

My question would be....What type of person would pay 350 thousand dollars to kill this animal ? Think about it.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Ecotourism to increase the rhino population doesn't work.  Population management and money does.  Go with the one that works.

LucyP
LucyP

Bob, you are my hero. The Dallas Safari Club’s attempt to pass off a thrill kill under the guise of “conservation” is shameful. It’s greed, pure and simple. Keep up the good work, Bob!

ChrisYu
ChrisYu topcommenter

bob barkers head would look good over the fireplace, next to wink martindales

bmarvel
bmarvel

How much would an auction to hunt and shoot Bob Barker bring in? Or any senior citizen, for that matter?  

We're mostly past our reproductive prime. You'd be thinning the herd, give some promising 30-year-old a chance to host the TV show. We'd be relatively easy targets - none of that arduous travel in Range Rovers, quaffing Martinis in the shade while the guide scouts the prey for you. We rarely charge. Best of all, no long, boring flight in a cramped airline seat. You could probably set out about elevenish, be home in time for a pre-dinner cocktail while a taxidermist mounts your kill.  Bragging rights, included.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Since Eric is wanting to keep this story going, I am reposting this from the original article:


I have a serious question for the people who are against this.


Instead of beating up on the DSC and all of the people who are not against this, why not make your position known to the Namibian government.  After all, they are the ones who are allowing this hunt to occur.  The Namibian government are the ones who have the ability to decide whether or not this hunt occurs.


Has anyone contacted the Namibian Embassy or nearest consulate to find out what the Namibian government's position is on this matter?


Why not convince the Namibian government to not do this?  After all, let's assume that you do convince the DSC not to follow through with this auction.  Wouldn't the Namibian government just find someone else?


From a simple Google search:


http://phys.org/news/2014-01-namibia-defends-black-rhino.html

http://www.news.com.au/world/namibia-defends-black-rhino-hunt/story-fndir2ev-1226799448125

It turns out that the Namibian government is auctioning off 5 black rhino hunting permits.


According to these articles, the problem of poaching is very severe in South Africa.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

If animal rights activists had a lick of sense they'd quit bitching, start raising money and outbid the hunters.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

"... as the longtime hose of The Price is Right..."  Hose  of the Price is Right??  You do not get to spin the big wheel.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Huh. I thought Bob Barker was a dead.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@Voot

Hey, Voot -- Let's YOU look at the facts and see how they fit together rationally.

"bmarvel [has] made very emotional appeals against this black rhino culling,"

Just to make sure, I reread my comments. 

I did suggest that folks so eager to shoot something might consider Bob Barker. He's not reproducing, so far as I know, and is taking up precious resources that younger TV hosts would otherwise enjoy. I included other hypothetical oldsters in my suggestion. But it wasn't a very emotional one.

"bmarvel [has] a passing, abstract affection for [black rhinos]"

I deny any passing affection, abstract or otherwise, for any of the Rhinocerotidae. In my opinion they are not very lovable. They're near-sighted and bad-tempered and all wrinkly. Hard to even like (but unfortunately very easy to shoot.)

bmarvel does not give a hairy rhino's behind for any particular odd-toed ungulate. He does have an odd affection for the Texas blind salamander, a beast much closer to home that could use a little protection from the safari folks. Unfortunately, not much fun to shoot, and an unimpressive trophy over the fireplace. That's why I modestly proposed a salamander stomp for the club's next fund-raiser. 

I note your claim, Voot, that the aging, non-reproducing black rhino "will be consuming the natural resources that would otherwise go to the other rhino" 

Like...grass?? Namibia has a big grass shortage? Rhinos are pushing each other aside to get at the last few sprigs?? And none of those safari folks have a nice green lawn where he could graze, or a bag of clippings to donate? 


I note also that "he's aggressive." Well, no surprise there, what with poachers and safari folks gunning for him. (You are aware, of course, that the Dallas license is only one pf several being auctioned off by Namibia? It appears there's going tp be somewhat more culling than we ere told. )  

Why not admit, Voot, that some wealthy safarist wants to shoot a black rhino, or any rhino, because, by God, it's FUN. It's fun to shoot things.  I can understand that argument. I used to shoot tin cans wen I was a kid. I enjoyed that, and there were always plenty more tin cans where those came from. They reproduce eagerly.

Not so with black rhinos. 

So why don't we be honest here? The government of Namibia may want to save the rhino because it brings in tourist (and license) bucks. But nobody's bidding on a black rhino killing license out of a pious desire to save the animal from poachers or grass-starvation or anything else. Nobody.   

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Voot It's done. They got $350K for the permit, which was on the lower end.


One of your premises is that this herd needs human intervention to ensure its survival. I would point out that it was human intervention in the first place that got us to such lower numbers. Nature tends to take care of its affairs without our intervention. Left alone, this bull might injure or kill a male or two, but who's to say those males wouldn't be weaker males whose deaths would remove inferior genetics from the pool, thereby ultimately strengthening the genetic stock?


My point is that, left alone and protected from poaching, these animals will either rebound or they won't. Let nature decide. We have a bad record when it comes to "helping" nature go about its business. Additionally, eco-tourism dollars, funneled into conservation would likely go much further than these few annual permits. There's much more coming in from tourists who just want to see the wildlife, rather than from those who would kill it for kicks.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@dingo Unintended consequences. I doubt the DSC wanted this type of publicity.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@patmcginnis56 The same people that can afford to drop $250k on a space trip and wont be flying AA when they get to hunt the animal that kills the younger black rhino's. It would be that person.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

A wealthy person?

bmarvel
bmarvel

@everlastingphelps"Ecotourism to increase the rhino population doesn't work."

And how do we know this, phelps?

Population control is usually for the purpose of thinning herds that have out-reproduced the carrying capacity of their habitat. That's not what's happened to the black rhino.

Money does work. It's earned through ecotourism.


rusknative
rusknative

@ChrisYuGeorge Zimmerman wanted to take home a trophy too, but the coroner wouldn't allow it.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  "Why not convince the Namibian government to not do this?  After all, let's assume that you do convince the DSC not to follow through with this auction.  Wouldn't the Namibian government just find someone else?"

Auction's done, btw. They got $350K. Interesting red herring attempt. The local group is a bit easier to communicate with and influence. After all, they live here, we live here. What's more likely -- a local hunting group shies away from auctioning off permits to hunt endangered animals because of public outcry in their own country or a sovereign African nation changes its wildlife conservation policies because Americans are unhappy about it?

rusknative
rusknative

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaulI keep getting emails from citizens there offering to make me the recipient of 14 million dollars for just helping them collect it from a bank in africa if only i will put up a little earnest money...

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

The Chinese overlords will eventually solve the poaching problem.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Lakewooder Right, because it's always better to work within the system. Don't let's try and change it for the better.

Voot
Voot

@CogitoErgoSum@Voot  

There are 2 problems with your comment. First is that you're arguing against the background of an imaginary human-free Edenic Nature which doesn't exist there. The reason wardens in rhino preserves are armed with assault rifles is to protect themselves and their charges from the ARMED HELICOPTER-armed poachers - not only those but also the indigenous populations who, the benefits of modernity having not only reduced the ravages of nature on their populations but increased them, now need a little extra poaching spending money to feed their traditionally large families. Maybe we could roll back the modern farming, sanitation, water treatment, and medical development there to put things back on a more equal natural basis, though.


The second, of course, is your transparently false choice between eco-tourism and responsible herd management. Without a Dr. Evil to manage our own species, how do you otherwise imagine it's done?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@Voot Sure, I've already said above that poaching is a problem that must be addressed. Namibia has gotten very skilled at doing just that. The question is do they need to sell hunting permits to fund this protection? Wildlife protection funding inputs come from many sources, with these permits being only one. It's difficult to determine just how large a percentage they are in this case, but with $7.2 billion and rising coming into Namibia each year in tourism dollars, it doesn't seem a stretch that the government could cover this shortfall.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@pauldodell They have the Namibian conservation folks on board here, so, while I appreciate your skepticism, it seems unfounded here. If they held back these funds after pledging to give 100% to the Namibian government's conservation efforts, it could seriously come back to haunt them.

pauldodell
pauldodell

@CogitoErgoSum @dingo Not even close. They did it because they saw an opportunity for someone to bag an endangered species and mount it on their wall.


Are you so fucking naive that 350K is going for rhino conservation? It'll be a miracle if a third of it makes it.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@dingo @CogitoErgoSum Not sure you get my point. The DSC didn't do this to drum up nationwide negative publicity about their role in this big game hunting auction, thus resulting in increased support for non-hunting conservation efforts. They did it - one might reasonably surmise - to drum up positive publicity for their role in conservation efforts for this animal. Just because it backfired and this became a much larger story, with much negative publicity, does not mean it was a good idea to begin with. A rhino will still die so that a hunter can get his rocks off, if the DSC has its way.

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