Written by Dallas Safari Club
More than 500 items were auctioned at Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention and expo—- each generating vital funding for conservation — but the news media focused on one item that wasn’t sold.
As the annual fundraiser opened on Jan. 15, the Associated Press and NBC News reported that DSC would be auctioning an elephant hunt. On Jan. 17, reporters covered the 14 anti-hunting protestors who showed up outside the DSC event. The media then reported DSC had cancelled plans to auction the hunt, and seemed to credit the protestors for influencing DSC’s decision.
Ben Carter, DSC executive director, smiled at that notion.
“Demonstrations and criticism had zero to do with cancelling the elephant hunt,” he said. “That hunt, which was to take place in Cameroon, was withdrawn because the donor worried it would not sell for a sufficient amount. His concern was based on results from the previous night’s auction, where a Cameroon lion hunt sold for less than 30 percent of its value. Cameroon is a difficult place right now, with fears over fighting and Ebola.”
Basically, explained Carter, the cancellation was a business decision made by the donor.
Carter reiterated to concerned reporters that elephants are not listed as endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are in fact overpopulated in certain areas of Africa, and are commonly hunted where legal, sustainable and where populations need to be managed.
In another statement sent to media, Carter added, “We appreciate that some groups are opposed to hunting. However, we argue strongly that philosophical sentiment and goodwill are not sufficient to deal with conservation issues today. Threats to wildlife will not disappear should legal hunting be prohibited. But what certainly would disappear is an effective means of raising critical funds for conservation science and law enforcement, as well as an instrument for legally removing animals as recommended by biologists, or for human safety reasons.”
Most news reports did not include Carter’s explanations or clarifications.