Editor’s note: this story previously identified the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force as an example of the beneficiaries of the proceeds of the sale of big game hunting permits. We apologize for this error.
Walter Palmer may be in the news now due to the death of Cecil the lion, but Kerry Krottinger is a big game trophy hunter who has conservationists upset, based upon a National Geographic photo of his trophy room. But does big game hunting actually help or hinder conservation efforts?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, after Walter Palmer’s address was put on the address, the dentist was forced to close his business and hide from protesters. Although many are upset about Cecil the lion’s death, some say it is disturbing that the world was less shocked by the Planned Parenthood video, which revealed the alleged trafficking of human body parts.
The controversial photo shown above features Kerry Krottinger and his wife, Libby, in their $3.2 million home in Dallas, Texas. Besides being a lion hunter, the trophy room features stuffed rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs, zebra, and hogs. The number of stuffed lions are enough to form a small pride, and there is practically a herd of gazelles hanging on the wall, but what some find upsetting is the elephant tusks prominently featured near the top of the photo.
The article by National Geographic featured the home of Kerry Krottinger among many others. The story was ironically entitled “Still Life,” and it discusses the role of conservation and taxidermy in modern times.
“A century ago, taxidermy played a key part in fostering wildlife conservation. Today its role is less clear,” National Geographic said. “Kerry contends that his spending on trophy hunts helps sway African nations to conserve animals. U.S. policy may also encourage conservation: When Zimbabwe didn’t provide adequate data on its elephant management, U.S. officials extended a ban on elephant trophies from the nation.”
The Krottinger’s own properties including Ndugu Ranch, which they named based upon their “love for Africa.”
“Kerry and Libby have a great love for Africa — it’s [sic] vast landscape, people and culture, and bring that love home in naming their ranch.”
On Facebook, the charity group, Lion Aid, has criticized Kerry Krottinger for the photo.
“How much love do Kerry and Libby have for Africa? It would appear that they cannot get enough of bringing African animal trophies home out of ‘love’. Here is a picture of their trophy room. This is just one Texas trophy hunter with a ‘love’ of Africa. Is it any wonder that Africa’s wildlife is disappearing? Just have a count of all the various species displayed. Three lions at least? So many elephant tusks? A giraffe and a rhino? Kerry must be one of the leading conservation hunters on the planet?”
The idea that killing animals actually can save a species is an argument which has long played out between conservationists and big game hunters. The basic concept is that older animals can sometimes cause problems by keeping younger males from reproducing. This problem is even worse if the older male is sterile. Based upon this premise, the older males are sometimes culled via big game hunting in order to help increase the population.
The second issue is the amount of money spent on big game hunting. Foreign governments like Zimbabwe, Namibia, and others will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in order to sell hunting permits. Big game hunters will pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for these hunting permits, and often times, 100 percent of the money goes to conservation trust funds.
Laury Parramore, an FWS spokesperson, said they are monitoring the fallout from Walter Palmer’s shooting of Cecil the lion, but at this time, no action is being taken.
“We’re taking a look at the information as it becomes available and will work with the Zimbabwean government if requested,” they said.
Jane Smart, global director of International Union for Conservation of Nature’s biodiversity conservation group, said big game trophy hunting can be used for conservation efforts, but they also are concerned about how the line is being blurred between conservation and hunting solely for the sake of the kill.
“Unregulated sport hunting and trophy hunting is a real factor in the decline of the lion, and we are concerned about that,” Smart said, according to the Guardian. “But we are also concerned about the relationship between people and lions. We need to provide that incentive to the local community so they can help conserve the area for their own benefit.”
Earlier in June, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the lion as part of a “red list,” which features species facing survival threats. While not quite endangered, the lion population has dropped, and the conservation group cites the growth of human cities within the habitats of lions as one problem. They also say there is a growing trade in lion body parts, in both Africa and Asia, for traditional medicine.
[Image via National Geographic]