African Safaris International, a powerful hunting lobby, will auction 280 South African animals to fund its Washington lobby efforts to change laws that protect endangered animals. Nimrods who have more money than compassion for animals whose lives are increasingly difficult because of man will be sold the chance to kill giraffe, hippo, zebra, baboon, wildebeest, sable antelope, impala, kudu, springbok, caracal, biesbok, and 119 other species for "upgrades" costing more. The auction is expected to raise about one million dollars.
The group undoubtedly will have great political influence in return for its blood money since the Interior Department is now led by conservative appointees unsympathetic to conservation values. One hundred and forty-seven pro-hunting politicians have been elected to Congress. The Tucson group recently filed a lawsuit against the Fish &Wildlife Service defending the practice of aerial hunting of predators in Alaska's natural wildlife refuges. The President's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric are both trophy hunters. This group has significant influence on African governments too. In 2010 Nambia was influenced by Safari International to reverse its ban on cheetah and leopard hunting. It was also successful in altering the same policy in neighboring Zambia. The press and public was banned from Safari International's meetings with South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs.
Hunting for trophies is often bizarre in its cruelty to wild animals. For example, South African safari companies offer to hunt trophies with dogs similar to a fox hunt in which the animal is chased to exhaustion, trapped, and then shot at close range Nothing like an unfair fight, but then these populist profiteers have already told us they are not interest in fairness, just winning. It is as one European leader put it, "a return to the dark days of the 1930's."