Apr 11, 2019 07:48 AM EDT
In a new report revealing the sharp decline of elephant populations, one name was brought to the forefront--Ron Thomson. Considering Thomson's astonishing confirmed kill count of roughly 5,000 elephants, 800 buffalo, 60 lions, 50 hippos and nearly 40 leopards, it's safe to say that Thomson is a very proficient hunter.
Thomson, 80, who has spent most of his life in African national parks as a game ranger, denies the killings were to feed a bloodlust, but instead claims it was for the better of the species. "If key species were not reduced, their growing numbers would destroy their own habitats," Thomson said. He has also laid claims to the fact that western-based conservationists have no true knowledge of wildlife and use "fraudulent lies" to paint a picture of despair amongst certain animal species in order to attain money from the compassionate public.
However, when we look at recent studies such as The Great Elephant Census, which was updated in 2016, they show us that only 352,271 African savanna elephants are accounted for in 18 countries, a statistic which has gone down 30 percent in seven years. In an investigation conducted by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting or CBTH, the elephant population has shrunk from about 1.3 million elephants in the 1980s to about 400,000 today.
Mr. Thomson denies ever being a trophy-hunter or that he killed animals for sport or fun, arguing his job was "major population reduction". "I've done enough in my lifetime to satisfy any 'bloodlust' people may think I have. It wasn't bloodlust-it was my job," he said. "I didn't have any sentiment. I'm totally unrepentant, a hundred-ten thousand-times over for any of the hunting I've done because that's not the problem. The problem is we've got a bunch of so-called experts from the West telling us what to do. I'm a trained university ecologist-I must surely know something about this.", Thomson continues. "I wish I could take you by the shoulders and shake you hard and say 'don't assume everything you've heard is correct'," he said. "The African elephant is nowhere near extinct. People who say this are animal-right-ist NGOs who ask for money and tell lies to get it. When you have a healthy population you must ensure they don't increase beyond the capacity of their habitat."
While the African elephant may not be close to extinction, as Thomson claims, the decline in the animal's population is still rather alarming. Not to mention the fact that when adult male elephants are forcefully removed from herds, younger male elephants tend to act out like children with no parental guidance. This could be damaging to the human-wildlife coexistence.
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