The reports continue to come across the wire about August, 2010 hunt by Eric and Donald Trump, Jr.  This story by GILLIAN GOTORA Associated Press Reporter that ran on The Huffington Post is just one example of the kind of poor journalism that exists in todays society and should be a wake up call to the hunting community that we must stand up and speak out.

The article appears on The Huffington Post:

Trump’s Sons Hunting Trip Probed By Zimbabwe Officials

I could not help myself and had to respond to the article that has so many holes in this story…Here is my response:

It is shocking to me the comments on this story and frustrating all at the same time.  It shocks me that the AP wire runs stories like this without seriously looking at the sources for the information.

From the Associated Press Website:  AP NEWS VALUES & PRINCIPLES: For more than a century and a half, journalists at The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing truth to the world. They have gone to great lengths, overcome great obstacles and, too often, made great and horrific sacrifices to ensure that the news has been reported quickly, accurately and honestly.

The Independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force is the group that has chosen to step up and investigate the hunting done by Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr in Zimbabwe.  Reports are that they killed an elephant, an endangered leopard, a buffalo, a crocodile and other “big game” animals.  Johnny Rodrigues is the spokesperson who talked to the AP reporter.

Here are the facts.

•  The Independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has no authority to investigate anything and is in no way associated with the government of Zimbabwe.

•  The Website for ZCTF is: leaves little to help them look in any way reputable or recognized by the national conservation community.

•  Leopards are in no way endangered based on the internationally recognized ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.

•  This is a direct quote from Johnny Rodrigues Chairman of ZCTF, “Yes, we are independent of the government and those in power look upon us as an enemy.  They feel that our aim it to cause trouble and destroy the tourism industry.” Pulled directly from this interview where you can read that clearly Mr. Rodrigues has serious issues in regards to the government of Zimbabwe as well as the National Parks of Zimbabwe.

•  Meryl Harrison is an Internationally recognized Animal Rights Activists and has done some substantial amount of great work for harmed and abandoned farm animals in Zimbabwe.  Seeing pictures of any animals not alive are going to obviously disgust her or anyone involved in the Animal Right Movement.

•  Donald Trump has not in anyway said that he was anti-hunting, his statement was that he was not personally a hunter and was surprised his boys liked hunting.

•  Eric and Donald, Jr. were introduced to hunting, conservation and the outdoors by their grandfather.

• The entire hunt was done strictly according to the laws of the Department of Nature Conservation in Zimbabwe and, as is custom in these Government controlled areas, a staff member of the department escorted the hunt at all times.  Pulled from Hunting Legends Website which organized the trip for the Trumps.

Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric pursued their passion for hunting in a legal and ethical manner and the hunting was observed by a staff member from the Zimbabwe Conservation Department, that authorizes Professional Hunters to take clients hunting for a select number of animals per year of each species authorized in order to raise money for the government conservation programs.  Without the dollars from worldwide hunters, governments like that in Zimbabwe would not have the funding to combat illegal poaching for the species they manage.  Poaching threats in Zimbabwe are very real and come from both internal threats as well as from worldwide poaching rings.  Without legal hunting poachers are allowed to run rampant.

On a separate note, I do not know of a single Professional Hunter or safari operation in all of Africa that does not do everything in it’s power to use or donate the meat to local villagers.  Meat from Africa cannot be imported into the United States or most other countries for fear of bringing in foreign disease into the country.  In most African countries meat is always at a premium to the local villages and in most cases local villagers cannot hunt and meat comes from some small livestock operations and bush meat poachers.  When hunting operations donate meat it helps to curve local poaching.  Meat in these small villages is turned into Biltong(dried meat) which can be stored without refrigeration and distributed among large groups of people.  When I traveled to Africa and was privileged enough to witness and photograph a hunt. I was amazed that every single piece of every animal was carried out of the bush including lungs, stomach, heart and 100% of the meat was used.  We in the hunting party got to eat some of the meat and the rest of the meat was given to local villagers and workers from the hunting operation.