Capp's Taxidermy Studio

African,north,south American wildlife taxidermy art and sculptures

Hey there! Thanks for dropping by Theme Preview! Take a look around
and grab the RSS feed to stay updated. See you around!

Choosing the right taxidermist

You have waited a lifetime to finally draw that tag of a lifetime and now it must go to a taxidermist to preserve it forever but where do I go, the guy on the corner that does taxidermy of the side-they say he is pretty good and cheap or do I look in the phone book, haha I couldn’t help myself on that one , or do I look on line and go from there

1st off lets go over some opinions

One should never bring the said trophy to anyone that does it part time and have a day job to pay the bills. If he isn’t committed to becoming a full time taxidermist and they are not the ones to trust with a special trophy. I don’t care if he is your neighbor or your friend or even family , there is a line to cross from its ok work to holy sh*t that good work. Always bring it to a professional studio, walk into the studio or go online to a studio and really look around in the showroom and the work area so you can see if its a clean and professional environment or is it a pig sty . If online, call them and have them facetime you so you can see it 1st hand, very simple to do.

2nd is NEVER make your decision on price. You cannot believe how many calls I get concerning the price of a animal or if I bring in more than one do I get a deal on price-my answer is hell no, that right there tells me you are very conservative and will be very demanding no matter what I do . Some people are closed minded and only think of the bottom line, some are worried on what their significant other is going to say when they finds out what you paid for that dead thing on the wall and if that is a concern than you have a whole hell of a lot of things wrong and this isn’t one of them.  Price should always be looked at last. What you are buying is the talent of the artist-taxidermist. Your not buying a car or appliance . Not all taxidermist are created equally. For the smart guy that always wants a deal, remember that you get what you pay for. If I give a deal and that a huge if I’m always going to skimp on something and the guy that is paying full rate , I’m going all out for them.

3rd is time frame. If the taxidermist is any good than he is in demand and is backlogged, simple as that,  we can only do so much unless we want it to look like the work the guy does in his garage. Any good studio does the work in 8 to 12 months turn around time, if you had the only piece in the studio being worked on than yes ,you would get it sooner but that is not the way it is. Please do not be the one that is constantly calling/texting and saying ”is it done yet”, I cannot tell you how annoying that is and if you do it enough I will put off doing your piece longer just to spite you so please don’t be that person, I only want to remember the piece of art I do for you, not the ass****of a person you were.


Next you have to do your homework and see how long he is in business as a full time guy, what type of mounts do they do, do they mount their work there or do they sub-contract out the work.  Ask for references for the type you want done, do they ship. do they home tan”-you are going to do what with my cape”- or do they ship to a professional tannery and which one do they use–I only use the best in the country , not just the one in the state, you are only limited to what you have been told to do-never go status quo !!!!

With the internet now you do not have to use the guy in the same town, you can send it to a great taxidermist in another state. If  the animal needs to be skinned-one should of done this on the mountain but if not then skin it, it not brain surgery , if you cut a hole than you cut a hole and it can be repaired. Go on line or get a app and they will tell you what to do. Then freeze it-don’t salt it cuz salt doesn’t freeze. Put it in a box and ship next to 2nd day air it them.

Here at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC is received about 75% of my work from outside the state , mainly off my web sites, why you may ask and it pretty simple answer and that is I’m dam good, very professional and an always working for the client from major freight discounts to emailing or texting them updated pic’s of the work-before I start to the final piece, working with you on all the international orders that you have problems with and yes there are always hiccups  and for a good rate that compares to other full time professionals.  A  USDA approved establishment , 38 yrs experience and I have mounted many times over the game animals of the world.

Great taxidermy is best viewed at 6 to 8 ft away. If want to shove a flashlight up his nose or in his ear or anywhere else than do it but no one cares about that, we really dont. Its all about the overall appearance , the hair, muscle detail, attitude , etc

So open your mind and explore. Shop around by looking at the work and not the dam prices. Talk to them and that  right there is where you can tell if they are phony or true.

If you want to use one of the  great  taxidermy studio’s than contact Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC and see what we can do for you.



Degreasing the African skins

There it is, a trophy Serval cat, you take aim with a solid bullet- so you do not blow a huge hole in it and boom, it’s down. Hands are shaken, high fives, etc.    Back to the truck with the quarry and head back to camp . Once in camp the skinner is in charge of the day’s harvest. He starts to skin your trophy out and after a 1/2 hour he is done with his chore and the skin is now headed to the salt—flash to the future when the taxidermist is informing you that the tannery called him today to inform you that the Serval cat in your order has been rejected cuz of the grease was not taken out of the hide BEFORE salting . The hide with a grease problem usually falls apart like a wet tissue-totally unrepairable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have had to tell some clients that their small African cats and some non-game trophies were lost to not treating the skin properly in the field and or back at camp.

Here at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC we tell the clients how to treat certain types of animals before they leave for the hunt but once they have taken the animal they listen to the PH when they say-oh the skinners know how to take care of the trophy-Bullshit, They know nothing but to salt it, they are not tanners or taxidermist, they are skinners and trackers and they don’t care either so take charge cuz once its rejected, you paid that trophy fee for just a photo, nothing else

So if you want to be looking at your trophy, listen to Capp’s Taxidermy Studio and not to anyone else.

All small and large African cats, porcupines, hares, and some other game ( some  north American bears also should be prepped with cornmeal too) must be skinned and then rub good old cornmeal on the hide and rub it again and again  and then leave it in the pile of cornmeal for a hour and then replace the cornmeal and do it all over again and only then rub and salt into the skin.

Without the cornmeal the hide has a survival rate of 20%, and that sucks when you think of the time and money you are betting on

The best advice ever, listen to the one that knows what the hell they are talking about, the ones that day in and day out handle, Capp’s Taxidermy Studio llc and not the ones that think they know everything but have never touch on in the real world.

It’s your money, your trophy, your memoirs so take charge and demand that the trophies be prepared the right way and not the normal way, you will not be sorry.



Before and After the trip

The best thing to do is after you have checked out your adventure and put the money down is to contact Capp’s Taxidermy Studio llc to discuss the trip, especially if its to Africa.

Capp’s will prepare a international hunting packet for you and if any others that are going to join you. The packet includes shipping tags for the trophies you are going to take that will have all info to get your trophies into the country , POA papers for the custom brokers, travel tips, hunting/gun tips and info on dip and pack businesses versus the taxidermist for pack and dip.

Contact your hunting outfitter and find out where the PH is using for a dip and pack and ask for their email, contact them and ask for a rate list for dip and pack and also references for the pack and dip. Contact the references to ask how long and the cost for the dip and pack . Compare their rates with the pack and dip businesses I have provided and now it’s your time to decide on who to use.

If you use the one a recommend , contact them and see if and when they can pickup your trophies. South Africa is very large and the pack and dip businesses only can service some much of the country.

Always have the trophies picked up at the camp, never have the trophies brought to the taxidermy shop for pickup for the main reason the PH will get a commission from the taxidermy shop (look at the previos article on this blog) and then will charge you a fee for storage and once added up with all the pack and dip charges, you will not save any money .

Once you have returned home from the trip, contact Capp’s Taxidermy Studio llc to discuss the trophy list, travel, etc.

Then fill out the POA papers and send them off to the custom brokers

Place Capp’s in your emails to brokers and to Africa so if there is any questions or problems, Capp’s will be able to help you

Once you have wired your money to the dip and pack business, it will take 4 months to have your trophies ready to be handed over to the shippers and once angain you will receive a notice that you can pay them by wired money or on some, you can ship them over by COD on your credit card on file at the brokers

Once cleared, the crates will be shipped to Capp’s Taxidermy Studio llc and will be cleared at the studio because Capp’s is a USDA approved establishment.

You will then be invoiced for a down payment of 35% to 50% of total taxidermy rates. Once received the skins will be sent to a tannery that specially is international game animals.

After the items are received back from the tannery, you will be contacted for instruction on how you would like your trophies done. The forms will be altered and the horns-if any-will be placed on them, photo’s will be taken and sent to you for your approval . Nothing will be mounted  without the clients approval. Photo’s will be taken during the process to keep the client informed.

Once completed and paid for the trophies will be placed into wooden crates and shipped to the client with Capp’s MAJOR discounted freight discounts.

Capp’s is  a very professional studio. I’m involved in every part of the safari from start to finish so my clients don’t have to worry about certain items.

Use my studio once, you will be a client forever…



Where Are My Trophies

At Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC I hear that statement a lot when it comes to clients that are waiting for international hunting trophies to be shipped into the USA. There are a few reasons why your trophies are taking 6 to 16 months to be shipped into the country. 1) Your trophies went to a taxidermist that your PH uses for the reasons that they receive commission from them and being a taxidermist, they hold on to them for a while until they have to pay the commission  and while they are there, they will hope that the client will just say “go ahead and mount them since they are already there”. Your safari represents a major revenue source for them but only if they do the taxidermy work instead of just pac and dip process. When they are not doing the work, there is little income so they are not in any hurry to process and ship your trophies . When you drop them of personally , they always say that they will be out within 60 days but after your home for 6 months, you contact them and  when asked about the trophies, they blame it on the permits, CITIES,or TOPS  have not yet been completed, but in fact, they have not yet applied for them. They  are only going to apply for the permits when you wire them the money for the pack and dip.   Major conflict of interest.!!!!!!  2)Your PH , on some operators, are not paying the trophy fees to the government on time so they are using your trophy fees to stay above water, wanting for the next clients trophy fees to pay for yours and so on. But when asked about the subject, they are quick to say that’s its the governments fault. 3) And then once here in the USA, it’s the new employees at the USFG that with the smallest errors with the paperwork from the country of origin, your trophy will be confiscated or sent back and then have to be re-imported. 4) Or when the taxidermist says he only uses a certain shipper and only ships to one port is again a crock . The reason for this extortion is that the taxidermist only uses this shipper is that the shipper is paying the taxidermist a commission and he is using that to say afloat. reputable shippers will ship to any port that the client wants their trophies to go to and most will work with the client and ship the crates C.O.D. to the broker clearing the trophies that the client hired-( then there are some that they only ship to a certain custom broker too, the extortion just goes on and on) And the list goes on but here are some solutions. Book only with reputable outfitters, check at least 2 years worth of references and if there are any red flags, address them before putting down your deposit. Use only independent export co that all they do is pack and dip and most of them will guarantee  that the trophies will be shipped out within 90 days max. They do pickup from your PH so he doesn’t have to deliver them.  It’s your money, for the taxidermist and the pack and dip firms are in the same ballpark for rates. Where the pac and dip firms want to export the trophies and get paid, not the taxidermy firm that just wants to mount them. Make sure when you receive the email stating the contains of the safari that EVERYTHING that you want shipped is on that list. If not respond right away and tell them about it and tell them to find your trophy cuz if it’s not on the list, it will not be shipped and it’s gone Have the exporter scan the paperwork over to the custom brokers before the crate is shipped so they can proof read it and if any clerical errors, they will be corrected and that means no problem with customs plus you will have copies if the main ones are lost on the trip to the brokers and to your USDA agent like Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC. Most of this must be discussed with the outfitter during the booking and before the money leaves your hand cuz once you board the plane back to the USA it becomes a lot harder to handle, but if they are reputable outfitters, there is a few things that can be done if push comes to shove, but that’s for another article. Any questions, feel free to contact Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC for we are a USDA approved establishment and we clear lots of international orders every year and we can answer most questions. Remember it’s your money, your choice, and life is way too short to worry about this.  


Darted White Rhino  created by Wildlife Taxidermist Artist At  Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC

Pedestal Mount




Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC would  like to post what you are going to pay for a guided hunt here in America or any international hunt.

First you have the cost of the hunt, the travel , the hotels or B&B , Tags , etc that you would be aware of

Tips. The going rate for tipping your North America guide is 150.00 per critter and 150.00 to camp help-cook,etc.. For international hunt the going rate is as follows. PH is 500.00 to 1000.00 depending on the type of game hunted and if they worked hard for you. Camp help-cook, cabin help is usually 300.00 max. Skinner/tracker is usually 150.00 to 200.00- if you are going to be cheap, here is not the place IF you want your trophies back in good condition. I will usually tip the skinner the amount above plus I will go buy a skinning knife/sharpen steel here at home and then give them to the skinner along with the cash. The type of knives they work with are dull and large and are worthless in the skinning shack. Plus I always bring small bite size candy like suckers for the help to enjoy cuz they don’t have any and they love them.

Next is to have 50.00 or more in cash , in  5.00 bills to tip the drivers, the police handling your guns, airline personal, to anyone helping you out

So when you harvest a trophy, its skinned and salted or skull cleaned up so if your in Africa they will then go to the taxidermist to be dipped and packed- always bring your trophy back to the USA and support our ecomey .  They will send you a pack list first, read it over and make sure everything you have shot is on the list. example is horns, cape or full skin, skull or skull, full skin. If there is anything missing you must contact them now and point out the problem before you paid their wage. If everything is good to go , they would of sent the banking info to you and you now must go to your bank and wire them the amount due for the pack and dip.  Make sure you read over the bank wire before your bank sends off your money, most of them have never done this before and are clueless too.  Most taxidermist charge from 90.00 to 150.00 per critter plus the permit fees for shipping.

Next after you have paid off the taxidermist over there, they will then hand off your shipment to a freight co in about 3 to 6 months , who will then apply for your export permit and find room on a airline to ship the crate. Most shippers will ship your crate C.O.D. to your customs brokers like Coppersmith but you must make arrangements before hand to do this. Freight  is 800.00 to 2000.00 depending on the weight and size of the crate–elephant is a lot more to sip than a zebra.

If any CITES permits are needed for the game hunted-leopard, elephant, etc. then you must apply for one at the USFG for the sum of 100.00 and are only good for one year

Custom brokers like Coppersmith, is who my studio uses, will charge you a flat rate of 300.00 to clear your shipment. Then they will ship the crate by freight to Capps Taxidermy Studio which will cost somewhere between 70.00 to 400.00 depending on weight.

If any swine or primates or shipments from south Africa or Asia, they must be cleared by USDA and Capp’s Taxidermy Studio is an approved stop for that and the flat file fee is 45.00 min to 300.00, depending on what has to be done to the shipment to make it safe.

Then the final cost is to the US taxidermist for the mounting and shipping the trophies  back to you and you should be aware of all those cost before hand


Jewel of Africa

The Bongo is the jewel of Africa’s antelope

Hunted in the rain forest of Cameroom and Congo

Shots are usually taken with 20 yds and when harvested , the trackers have to clear a spot just to take a photo.



Tiny 10

The Tiny 10 of Africa are small size antelope

Most hunters that harvest one of the tiny 10 are always hunting another game animal and most of the time, they harvest the Grey Duiker first.

Other hunters that have been on safari quite a few times plus hunting other places in the world are starting to run out of wall and floor space so they still want to hunt and have adventures that they start to hunt the tiny 10 of Africa

90% of the hunters that harvest some of the tiny 10 will life size the animal just because they do not take up much room.  The smallest one, Bate’s Pgymy Antelope is the size of a medium size cottontail rabbit  to the duikers that would be the same size as a poodle dog

5% with do wall mounts and the last 5% will do shoulder mounts but as pedestals that are stacked, which means that they are all on one base and with room to add more as you go through life.

The hunter that has one on their wish list must  remember is to shoot only solids at them. Any other bullet will create major  damage the skin , and some are only hunted with a shotgun and one must remember never to aim directly at them, aim a little high and hit them with only some of the pellets to keep damage to a minimum.

Taxidermists are not magician, we can only do so much for when the skin arrives at the studio and it’s has a major hole in it, it will have a scar or if there are no ears, feet then that’s how they will be mounted

At Capp’s Taxidermy Studio, we will try to replace or repair any damage and  I can  improvise but that only after 37 yrs of experiencing a lot of damage to all type of skins. Trust only the ones with a lot of experience with your hard earned trophies

Go live life, it has a expiration date.






Judging a bear

It’s almost time to start hunting fall bear , so it’s also time to learn how to judge a big old male bear.

The 1st thing to look for is the size of the head, if it’s a block head and the ears are just in sight and are on the side of the head, it’s a good bear.

The next is to look at the belly. Does it hang there like a beer belly on people. It should be just above the ground.

The next is does he have a wiggle when he walks. Big bears have a waddle.

The last thing to look for is the look of the face. Males and females have different looks on the face. Most old bears have scars, parts of their ears are missing, some have a limp.

When you finally find that bear, take your time and make sure it’s a male, and not a female- if it’s a girl, watch it for quite a while to make sure she has NO cubs. Sit back and glass it, one can  measure it in your mind by looking at the bear and starting at the head, go one foot,two foot until you hit the back and you will be pretty close

Most hunters see a bear and shoot, they don’t care what it is-a bear is a bear which is wrong

With all the heat hunters are getting from the anti crowd, it’s time to smarten up and only harvest old males that no longer breed, have a great size of a hide to display proudly and consume the meat.

Hunting is different for everyone but for myself, it has to be a male, older the better but it’s mainly about the time in the woods, the physical endurance, it’s not all about harvesting game-that’s nice too though.

When you harvest a mature game animal, you get more meat, a hide or rack of horns you can be proud of and great memories.

Go and have fun



The War We Fight As Hunters- A REPRINT

This is a reprint from the African Hunter Magazine.

Its a very good read with a great opinion , and stasts.!contact/czpl



The Convoluted Economics of Wildlife

By I J Larivers

While recently promoting the launch of our new African Hunter cloud magazine, one of the tour operators we contacted overseas had the following to say:


“I feel very strongly that you should not be promoting the hunting of any animals that are threatened with extinction… elephants, lions, leopards, cheetah and to see you glorify the hunting of these is sickening in this world where they are so threatened.  Why can’t you promote the protection of these and by photography rather than shooting and killing?


I have lived in Zimbabwe when I was younger but am so desperate at the rate rhino and elephant are being slaughtered all over the world and I know it is the fault of the Chinese and other Asian countries’ desire for the horns – but it seems that left to themselves elephant do manage their populations by breeding less.


What I disagree with is showing photos on websites and magazines with rich Americans glorying in the killing of these – small game, OK but not elephants and lions, as what message is it sending around the world?  It is similar to ISIS holding the heads of those poor victims of beheadings and we humans have a duty to protect wildlife, not glory in their deaths.”


This person has genuine concerns for the future of wildlife, and we appreciate folks like this who are prepared to sit down and write to us and engage in dialogue – it gives us a chance to get our side of the story across.


When I see terms like “threatened with extinction” associated with sport hunting it can mean only one thing – that the person’s perceptions are being shaped by animal rights activists. And the activists, of course are activists because that’s what puts food on their tables. And oftentimes a lot more than food. Many are registered charities, and therefore leave a traceable footprint on the web, and can be looked at through organisations like Charity Watch.


During the whole debate last year over the auction of an old black rhinoceros in Namibia, it just seemed that somewhere, someone’s priorities had become – shall we say – shifted? Firstly, as a biologist, I asked myself what the value of a black rhinoceros was and in what currency. That answer was simple – its value is inestimable in today’s world if it is a viable member of a gene pool, and no amount of geld can be used as a yardstick. But too old to breed? Well, that would come down to the dollars and cents value of the horns and ancillary hunt revenue, including employment and meat for rural Africans often living a subsistence existence. Rhino horn is currently valued at between $65,000 ands $100,000  per kilogram. Maybe a little higher, for the price is driven by international criminal and terror syndicates – because the sale of rhino horn is strictly banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the global treaty that governs trade in plants and animals – but more on that later. Unlike their Asian counterparts, African rhinos have a pair of horns. In the case of the larger and more numerous  white rhino, the horns’ average combined weight is usually close to 6kg. The average weight of both horns on the smaller black rhino is about half that – though over ninety percent of the poaching incidents involve white rhinos.


In the case of the Namibian black rhino auction, the controversial decision was good for conservation and good for black rhinos. Over the past twenty years, the Namibian rhino population has been on the increase. Now home to some 1,700 black rhino, Namibia’s management policies have seen the species thrive and poaching all but eliminated. While annual rhino poaching statistics for South Africa can break into four figures, Namibia lost two in 2013. Namibia encourages rural villagers to  live side by side with wildlife to manage and profit from it by opening up their conservation lands to wealthy sport hunters and tourists armed instead with cameras. Priority is given to the hunters, simply because the conservancies don’t need to make any investment to attract them. Photographic safari  lodges not only leave a larger carbon footprint than hunting infrastructures, but they are also costly to develop and maintain.


The theory behind the idea of the conservancy is that local tolerance for wildlife would increase and poaching would dwindle, because a sense of ownership was engendered in the villagers and poaching would equate to theft from the people. Conservancies now control almost twenty percent of the country, and wildlife populations have increased dramatically. Elephant and lion, two of the more topical species under scrutiny today, are increasing in numbers in Namibia while they are decreasing in countries such as Kenya which eschew sport hunting.


By agreement with CITES, Namibia can sell hunting rights for as many as five black rhino per annum, but more importantly when you look at how hunting revenue is often spent in Africa – the fleet of SUVs at the disposal of the Director-General of Zimbabwe’s National Parks is an example – in Namibia the entire trophy fee goes into a trust fund that supports rhino conservation efforts. It doesn’t get any better than that in Africa. The monies generated pay for anti-poaching operations and various research projects.


But in 2014, Namibia made a crucial error – they conducted one of their rhino auctions in the United States, not in Namibia, and that opened the doors of myriad loony bins. So, I decided to take a closer look at the International Fund for Animal Welfare which was the most vociferous opponent of the rhino auction. At the time, they raised some $25 million dollars each year, of which 62% was allocated to service delivery in the forty some-odd countries in which they operate. But it was the remaining 38% that intrigued me. The only stats I was really interested in were salaries. And while it’s true that some high-profile charities – like Heritage Foundation and the NRA – pay their top people seven figure salaries, some nearing three million dollar mark, they are also higher fliers when it comes to asset generation. The Executive Vice President and CEO of IFAW were listed at just under $300,000. That jumped out at me, because some years ago I did contract work in Iraq, in a war zone, and I was earning about two thirds of that for getting shot at, rocketed and mortared. These folks operate in a cocktail party zone.


OK, they didn’t want this rhino hunted because it was cute when it was a baby or somesuch cocktail party rationale but why deprive the Namibian government of $350,000 that had been earmarked for rhino conservation? If they cared a damn about this rhino – if they cared more about the rhinoceros than the publicity and money generated by the grandstanding – why didn’t they bid for the rhino? Why didn’t they put up the money that they were prepared to cost Namibia’s rhino conservation programme? One can only assume that they had a ‘better’ use for it.


The core problem with animal rights activists – apart from the fact that much of their motivation is making money – is that they are seen by most people, such as the correspondent at the beginning of this rant, as experts. Rarely are they. The international media was willing to believe last year that three hundred elephant had been poisoned in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park because Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said so. National Parks and other conservationists on the ground put forward a more realistic figure of half that or less. I’m not having a go at Johnny Rodrigues or the ZCTF, for they have done good things, but he is not a trained wildlife biologist, and that is what I would consider an expert. So, the average person will believe what they read in the media and the media will believe, it seems, anyone who issues a press release.



If we want to hear from a real expert, Ron Thomson – former Provincial Warden of Hwange – he tells us what is really wrong with elephant populations in much of Africa:


“In southern Africa, most elephant populations – due to the cessation of culling programs in recent years – have now expanded well beyond the carrying capacities of their habitats.  In Botswana, for example – a country that carried considerably less than 10 000 elephants in 1960 – officially recorded 207,000 in  2013.  The wildlife habitats in Botswana’s protected areas  – up to a distance of 25 kilometers from the dry season water supplies – have now been completely destroyed by too many elephants over too many years.  And the once-rich soils that carried those habitats have – because they have become progressively more exposed to the erosive forces of sun, wind and rain over the last 50 years – disappeared from the environment.  That means there is no chance at all, now, that the former diverse habitats that once carried Botswana’s rich wildlife biodiversity, can ever recover.”


To the uninitiated, the thrill of stalking an elephant – with camera or rifle – is the experience of a lifetime. To the activists, that same elephant earns them an annual salary. To Ron, the mismanagement of elephant populations by faux-experts may ultimately sound the death knell for  elephants and many other plant and animal species.


Ron continues:


“Most of these game reserves are – at this point in time – carrying more than ten times their habitat’s current elephant carry capacities. The overall top canopy tree population in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, for example, is now down by more that 95% when compared to 1960.  And why was this allowed to happen?  Because governments – in Africa and in the First World – have sheepishly succumbed to international (animal rights-inspired) pressure to stop elephant culling. The consequences of this incredibly stupid interference in a vitally important and common sense wildlife management practice, will be the total loss of habitats, followed by the total loss of the essential soils that once supported them!  The ultimate tragedy will be the destruction of  southern Africa’s once immensely rich biological diversity – because the game reserves in all these countries are degenerating rapidly.


And all this is happening because gullible governments – all over the world – are listing to the false propaganda of the animal rights communities in the First World.  Intelligent people are being taken in by their rhetoric not realising that, by doing so, they are contributing to the successful operation of the biggest confidence industry the world has ever known. All these NGOs want is money – to keep their organisations running, to indulge in the rich-man’s life-style, and to keep the senior executives in fat-cat employment


In December of 2013, a couple at Incline Village near Lake Tahoe in the US  reported a problem bear to Nevada wildlife officials that was later captured and killed as a threat to public safety. The couple’s  call to the Nevada Department of Wildlife sparked a campaign by members of the Bear League to “threaten, harass and intimidate” the couple. They were subjected to a series of threatening emails, text messages and Facebook messages, “including death threats.” Death threats? See loony bins above. We are often not dealing with sane people here, or ones who have any regard for anyone else’s right to their own opinions.



OK, so much for the beneficial input of legal, transparently regulated sport hunting into species conservation – now let’s take a look at the other economics of wildlife.


One figure that’s making the rounds at the moment is that in Africa, every fifteen minutes an elephant is killed. I don’t challenge this, but what I find disturbing is the number of people who cannot differentiate between hunting and poaching. These elephant are not being hunted, they’re being poached. The legendary US Fish & Wildlife Special Agent Dave Hall once said “Hell, if I gave up hunting I’d probably become one of those antis too, and try and close it all down. But you wouldn’t stop poaching”.



The illegal wildlife trade is worth an estimated twenty billion dollars a year. Newsworthy of late has been the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by the terror organisation Boko Haram. But what about the estimated 23,000 elephant killed for their ivory last year? Poaching is no longer merely a matter of concern for conservationists – it is now a national security issue, and not necessarily for the countries in which the illegal trafficking emanates. Boko Haram – like al-Shabbab, Janjaweed, and al-Qaeda in other parts of Africa – is largely funded by the proceeds from illegal ivory. And then there’s ISIS, the new kid on the block. In order to survive, it has to shove others away from the various troughs – or just plain increase the cash flow.


Impoverished African villagers are most often coerced into pulling the trigger, but international crime syndicates and terrorist groups are the puppet-masters. Squiggly lines on Google Earth maps represent the movement of GPS-collared elephants in many African countries; the animals’ perambulations are too slow to trace in realtime – unless an elephant’s trace suddenly surges forward and then stops dead. Literally dead, for in this case it has most likely been slaughtered by a poaching gang.


Various groups of activists would have us believe that sport hunting of African elephants is unsustainable. Sadly, as in the case of South African National Parks and the Kenya Wildlife Service to name but two of Africa’s more high-profile game departments, the activists have subtly put themselves in charge of policy by taking charge of the real purse strings, which come from donor funding. Sport hunting of elephants is not unsustainable – what is unsustainable is the four elephant per hour in Africa which fall to poachers’ rifles daily. Sport hunting channels much-needed revenue into the conservation coffers of developing countries, and provides an on-the-ground, frontline defence against poaching cartels. But considering poaching’s rapidly-increasing ties to international terrorism, let’s hope that CW sinks in a little faster with Western governments who are themselves more and more prone to fall prey to the anthropomorphic siren song of activists with hidden agendae.


The US Department of the Interior, which includes among its mandates the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act is moving ahead with a ban on the commercial trade in ivory, as “part of an overall effort to combat poaching”. No one is going to argue that elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the subsequent trafficking in ivory and horn aren’t a major threat to the survival of the species concerned and a source of illicit finance for corrupt governments and international terrorist organisations. But a number of questions emerge, including the legitimacy of the United States’ role as the world’s policeman and just how effective such draconian measures will actually be at reducing trafficking in ivory and rhino horn. In other words, what works and what doesn’t?


Richard Epstein, in Defining Ideas, the journal of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, discusses the shortcomings of such a ban and the inevitable attendant intrusion on basic human freedoms in a very well-thought out essay entitled “The Wrong Way to Combat Poaching”, and if you haven’t read it, then g


African governments – especially those without strong sport hunting traditions – have long struggled to control poaching. Perhaps because it’s not really a cultural priority, perhaps because finances are strained, or perhaps because some within the governments are themselves the principal traffickers. But these countries are no longer sleepy backwaters facing just local challenges. There’s this whole global village thing now, and when you start putting coins in al-Shabaab’s begging bowl or ISIS’s, willingly or not, a lot of Big Brothers are going to start paying you the kind of attention that you don’t want.


Perhaps the motivation for the outcry following the recent SEAL team raids is because African governments are starting to wake up to the fact that if they don’t control their poaching problem transparently, or are perhaps themselves involved in the cartels, and money is going to the wrong folks, they may wake up one fine morning only to find that SEAL Team Six has paid them a visit during the night