Zimbabwean Ron Thomson has been named and shamed by the Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) team this week
The shocking claim has drawn widespread condemnation from conservationists and the world’s media. But Thomson – who told The Independent he has spent his life as a game ranger in African national parks – has refused to back down from his contentious boasting.
The Ron Thomson hitlist
According to his website, he has racked up a kill-list that would make a nuclear apocalypse blush. He’s targeted all of the “Big Five” animals which reside in South Africa but has mainly focused on the extermination of elephants. Ron Thomson says he has killed:
- 5 000 elephants
- 800 buffaloes
- 60 lions
- 50 hippos
- 40 leopards
Speaking to the publication earlier this week, Thomson expressed no remorse whatsoever for his actions. He trotted out the classic line that hunters are only there “to help manage population sizes”, but that’s really not going to fly when creatures like elephants are edging towards “endangered” status.
According to CBTH, the elephant population has plummeted from about 1.3 million in the 1980s to around 400,000 today – a staggering drop of nearly 70%. Does that bother Zimbabwe’s latest public enemy? Of course not…
“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.”
No, trophy hunting does not “help conservation”
Thomson also went on to say that he is frustrated by the narrative conservationists are using. He ignored CBTH’s figures, declaring that the African Elephant is “nowhere near extinct”. The hunter also wished he “could grab people by the shoulders and shake them” to enforce his viewpoint.
That feeling will be mutual with many people, Ron. His insistence that he’s doing the right is sure to fall on deaf ears, especially when industry professionals have outright dismissed the merits of trophy hunting.
“Pro-hunting groups claim that trophy hunting encourages wildlife conservation. However, an exhaustive review by a US Congressional Committee found that trophy hunting was directly responsible for population declines of big cats, particularly lions, and that trophy hunting and poaching is currently outpacing the reproductive rate of elephants.”
Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting
South Africa’s shameful trophy hunting stats
Sadly, South Africa can’t really claim the moral high ground over people like Ron Thomson. There’s plenty of blood on the hands of certain authorities in this country, who allow dubious hunting practices to happen unchallenged.
Canned hunting is thriving in Mzansi, with an estimated 200 establishments up and running within our borders. These resorts effectively keep wild animals in captivity, allowing hunters to make an easy killing. South Africa is also in the top three countries which export hunting trophies.