Hunter who has killed at least 5,000 African elephants and hippos says he has no regrets
A hunter who has killed as many as 5,000 African elephants and hippos has revealed why he has no regrets about killing the animals.
Ron Thomson, a hunter in the continent of Africa, was named in a new report from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting organisation, where they also revealed that the amount of ivory taken from animals has increased 12 times over the past 30 years.
Here Ron Thomson discusses the African elephant on camera:
"The trophy hunting industry is slaughtering elephants left, right and centre," said Eduardo Gonçalves, founder of Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, describing the deaths of elephants as "unacceptable".
"Killing elephants for 'fun' is unacceptable, even more so because of the serious threat to its survival. Trophy hunting is a cruel and abhorrent hangover from colonial times.
"The recent surge in elephant hunting shows the industry is out of control. It threatens to push endangered species to the point of no return."
Thomson, a father of two who spent most of his life as a game ranger in national parks located around Africa, is now 80 years old. On his website, Thomson is said to have killed as many as 800 buffalo, 60 lions and 40 leopards.
"[Thomson] is credited with having hunted more than 5000 elephants; 800 buffalo, 50/60 lions (including six man-eaters), 30/40 leopards, about 50 hippos - and many more. All these animals were killed using conventional hunting methods. They were also hunted during the last 25 years of the colonial era – when Africa was truly wild and the animals could escape to the horizon and beyond."
Speaking to the Independent, Thomson said he had no regrets over his large animal body count, arguing that he simply did his job, and that the important aspects of what he does were being overlooked by "so-called experts from the West".
"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."
But Thomson denied that he was killing the animals out of a form of bloodlust - instead, he argued to the Independent that without his hunting efforts, these populations would spiral wildly out of control. Thomson even argued that contrary to popular belief, the African elephant is not in danger of going extinct.
"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 African elephant populations were in the tens of millions as recently as 1930, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) say that the population has plummeted, thanks to "decades of poaching and conflict".
"While elephant poaching is trending downward, with significant declines in East Africa, poaching continues to steer the species dangerously nearer to extinction," explain the WWF.