Two days, three lions, three gin traps


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Hi Carl

Got to admit to being pretty upset when I saw those photos. It was a complete shock as I was just casually browsing.

Good work that you are doing there.

I showed the photos to the family and it sparked an interesting debate over dinner this evening. Me, mum and the two boys, 14 and 12. We recognised that using traps such as this to catch wild dogs in Australia is something that we have historically supported. For example, @johngryphon in Victoria. It made us ask the question as to why we are happy to do this to one predator species, but not to another.

I shot a very large feral cat last week, which on our local New Zealand forum is a cause for celebration. Yet on this forum posting a photo of my feline trophy is banned, so I don’t do it out of respect for the rules. If anyone here in NZ put out a gin trap to catch a dog, or shot a dog that was just mooching around in a paddock, not causing any problems (the feral cat was stalking a rabbit), then there would be all hell to pay in the neighbourhood. Dogs that are worrying sheep stand a good chance of getting shot though.

It was a thought-provoking discussion and one that caused us to question our sanity at times. Lions are extremely emotive and dare I say “precious” to us, from our experiences of them over many years in Africa. But this example goes to show how we adjust our shock and outrage according to the species and the circumstances hey. The level of suffering remains the same, one is considered horrific, the other is something I admit I would not stop if the wild dogs were on my property somewhere in Aus.

Of course if you were to ask the locals where you are now, then you would likely get a whole different level of responses to the same questions. We went through the whole lion trapping experience up near Palma, way up in the far north of Mozambique in 2000. Horrible, confronting, upsetting, educational, hard to fathom.

We are a complex and extremely diverse species ourselves, capable of some brutal acts to animals and to our fellow man, some are ok, some aren’t, depending.
Thought provoking

Judging the value of animals by their appeal or importance to us is a very common human trait and is of itself an utter conceit

I think there might be some differences between the two comparisons you have made

The poachers have no business being on the reserve - in your NZ case the dogs are on your land - does that make a difference ? I think so but it is a judgement call

In this case the motive is not stock protection but the use of a creature in some absurdly useless concoction - there are cases where these animals threaten the lives and livelihoods of locals and they have always been dealt with as part of a hearts and minds initiative - that is not the situation here

No matter the justification are the use of traps acceptable given the level of injury distress and pain they cause?

I asked this of a group I was teaching primitive weapons and traps to yesterday - like you it generated a lively debate - (most declined the offer to see Carl's pictures though (interesting !))


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In Northern Moz @bowji john, the Chinese were in the region illegally logging hardwoods and poaching animals, like lion, that had some ridiculous “value” to them. We spent some time with a Jesuit priest (German) and his African family in Mocimboa do Praia - they got us over the over into Tanzania, a whole other story in itself - and we learnt a lot about the wholesale theft of resources and wildlife by the Chinese. And how the Moz authorities turned a blind eye. My loathing of the Oriental ways in Africa knows no bounds. Makes me angry every time.


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As others have said, shocking, sickening and desperately sad. Well done Carl and really hope you manage to apprehend and deal with the perpertrators of these absolutely horrific crimes.


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