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  Page 12: Gajogo's Statement on the Story of Cecil the Lion

 

•Gajogo Safarilands finds the story of Cecil the Lion a very compelling "teachable moment" regarding the survivability of wild animals throughout the world.  Gajogo's expertise lies solely in Mozambique, Africa, but retains significant relevance regarding Cecil.

 

•Very few Americans truly "own/operate" safari companies in Africa.  Their side has not been heard.  This American operator's perspective regarding the plight of all African animals as a result of the alleged poaching of Cecil needs serious consideration in this debate.  Sport hunting and poaching are not the same; to assume so will significantly endanger all African animal populations.   

 

•First and foremost, safari operators are responsible to insure their operations are legal, ethical, honest, and virtuous in all aspects.   Anything less is not acceptable, and cannot be tolerated.  The vast, vast majority of operators live by this creed.  They put tremendous efforts into propagation, habitat, and wildlife protection to improve the quality and quantity of all animals within their areas.

 

•Mozambique and some other African nations that harbor the wonderful wild animal populations of Africa are extremely poor and therefore contract with companies like Gajogo Safarilands to manage and improve their wildlife populations.  These countries do not have the financial ability to provide the services for wildlife management/improvement that safari operators provide.  As an example, in Gajogo's area, the Chief of Police has no car or even a motorbike.  Gajogo drives an hour to pick him up if needed, and also has to drive he and prisoners to court...two hours one way.

 

•Gajogo's contractual responsibility includes: private Game Wardens to curb/arrest poachers (Coutada 9 has 44 full-time), population assessments to insure proper "quotas" are established, habitat improvement, re-introduction of species as needed to utilize carrying capacity to include re-introduction endangered species, environmental improvement, roads, dams, and so on.  It also provides care and improvement for native humanity within the area (builds schools, wells, clinics, etc).  This is very costly.

 

•Safari operational expenditures come solely from the owner/operator.  There are no "government programs," assistance or government agencies to do this as in the USA.

 

•"Sport Hunting" is the traditional legal financial engine that solely funds companies such as Gajogo Safarilands to continue to provide wildlife, environmental, and native humanitarian services.  Photo safaris alone cannot generate sufficient income, and indeed even sport hunting hardly covers the cost of operations.  If done properly, this is not a "get rich quick" scheme.  In the long run, the reward for safari operators is not wealth; it is quality of life and the improvement of all aspects within the geographical area for which the operator is responsible.

 

•If the financial engine of sport hunting were stopped, there would be no one to protect and propagate wildlife, bird life, flora, or timber species.  Today, virtually all of the animals outside of a 10 miles radius from Coutada 9 are gone:  they have all been poached.  The landscape is sterile of animals and saleable trees.   Approximately half of all of Gajogo's expenditures are related to anti-poaching activities to protect the wild animals, trees (logging), and the environment within Coutada 9.

 

•Properly managed Sport Hunting provides a sustainable opportunity to increase animals populations indefinitely as operators improve habitat, conduct anti-poaching activities, and seek only a very small percentage of old male animals that are beyond breeding age; their genetics having already been passed on.   It is government controlled and privately administered via a very strict "quota system" to insure animals populations are not damaged by sport hunting.  It has been successful in keeping animal populations healthy and thriving for decades...a proven track record.

 

•Poaching is the antithesis to proper sport hunting.   Poachers kill everything irrespective to species, size, geographical location, or availability.  No management for the betterment of wildlife species exists.  It has no government oversight.  Its record is one of carnage and destruction.  Even with continuous anti-poaching efforts in Coutada 9, poachers easily kill 10 times the number animals sport hunters do....and they do it year around, not confined to a hunting season.

 

•There are two types of major poaching:  Ivory poaching and African meat trade poaching.  Both types of poachers do this only for money; seldom do individuals poach to provide meat for their families.  Natives raise goats, pigs, cattle, chickens, turkeys, and plant crops for this purpose. 

 

•Africa is wrought with poaching.  It increases continuously.  There is little public outcry or concern as to this epidemic.  Black market ivory prices have doubled since 2005 from $500/pound to now $1000.  Pressures on elephants for their tusks has never been greater in Coutada 9.  World leaders turn a blind eye, not wishing to confront rogue nations that blatantly sponsor poaching.  If sport hunting in Coutada 9 ceases, all, yes all, of the animals in Coutada 9 will be poached until this very rich wildlife resources is also sterile.  This problem in not unique only to Coutada 9 or Mozambique.  If the people who protest so passionately to stop sport hunting, would put their efforts to eradicate poaching, thousands and thousands of animals could be saved.  We truly are on the same "side," and we need to work together. 

 

•When an animal is killed via sport hunting virtually every part of any animal is utilized.  It is generally transported whole for professional processing, and the meat is saved to give to the natives...often frozen if the quantities are no too large.  Generally the entrails are not removed prior to this process, unless the return trip is too long, then they are "gutted" in the bush.  But, even then, the natives clean out the entrails, and bring them back to eat.  Any bones, or meat not utilized after processing is transported to a place where both the hyenas and vultures are thankful for their opportunity to eat as well.  Professional operators never just "cut the head off" and let the rest go to waste.

 

•Natives generally do not eat lions.  This is because lions "eat people," and the natives refuse to eat their "own" by eating lions.  Natives truly do fear lions.  Sources vary, but African "man-eaters" still kill between 100-500 natives per year.  They are a very credible threat to the natives.

 

•Americans in general have not been educated that death sustains life.  In order for anything to live something else must die.  Our education system seems to have omitted this important fact and now Americans are hyper sensitive to death...at least animal death.  This causes extraordinary emotional outcry which overemphasizes the reality of an already terrible situation and hampers proper decision making.

 

•Respective to Cecil the Lion.  Poaching is poaching. If the lion was poached, then the poachers should be prosecuted just like any other poacher.  If it is discovered, after a proper investigation that the hunter was cognizant that the Cecil was not a legal trophy, then he too should be prosecuted.  If this operator and his client the Dentist were poaching, they were not sport hunting.  It is worth noting however, that generally clients have no means of knowing where they might be respective to borders or whether any one animal is legal or even of good trophy quality, appropriate age, and or even sometimes whether the animal is a male.  That responsibility falls squarely on the operators and professional hunters. 

 

•It is important to acknowledge the difference between poaching and sport hunting.  Sport hunting provides a means to improve wildlife populations for infinitum by being the financial engine that permits sustained wildlife management to happen.  It is legally sanctioned and controlled worldwide, and has International and National Government oversight.  Poaching blatantly kills for personal and unethical reasons robbing from the financial engine that supports wildlife populations.   It is Black-market sponsored by rogue nations.  The alleged poaching of Cecil may also precariously be the catalyst that stops all sport hunting, thereby placing a cataclysmic doom on the magnificent wildlife populations throughout Africa and the world. 

 

•If sport hunting is banned, only poachers will hunt.   This needs to be considered very carefully before sacrificing the proven long-standing ability to create healthy sustainable wildlife populations via sport hunting.  It would be an ironic tragedy if, because of the alleged poaching of Cecil, poachers become promoted as managers of our world's wildlife.  The only reason great wildlife populations still exist in non-Park areas is because companies like Gajogo Safarilands have spent life savings and considerable time, effort, and capital to save, propagate, and improve wildlife resources, habitat and the environment.   Wildlife populations thrive where safari operators protect them.  Where safari companies do not exist, wildlife numbers have plummeted, poaching is rampant, and the lands are sterile of wildlife.

 

•It would be Gajogo's desire that other owners and wildlife conservationist join in the effort to bring a less hysterical perspective into this conversation.  People now seldom speak openly for the fear of repercussion that political correctness has instilled in Americans.  This issue is too big to remain silent.  If the ability to sport hunt is lost, the ability to see African animals anywhere but in National Parks and zoos is lost.  But do not be duped, they will still be ruthlessly killed by poachers and the nations who sponsor them.  The financial profitability is simply too large for poachers to ignore.  Help Gajogo Safarilands fix that problem by overcoming the fear of political repercussion by speaking out for the greater good of protecting the world’s wildlife.

•Consider donations to Organizations like the GAJOGO FOUNDATION (USA 501-(C)-3 Not For Profit Tax Deductible Organization) linked at <www.gajogofoundation.org>.  The Gajogo Foundation has no paid employees, and any Directors or Officers are prohibited from receiving funds from the Foundation.  Virtually 100% of all donations are returned to ground-level projects in Mozambique for Wildlife, Native Peoples Humanity, or the Environment.

 

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