A South African hunting guide admitted that corruption is the rule in Africa. This blows out of the water the justification for any form of trophy hunting in Africa. American hunters in Africa justify their obnoxious pastime by saying that it is good for conservation. It is not. The process is corrupted and the money that they pay for the privilege of shooting a magnificent animal (the more magnificent the better from their standpoint) goes into the pocket of corrupt officials and not conservation.
I really hope that once and for all we can stop listening to the ridiculous arguments of blood lusting big-game hunters when they pronounce that what they do helps conservation.
In this instance, a South African hunting guide admitted that corruption is the rule in Africa when he boasted to an undercover officer that he could buy a permission tag to hunt in a Zimbabwean national park. He advised the person to bring along £5,000 in cash for “extras to make things straight if we need to”.
Mr Van Rensburg went on to state that “the system is so corrupt. If they need to get it, they will get it. If the client pays the money they will find another tag. I am straightforward with you. Corruption is the rule in Africa.” The correspondence from Mr van Rensburg has been shared with a court.
Mr Van Rensburg was targeted in a sting operation by US officials. His client, an American trophy hunter whose name is Paul Ross Jackson, was being convicted of poaching in a Zimbabwean national park. He also bought forged documents so that he could ship the tasks of an elephant home to America.
Paul Ross Jackson is a former vice-president of the Dallas Safari Club. This is an American hunting organzation promoting hunting. Jackson admitted in a District Court in Colorado that he had paid the equivalent of £29,000 to Mr Van Rensburg to organize an illegal trip three years ago.
The admission of Mr van Rensburg highlights the concerns of conservationists about the regulation of Zimbabwe’s hunting industry. You may remember that some time ago an American dentist, Walter Palmer, shot a famous lion, Cecil. This happened in Zimbabwe weeks after Paul Jackson’s trip to the same country.
Recently it is reported that two elephants wearing conservation collars were also illegally shot at a national park in Zimbabwe. The hunters were cleared of wrongdoing. More corruption?
Rensburg Bribes – This South African Hunting Guide Admitted That Corruption Is the Rule in Africa
Mr Van Rensburg paid officials to turn a blind eye. He reportedly paid between $5,000 and $8,000 in bribes to Zimbabwean government officials in return for their permission to shoot elephants. Jackson pleaded guilty and was fined £18,500. He was banned from hunting for four years and ordered to return the tusks to Zimbabwe.
For me, the important aspect of the story is that we have confirmation in court documents that Zimbabwean officials are corrupt in respect of doling out licences to shoot ig game in their country which undermines the argument that trophy hunting supports conservation. It has nothing to do with conservation. It’s all about money and bloodlust and let’s not fool ourselves that it is anything else.