A recent airing of Under Wild Skies on NBC Sports Network featured NRA lobbyist Tony Makris slaughtering an elephant for its ivory and for sport. After shooting the elephant twice, Makris jokes, "Somebody got a little cheeky there," and then proceeds to shoot the animal between the eyes. Makris and a cohort are then seen celebrating with champagne and gloating about the "specialness" of ivory poaching. On other episodes of the show, Makris has apparently killed all sorts of rare animals, including lions, rhinos, leopards, and even more elephants. The show and this video have sparked outrage across the internet as petitions have sprang up demanding the program's cancellation.
Technically, Makris's actions are legal. Botswana's ban on commercial hunting does not go into effect until 2014. Botswana first passed this ban to protect local wildlife as well as the lifestyles of natives such as bushmen. However, according to the World Wildlife Fund, elephants close to being endangered species. Therefore, even though killing elephants is legal, their dwindling numbers should be enough to stop anyone with a conscience from hunting them.
This news right after Zimbabwean authorities reported that nearly 90 elephants from the Hwange National Park have been poisoned for their tusks. Their tusks. On one part of the continent, elephants are dying for their tusks, on another part, they are dying for the sake of a television show, and for some guy's sick pleasure. What is wrong with the world?
Ivory-demanders: go find a different material, preferably one that doesn't require killing a living creature. Game-hunters: go find a different hobby, or at least a less vulnerable animal. And, Makris: go find a new brain, please.