Connect with us

Conservation Africa News Magazine | African Wildlife & Conservation News

Conservation Africa News Magazine | African Wildlife & Conservation News

Wildlife Conservation Research – This trophy hunter was demoted over slain wildlife photos. Not everyone believes he’s been treated fairly


Wildlife Research

Wildlife Conservation Research – This trophy hunter was demoted over slain wildlife photos. Not everyone believes he’s been treated fairly

At first glance, the photographs made a compelling case for trophy hunter Jewell Crossberg’s demotion.Posted on his now-deleted Facebook page, they showed the Esperance acting manager for WA Parks and Wildlife standing gun-in-hand and grinning.  Beside him lay the slain bodies of an elephant, zebra, giraffe and rhinoceros.Key points:Jewell Crossberg was removed as Esperance acting…

Wildlife Conservation Research – This trophy hunter was demoted over slain wildlife photos. Not everyone believes he’s been treated fairly

Wildlife Conservation Research

At first glance, the photographs made a compelling case for trophy hunter Jewell Crossberg’s demotion.

Posted on his now-deleted Facebook page, they showed the Esperance acting manager for WA Parks and Wildlife standing gun-in-hand and grinning.

Beside him lay the slain bodies of an elephant, zebra, giraffe and rhinoceros.

Key points:

  • Jewell Crossberg was removed as Esperance acting manager for WA Parks and Wildlife last week
  • It came after photos emerged that appeared to show him trophy hunting in Africa
  • Trophy hunting is an accepted “incentive-driven conservation strategy” in many parts of the world

Premier Mark McGowan was quick to condemn the images, which were taken in 2010, labelling them “depraved, disgusting and disgraceful”; his Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, said the pictures made him “physically sick”.

Mr Crossberg’s employer, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, originally stood by him, saying it was aware of his background in authorised African game reserve management.

Last Friday, he was demoted.

The ABC has been unable to contact Mr Crossberg.

But in the week since he was stood down, some people have raised questions about his treatment.

Wildlife Conservation Research - A picture of Jewell Crossberg with a dead giraffe

Jewell Crossberg had been appointed as an acting Parks and Wildlife district manager.(Supplied: Facebook)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which calls itself “the global authority on the status of the natural world”, supports well-managed trophy hunting.

In parts of Africa, including South Africa, trophy hunting is actively promoted by government.

Ed Couzens, an associate professor in environmental law at the University of Sydney, who until five years ago worked in South Africa, said perceptions around trophy hunting were rapidly changing.

“I think that this particular conservation manager in Western Australia, I think he has found himself caught between different viewpoints at a particular moment in history,” he said.

Professor Grahame Webb, a Northern Territory crocodile farmer who chairs the IUCN’s specialist crocodile working group, called the demotion “scandalous”.

“There’s nothing wrong with trophy hunting if it’s carried out in a proper, sustainable way,” he said.

“They’ve got to become more understanding of the diversity of approaches needed to conserve animals in different contexts.

“What works in Esperance is sure not going to work in Botswana or up in the hills in Afghanistan.”

‘You’ve got to be a pragmatist’

The camp in favour of trophy hunting argues that, when well-managed, it provides an incentive for poor communities, which often have few economic opportunities, to conserve wildlife.

“Well-managed trophy hunting, which takes place in many parts of the world, can and does generate critically needed incentives and revenue for government, private and community landowners to maintain and restore wildlife as a land use and to carry out conservation actions,” a 2019 IUCN briefing paper states.

“It can return much-needed income, jobs and other important economic and social benefits to indigenous and local communities in places where these benefits are often scarce.

“In many parts of the world, indigenous and local communities have themselves chosen to use trophy hunting as a strategy for conservation of their wildlife and to improve sustainable livelihoods.”

Dr Webb pointed out that Australia helped to pioneer a program that had similarities to modern-day trophy hunting to save its saltwater crocodiles.

Wildlife Conservation Research - A young shooter kneels next to a dead crocodile in the NT.

Crocodiles were hunted to the brink of extinction in the Territory.(Supplied: Crocodile Hunt)

By the early 1970s, Northern Territory crocodile populations had been decimated by an uncontrolled skins trade, and although they were protected in 1971, many people would have rather seen the reptile wiped out.

That was when an “incentive-driven conservation strategy” was introduced, allowing people to earn money by harvesting wild crocodile eggs to raise for their skins on farms.

Crocodile populations in the Territory are now believed to have recovered completely, and the model has been replicated in other countries.

Dr Webb said one another example saw the markhor — a wild goat in Afghanistan — saved from extinction through a trophy-hunting program.

“It’s very, very successful because the local people are the ones that now give the stewardship and look after the animals,” he said.

“Then, various outfitters bring in trophy hunters and they pay a lot of money for one animal; most of that goes to the local communities, so it’s a win-win-win situation.”

Wildlife Conservation Research - A group of men pull aboard two crocodiles in the Daly River in 1934.

Hunters haul in crocodiles along the Daly River in 1934.(Supplied: Territory Stories)

The treatment of Mr Crossberg seemed to be unfair, Dr Webb said.

“If he’s lost his job in a developed country like Australia over something like this, that to me would be so inappropriate and so symptomatic of the lack of objective education about what’s happening in the world,” he said.

“Conservation can’t work with a bunch of arrogant people going around telling everyone else what to do, trying to impose their standards.

“The real world works with a lot of people who are incredibly hungry. You’ve got billions of people who are surviving from wildlife, and they’ve got to learn to use it sustainably — that’s the challenge. Not to stop use.

Wildlife Conservation Research - Professor Graham Webb

Grahame Webb says context is important in conservation.(ABC News: Steven Schubert)

‘A very complicated issue’

Associate Professor Couzens, who lectured for 14 years at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban before moving to Sydney, said South Africa had a long history of encouraging hunting.

The Most Powerful Sale & Affiliate Platform Available!

There's no credit card required! No fees ever.

Create Your Free Account Now!

But he said perceptions were starting to change, which he thought was partly fuelled by a global movement and the fact that more than 98 per cent of trophy hunters were white men.

“What we’re seeing is a general reaction in society, certainly in the Anglo-American Western world, against many institutions … dominated by white men,” he said.

But the associate professor also believed the change came from a heighted understanding of animals’ place in the world and the inherent rights of nature more broadly, pointing to the granting of legal rights equal to that of a person to New Zealand’s Whanganui River as an example.

He pointed to the outrage sparked by dentist Walter Palmer’s hunting of Cecil the Lion and over Donald Trump Jr’s trophy-hunting expeditions as signalling a possible transition in people’s attitudes to hunting.

Wildlife Conservation Research - Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe

Cecil the Lion was allegedly skinned and beheaded.(YouTube: Bryan Orford)

Asked whether he believed trophy hunting led to positive conservation outcomes in well-managed cases, he said “that is the multi-million-dollar question”.

He said Kenya outlawed trophy hunting in the 1970s, even on private land.

Where communities were benefitting from hunting, Associate Professor Couzens said, the alternative opportunities needed to be considered, such as tourism, before a determination could be made on whether the hunting was required or not.

On the other hand, he said countries like South Africa still promoted it, with many people, whether hunters or not, believing it was an important part of the economy.

But he said it led to many problems, such as “canned hunting” — a type of legal hunting abhorred by animal rights groups likened to shooting fish in a barrel.

Wildlife Conservation Research - Donald Trump's sons Donald Junior and Eric

Donald Trump Jr and his brother Eric during a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe in 2010.(Facebook)

Yet he said the case of Mr Crossberg surprised him.

“Not the outrage on social media, but I was surprised by the reaction that actually saw him demoted,” Associate Professor Couzens said.

But he said it was symptomatic of a hard-line approach Australia was taking towards hunting in recent years, deciding in 2015, for example, to treat the trade of African lions more strictly than required by international standards.

“I think it does show that we’re moving in a direction of greater appreciation for the sensitivities that animals have and the complexities of wildlife in their own societies, and that gives us a clue for where we might end up with our relationship with nature generally — which is a better place than we are now.”

‘Not at all surprised’

When Mr Crossberg was demoted, Mark Webb, the director-general of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, said the images did not align with its “values”.

The department has a code of conduct where it lists “environmental responsibility” as a required value for all personnel.

But it raised questions about where the line between a mismatch in values and discrimination could be drawn.

Wildlife Conservation Research - Five men, three holding guns, stand in water in camouflage clothing. Trees are in the background.

Hunting often divides community opinion.(Supplied: Doug Gimesy)

University of WA Law School emeritus professor Bill Ford, who specialises in employment law, said it was acceptable to demote someone based on their conservation values.

“Only certain kinds of discriminatory conduct is prohibited. Most discriminatory conduct is not prohibited,” he said.

He said it was becoming increasingly common for people to run into trouble with their employer based on their social media activity.

In his opinion, Mr Crossberg’s fate was predictable.

“I’m not at all surprised that if Mr Crossberg had, even years ago, put up postings of game hunting that involved, for example as it did, elephants and giraffes, that it elicited a negative reaction both politically from the Premier and also from many citizens,” he said.

“This would be regarded as the kind of example that is very likely to get an employee into difficulties, especially if your employer happens to be the biodiversity, conservation department.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top Stories

Volunteering In Africa And Enrich Your World 2020
Importance of Wildlife Conservation

Conservation Awareness

Importance of Wildlife Conservation

By July 30, 2020
Wildlife Conservation Volunteer - Caring For Native Wildlife
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Congress wants to fix public lands. It’s just a bandage on the wounds Trump caused | Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Times Evoke: ‘Our apathy threatens biodiversity’
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – U.S. Congress approves conservation bill
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Black Rhino Academy / NLÉ
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – This 12-year-old bottle terrarium is teeming with lush life
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Animals Appreciate Recent Traffic Lull
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – As New York COVID-19 Hospitalizations Drop, Gov. Cuomo Urges Vigilance
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Rewilding immunology
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Grizzly bears in the dark as they try to share living space with humans: study – Airdrie Today
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Maharashtra: Tillari area in Sindhudurg declared conservation reserve
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Scientists call for pandemic investigations to focus on wildlife trade

Tags

Volunteering In Africa And Enrich Your World 2020
Wildlife Conservation Jobs – How to Volunteer Internationally Without Traveling
Importance of Wildlife Conservation

Conservation Awareness

Importance of Wildlife Conservation

By July 30, 2020
Conservation Africa News – Friday Five with Olubunmi Adeyemi
Wildlife Conservation Society – Does it pay to protect nature? A new study weighs in – Reuters.com
Wildlife Conservation Volunteer - Caring For Native Wildlife
Conservation Africa News – Botswana finds more dead elephants, says test results due this week – Reuters
Conservation Africa News – Daily briefing: “The pandemic is gaining full momentum” in Africa
Corona Virus Outbreak
Conservation Africa News – Timeline: How the coronavirus pandemic unfolded – Reuters India
Wildlife Conservation Society – David Attenborough in appeal to save charity behind London Zoo – Reuters
Conservation Africa News – Pangolin protectors, an inflatable lab and young stars — June’s best science images
Conservation Africa News – Listening to nature: Notes from Session 1 of TED2020
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Congress wants to fix public lands. It’s just a bandage on the wounds Trump caused | Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar
Conservation Africa News – One Tree Planted And The Jane Goodall Institute Announce Partnership On Critical Restoration Project In Africa
To Top