Many may not know of Ron Thomson but game hunters do not come any bigger than this Septuagenarian. Infamously dubbed "the Animal Sniper" and the "King of the BGH (Big Game Hunters)" Ron Thomson's reputation precedes him. Mr. Thomson who boasts of having killed over 5,000 elephants, 800 buffaloes, 60 Lions, 40 Leopards, 50 hippos, and "many more" wild animals recently stated that he is "totally unrepentant" about his wildlife kills.
It was a thrill to me, to be very honest,” Ron Thompson admitted. “Some people enjoy hunting just as much as other people abhor it. I happened to enjoy it.”
Mr. Thomson's Background
Mr. Thomson began his conservation career with the Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) National Parks & Wildlife Management Department in 1959. He is a university educated ecologist and was a Chartered Biologist for the European Union for 20 years. Mr. Thomson claims to have over 55 years of hands-on experience in wildlife management, national park administration and African big game hunting.
During his career, he has held posts including game warden of Hwange National Park and was a professional hunter for three years. His love of big game hunting began as a teenager and he pursued his passion until he became 'an expert'. While he no longer routinely hunts, he says that he would do so again if invited. In the meantime, he writes books about his experiences in books and on his website www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za. some of his controversial books include God Created Man The Hunter.
Speaking to English newspaper, The Independent, the 77-year-old stated that his hunting was not motivated by pure sport as many would wrongfully assume but by the desire to manage animal populations that would destroy the ecosystem if not controlled. According to Thomson, killing big game was a job - no more no less. The rest are lies that are being invented and spread by the so-called conservationists.
I'm totally unrepentant, a hundred – ten thousand – times over for any of the hunting I've done because that's not the problem. The problem is we've got a bunch of so-called experts from the West telling us what to do. I'm a trained university ecologist – I must surely know something about this."
The True Green Alliance - Mr. Thomson's NGO
Mr. Thomson's views on wildlife conservation are every bit as controversial as the man himself. In videos posted to the YouTube channel of his wildlife organisation, The True Green Alliance (formed in February 2016), he posits the argument that the notion that elephants are an endangered species is far-fetched. He argues that wildlife parks in southern Africa have 'ten to 20 times more elephants' than they can sustain and that this is what is destroying the environment.
The African elephant is nowhere near extinct,” Thompson said. “People who say this are animal rightist NGOs who ask for money and tell lies to get it. When you have a healthy population you must ensure they don’t increase beyond the capacity of their habitat.”
According to Mr. Thomson, proper management, including culls, is the best way to ensure that the parks will not be overrun by one species of animal but that other species and not just elephants can survive.
You can listen to Mr. Thomson's comprehensive views here:
https://youtu.be/6N0T76_Mak4 and https://youtu.be/4ihBD8VHpkc
It is important to note that the primary purpose of The True Green Alliance (TGA), is to discredit the doctrine of animal rightism within the governments of Southern Africa (meaning the entire sub-continent of Africa), and within the public domain.
Mr. Thomson makes the distinction between “animal rights” and “animal welfare” of which he is a proponent of the latter. According to him, Animal-Rightists intend to abolish all animal uses (both domestic and wild) by humankind; and to force humankind to subsist on a vegetable diet alone. In contrast, he says that TGA believes that a true “Animal Welfare” philosophy accepts that animals provide many useful benefits to humankind and that civilization would be seriously diminished if society was denied the right to avail themselves of those uses.
Campaign to End Trophy Hunting
Mr. Thomson's sentiments were sparked by a recent investigation by Campaign to End Trophy Hunting which identified him in their report that highlights the dwindling populations of African elephants. The report states that since the 1980s, the African elephant populations in southern Africa have declined from 1.3 million to just over 400,000 today.
Eduardo Gonçalves, founder of the Campaign to End Trophy Hunting who had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Thomson's claims, dismissed them saying natural animal populations rarely 'overstock' themselves.
The African elephant population as a whole is in very serious decline,' he said, adding that 'there are numerous instances of 'management culling' being used as a cover for trophy-hunting.'
Conservationists and Animal rights campaigners have been extremely vocal in the recent past pointing out the steep decline in elephant numbers. Many of them concur with Mr. Gonçalves that 'management culling' is nothing more than a cover for trophy hunting. They note that hunters from all over the world have become more brazen with many taking more than 100,000 wildlife trophies back to their home countries.
According to Campaign to End Trophy Hunting, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of elephant trophies taken in 2015 compared with 1985, with hunters taking as much as four times what they did initially. Expectedly, the jump in the amount of ivory taken over the same period increased with as much as twelve-fold.
To fanatical hunters like Mr. Thomson, these figures do not mean much to him by sheer reason that they originate from animal rightists whom he has an open dislike for. While he brags about his animal hunting exploits on his website, he does not believe that he has contributed in any way to the declining number of elephants and lions. Interestingly he believes that he is, in fact, helping the environment by managing the animal populations. You may think he is delusional, arrogant or whatever other adjectives that you would wish to describe him but there are some who do stand by him and believe that his reasoning in controlling animal population may be sound but his method is wanting.
Mr. Thomson has always courted controversy. This is not the first time and it certainly will not be the last. In 2014, the Zimbabwean hunter reportedly wrote a 20-page letter of protest to the United States Fish and Wildlife complaining angrily about the decision to temporarily suspend imports of elephant trophies taken in Zimbabwe and Tanzania for the rest of 2014. You can read the Letter here:
Header Image Credit: The True Green Alliance