A Pathetic Human
In the midst of a Sixth mass extinction, a Texan pays record $110,000 to kill Pakistan’s rare national animal
London , United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland - 13 Feb 2019 - Ghassan Matar
Up to half of plant and animal species in the world’s most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked.
Every day, 200 species around the planet are going extinct. And for each species that goes extinct, many more become and remain endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.
Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species - ours - appears to be almost wholly responsible. So this brings me to the point of this short article.
This is the story of a pathetic human being who thinks it’s fun and a sport to hunt rare animals.
Bryan Kinsel Harlan, an entrepreneur from Dallas, Texas and a self-proclaimed trophy hunter paid a record US$110,000 to shoot a majestic markhor in Pakistan’s northern Himalayan region of Gilgit-Baltistan.
A photograph of this pathetic excuse for a human sitting proudly with his kill, showing the majestic markhor with its symmetrical spiralling horns (which can grow to a length of 1.5m in some cases) angered many and so it should.
Markhor populations across the Himalayan ranges of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have been dwindling as a result of deforestation from logging, military exercises, competition with regional livestock for food as well as poaching.
But as far as Harlan is concerned, he was doing Pakistan a favour by employing individuals, paying them higher wages and going as far as to treat his marvellous endeavour as a foreign investment.
Harlan justified his cowardly act by saying.
“And as that happens, it reduces the poaching and – something that is often overlooked – the amount of wages that are brought to that hunt, the amount of food, and the amount of foreign investment,”.
Last month, two other Americans paid $100,000 and $105,000 respectively for the pleasure of hunting the animal. It is no surprise that all three of them were Americans. It is not enough that the American corporations and the American way of life has completely devasted the environment with no let-up in sight.
Although it was a crucial part of humans’ survival 100,000 years ago, hunting is now nothing more than a violent form of recreation that the vast majority of hunters do not need for subsistence. Hunting exotic animals has always been the domain of the rich, spoilt and cowardly class which has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger and the great auk.
While Harlan may not have any feelings, the markhor he killed most likely had a family, and most likely suffered as he was slaughtered. Hunting disrupts migration and hibernation patterns and destroys families.
For animals such as the Markhor, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. The stress that hunted animals suffer—caused by fear and the inescapable loud noises and other commotion that hunters create—also severely compromises their normal eating habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need in order to survive the winter.
I wonder how Harlan would feel if someone paid the same amount of money to hunt him and treat his head as a trophy.