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Big Game South Africa

Trump Sons’ Hunt Gains Scrutiny, Investigation

by Dylan Polk   |  March 26th, 2012 17

Trump brothersUPDATE: Zimbabwe official responds to allegations of illegal hunting by Eric and Donald Trump Jr. Click here for more info.

Donald Trump has made no secret how he feels about hunting — suffice to say, his reality show won’t be on our TVs anytime soon.

His sons, however, seem to revel in it, as photos of a recent African safari show Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump posing with several animals they’d shot in Zimbabwe, including a leopard (left), a near 13-foot crocodile and an elephant.

Some of the photos are, well, unpleasant to those anti-hunters; those of us used to a little blood aren’t as turned off at the sight of Don Jr. holding a severed elephant’s tail.

But of course, there’s always someone who gets offended, and wouldn’t you know it, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk blasted the Trump brothers on The Huffington Post.

“Well, now, if they ate the whole cheetah, I’ll eat my hat,” Newkirk writes in response to the Trumps’ assertion that they harvest and eat all the meat from their kills, and misidentifying a leopard as a cheetah. “And if they did, my hat won’t kill me, but chances are the cheetah liver contains enough vitamin A to kill them, which might just improve the gene pool.” Classy.

Newkirk further asserted that the Trumps would have been better off donating money to the less fortunate in Africa so that they may plant crops and provide food “for years.” Well what a novel idea. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before? Maybe it’s the scorching, parched climate, or the warlords vying for control across the continent, murdering and plundering everything in their path. I can’t possibly imagine why that idea has never, ever been implemented in Africa before. Puzzling, isn’t it?

Of course, no one should be surprised at PETA’s disgust toward the safari; Newkirk has stated, after all, that she would oppose the cure for AIDS if it meant animal experimentation.

But in the ensuing weeks, the story has taken an interesting turn.

The Associated Press has reported that the brothers are under investigation by Zimbabwe authorities, who allege the Trumps illegally used dogs while hunting the leopard; the practice of using dogs in hunting is allowed in few areas of Africa, but in accordance with Zimbabwe’s Wildlife Act of 2000, the practice is forbidden unless special authority is given in certain circumstances.

Furthermore, authorities are sifting through paperwork to be sure the hunt — which was organized by a South African firm — was legally cleared by the Zimbabwe government, and if all license and trophy fees were paid, and the brothers’ claims of donating the meat is also being investigated, as there are no villages in the district where the hunts took place.

If found guilty of the infractions, the brothers and the hunt organizers face imprisonment or fines up to $500,000.

The plot thickens.

Assuming everything was done legally, that the Trumps’ assertions of ethical hunting and donating the meat are true, then we have absolutely no qualms with this hunt. After all, everyone knows such hunts are physically tolling — this ain’t a stroll through the woods, folks.

However, as ethical hunters, we should all acknowledge and respect local hunting laws, no matter whether we agree with them or not. If the Trumps really broke several game laws during the safari, then we have no choice but to cry foul as well. Only time will tell whether the Trumps were justified, or if they were truly in the wrong.

What do you think? Should the Trump brothers be criticized for their African hunt?

  • greg

    Newkirk doesn't know the difference between a cheetah and a leopard?????

    Yeah, she's a valid critic.

  • Jim

    There are way too many scumbag South African Companies conducting illegal hunts in Zimbabwe.
    Look at "Out of Africa" for instance.
    Hope they get to the bottom of it?

  • alex

    It should be the responsiblity of the South African Outfitter to make sure the hunt is legal, not the clients. How could the Trump brothers possibly know what the hunting regulations are in one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Zimbabwee. We,as hunters, need to come together and defend our fellow hunters even if we don't hunt in Africa. There is no doubt that regulated hunting saves animals all over the world, so as hunters we should understand that regulated trophy hunting is a conservation policy that clearly works.

    • George Maddog Smith


    • Sara

      How could the Trump brothers know what's legal and what' illegal? I dunno, maybe they could pick up a book, or just sit on Google and find out for themselves?! And it's funny that you say that hunting ENDANGERED animals is regulation of those animals? Fools.

  • Ben Petrone

    i as a hunter i have no problem with hunting animals of any kind. the only problem i have is what they do with the meat of said animals.If the natives eat the hunters catch it is ok with me .But if the hunter just hunts for the hide ,head or what ever part of the animal that they take for a trophy and waste the meat i say no .As long as the meat is given to the locals i see no problem .as for the PETA people who the hell do they think they are by telling people what thy can or cannot long as they are following local laws.

    • klebber

      I, as a hunterhater, would love to ask you what if i kill your baby and give the food to, well, alligators? that would be ok, right? wait, to kill a baby id such a horrendous thing but to kill a cheetah is not because they are animals, right? what are we? animals too, and you say it is ok to kill any kind of animals, so that include humans too, and babies are humans, so let me kill a baby,cool? no, not cool…killing is wrong scumbags

  • BBB

    Hunters really should not be defending the Trumps if this hunt has the potential to be illegal. That just makes all hunters look really bad. It's not a matter of whether you hunt or not….if this hunt doesn't look right to the authorities it probably wasn't, hence why the authorities are investigating it, and you should not be defending illegal hunting. Why don't wait for the results before you start defending a hunt that is under investigation.

    • klebber

      is not the law of a country regarding hunting that makes hunting a bad thing, is the act itself. hunting is a barbarian act and should be illegal, everywhere.

  • Bob

    If the Trump boys followed the laws as stated by the company guide then i see no wrong on their part. i know that most who can afford to do an african sfari hunt donate the food to local villages even if that means the meat needs to be chilled and shipped as there are no local villages there. Yeah give em seeds to plant in sand where there is no water nd nothing grows because of the nomadic nature of the people. They cut down every tree for firewood then move on leaving desolation behind. The warlords they finish the job and destroy kill the locals with impunity. How about sending the head of peta to zimbabwe with a few pallets of seed to plant and let her see what happens

  • peta kiz my arse

    Looks like peta bribed Zimbabwe officials to get this "investigation" under way!

  • Tom Willard

    I've personally hunted in Zimbabwe and some of my friends have been there several times. ALL meat is either given to the natives or is sold on the market, except for a small amount that is personally eaten by the hunter and safari crew. Nothing is wasted in these poor countries!

    I get a big laugh when these Petas and their ilk cannot even identify animals and know little to nothing about the animal's life.

    There are some types of hunting I don't personally like, but if it is legal where the hunting is done, I am not going to condemn the hunter. I'm 95% a bow hunter but use a gun now and then. If its legal, then go for it !

    • klebber

      you get a big laugh by someone's mistake but do you get any sense of shame for inflicting pain to an innocent animal? the cruel act of slowly killing an animal? is this something to brag? how about finding the cure of cancer or aids? can you invest your time n developing a vaccine? or helping kids of your community? instead, your actions show what a brainless person you are, incapable of using your resources to do something that society can use. you, like the trumps, should be ashamed. really. look in the mirror and what you see?

  • scott

    I f the almighty know it all governments decide that the population of these animals are sufficient to allow people too take a few of them each season and still have a healthy population then i guess "that's the way she goes" I don't know if they are right for allowing it or not and I bet all these environmentalists know just about the same amount. I hear that the money taken in from these hunts go to the local economy of the area the animals where living in and the meat goes too the local people (The local tribes or what ever).

  • hutty

    Harare – Zimbabwe's parks authority on Monday said US property magnate Donald Trump's sons were licenced to hunt game on a trip two years ago, after photos of their trophies sparked online outrage.

    Trump's sons Donald Junior and Eric made a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe in 2010. Their pictures went viral on social media this month, showing them posing next to carcasses of a leopard, an elephant, a crocodile and an array of other animals.

    The images drew condemnation on Facebook and Twitter, where their hunting trip was slammed as unethical. Donald Trump Jr has insisted on Twitter that he did nothing wrong.

    "They were accompanied by a professional hunter, and we have done a background check on him and his licence is still valid," Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokesperson for the parks authority said in a statement.

    "Also with the Trump brothers was a ranger from the parks department who was monitoring the hunt. The animals they hunted are available for hunting in Zimbabwe."

    Although leopards are endangered, she said they can be hunted under strict conditions set by the Convention for the Trade in Endangered Species. Zimbabwe's parks have a quota of 500 leopards that can be hunted each year, she added.

    The statement came after Johnny Rodriguez, chair of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said his organisation was investigating whether the Trump brothers' hunt was legal.

    The trip was organised by Pretoria-based Hunting Legends International, which specialises in big game hunts for the wealthy. The company has also insisted that the big game hunt near Victoria Falls was done by the book.

  • ron

    You Guys should read this! The "investigation" into the Trumps was perpetrated by an animal rights group with an agenda and was by no means official as they made it seem. Don't assume that because someone writes something that its not totally false or biased. The PETA extremists will do anything to further their cause and will clearly lie about the situation. in this article its clear the Trumps followed all rules as it is from Zimbabwe Fish and Game and that they are avid outdoors-men. i think they are great representatives of our sport and should have been given the benefit of the doubt by all of you. Having hunted many countries in Africa i too can attest that meat is NEVER wasted there. SEE LINK BELOW

  • rene

    how about you all stay in your own countries and shoot all your animals to extinction “legally” and leave our animals alone. you don’t eat leopards so that’s purely trophy hunting so you can hang it on your wall like a dumb smuck. hunting buck i understand but cats elephants and rhinos (really???) should never be shot for any amount of money !

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