I was horrified to see the pictures just released of Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric taken from an African safari the pair went on in 2010 -- during which time they proudly hunted and killed a number of animals including an elephant, leopard, crocodile, kudu, civet cat and waterbuck.
What could have been an opportunity for them to enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat was nothing more than another example Americans hunting wild animals in another country for "fun."
Confronted with poaching, abduction from the wild for the exotic pet trade, habitat loss, retaliatory killings from human conflict, and over-exploitation for trade in parts such as trophies and use in traditional Asian medicines, animals in the wild are already facing mounting threats and an uncertain future. Each year hundreds of imperiled African lions are still killed for sport and imported to the U.S. And just recently, 300 to 400 hundred elephants were slaughtered in Cameroon for their ivory. There is no doubt that wildlife around the world is in crisis.
As a public figure with a famous father, does Donald Jr. really feel the need to exacerbate the issue by smugly holding up an elephant's tail and the knife he used to saw it off? Did they need to hang a crocodile from a tree? Do they not remember the backlash that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons experienced last year after a video of his elephant hunt surfaced online? Americans are generally not fans of wasteful killing of species already haunted by an unsure future.
The Trumps thought they were doing a heroic deed by donating the meat from the hunted animals back to the villagers. Instead, a more heroic action would have been to forgo the hunt, and donate a small portion of their father's net worth to support the local community and conservation efforts on behalf of local wildlife.
This family should keep their firings in the boardroom -- not with a gun on a vainglorious trophy hunt.