National Geographic : 2017 Oct
trophy hunting 77 Nitro Express double rifle. These guns, costing up to $200,000, are favored for big-game trophy hunting because of their stopping power, and this is what he was here for, of course—a trophy. Two of them, actually. An avid hunter whose adven- tures had led him to Central Asia to shoot Marco Polo sheep at 15,000 feet and to Africa to shoot a leopard, he was now back in Africa for elephants. According to Marnewecke, the going rate for a 14-day, single elephant hunt is about $80,000. The trophy hunt limit of five elephants a year in Nyae Nyae represents real money to the San. A portion of the fee is paid directly to community members and to a fund for conservation projects to protect the area’s wildlife. As for the elephant trophies themselves, the client would take the tusks home, while the meat would all go to the San. Marnewecke and his client—anonymous at his request, given the controversial nature of elephant hunts—hoisted their rifles over their shoulders and fell in behind Dam, who took off at the speed of a jackrabbit. Marnewecke turned to me and said, as I stumbled to keep up, “I swear, there’s no better tracker in Africa. If it takes 30 miles, he never gives up.” FroM charleS DarWin and John James Au- dubon to Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hem- ingway, the most enlightened hunters have long viewed themselves as naturalists and conser- vationists, committed to sustainability among animal populations and the preservation of wild places where they stalk game. The linkage has become inextricable. Revenues of hundreds of millions in federal excise taxes levied on hunters go directly to wildlife management and related The head and skin of a lion, prepared for display by a taxidermy shop in South Africa, are boxed for shipment to the American who killed the animal in 2010. In response to dwindling numbers of lions in the wild and doubts about the conservation value of hunting them, the U.S. has since made it harder for hunters to import lion trophies.