I am sickened.

Alone in my motel room in Ortonville, MN, I was flipping between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche playoff game and The Karate Kid Part II, when I came across a disturbing program:

PSE Adventure Bow Hunting.

This program is aired on the “Outdoor Channel” and the fact that it exists is unsettling. PSE Adventure Bow Hunting features hunters killing big game animals; In this episode the game is African Elephants. The infamous cast includes bow hunter Pete Shepley, and his notorious crew of trackers, guides, and camera men. The location is Wankie National Park, in the South African Republic of Zimbabwe.

I caught this episode towards the end as Shepley stalked a herd of African Elephants accompanied by the aforementioned crew. The group was hunting the bull elephant of the herd, and armed with a high powered bow, Shepley desires to kill the animal with the weapon. The setting of the scene, in any other situation, could only be described as serene, peaceful. The crew sits outside the herd, a mere 35 feet from the creatures. It’s a majestic sight as you watch the elephants feeding on the nearby grass.

It’s beautiful.

I felt as though I could be watching a nature program on the elephants, but then the camera pans to Shepley readying his weapon. He pulls back on the bow and pierces the bull above the right leg. The elephant writhes in pain and then limps off through the foliage, and the herd follows.

The sight rips at your heart.

The crew follows the tracks of the victimized elephant for nearly five days, and with no sign of a carcass, they begin to get frustrated. Pete Shepley does not want to be denied his ‘prize’. On the fifth day of searching, the infamous crew is informed that a local search team found a dead bull elephant outside of a small village. Shepley concludes that the corpse had to be that of his victim. He is also told that the carcass was eaten by hyenas.

Even without a bloody ‘trophy’ to take home, Shepley said of the kill, “I couldn’t be more pleased.” The program then cuts to the transient looking host (sporting what can only be described as a porn star mustache) who triumphantly states “Well, Pete got it done!”

This episode of PSE Adventure Bow Hunting truly disturbed me. The fact that a recently endangered animal, one that in the 80’s and 90’s was savagely hunted for their ivory, can be hunted for sport, let alone be propagated into a T.V. program, is disgusting. These animals are not being hunted for food. They are not being hunted as a resource. Hell, they aren’t even being hunted for the twisted purposes of culling (the killing of surplus animals from an animal population). Rather, these serene elephants are being hunted for sport and fame.

That is sick.

It is a known fact that elephants are a species who have a sense of self-awareness similar to that of humans, great apes, and dolphins. They are documented to grieve and show severe signs of depression when a family member or other elephant who is close to the herd dies. This fact has actually resulted in the culling of entire elephant families (as opposed to random solo selection) in order to prevent the depression of entire elephant herds. How thoughtful of the cullers. Elephants are also known to cry, play, have superb memories, and even laugh!

As I stated in a previous blog, come May 1, 2008 the culling of elephants in South Africa will be legalized. That date is tomorrow. I feel very strongly about this subject; The mistreatment of animals for the sake of sport and game. Please help spread the word of this story in order to raise awareness of the elephant culling in South Africa and the uncivilized ‘sport’ of big game hunting. As a civilized society we should not relish in the unwarranted murder of life. I must emphasize the point that these elephants are not being hunted for food or resource, but to be displayed as a trophy. The bull Pete Shepley murdered ended up being a meal for a pack of hyenas.

This is unjust.

If you feel the same way, please write Greenpeace about the issue; They have the power to help in this situation. I have written them numerous times on this subject, but to no avail. I haven’t even received a reply from them. If you don’t have the time to write your own thoughts on the issue, please feel free to cut and paste this article, and/or my previous article, in order to raise awareness of this terrible crime. Greenpeace’s e-mail is: info@wdc.greenpeace.org.

I was all set to write about this past weekends NFL Draft, but this issue moves me and I needed to bring it to light once again.

Thank you for your help and concern.