Dear Andre

Don Pinnock is the arch-typical animal rightist!!!!!

I understand that he is now a qualified ‘criminologist’ in Cape Town.  Poor Cape Town!  One of the jobs Pinnock had before coming to South Africa – before he started indicating that he was  an expert in wildlife management – was that of cable-car driver at the Rock of Gibraltar. In that capacity he probably learnt a great deal about the antics of the tourist-attracting Gibraltar Monkeys (Barbary Macaques). He certainly has no idea about the management of Africa’s national parks or its wild animals. And he takes his cues from other animal rights extremists who are equally uninformed. Talk about the blind leading the blind! Nevertheless, the Daily Maverick Newspaper – which makes a big noise about being the only source of media “TRUTH” in South Africa – idolizes Pinnock and they treat him like some kind of pseudo-wildlife-management-professor.  The Daily Maverick, it seems, hasn’t yet learned that when you have a plumbing crisis on your hands, you  don’t employ a carpenter to fix it. Hence, I don’t read the Daily Maverick anymore. I don’t read it  because I never know if what they publish is the truth or if it is somebody’s imagined fabrication… except, of course, when I see an article written by Pinnock! Just that name identifies the article as being hyperbole. In my opinion the Daily Maverick is one of the “voices” of animal rights in South Africa.  It deserves, therefore, no recognition from a responsible society!

I am a university-trained field ecologist and have 62 years of hands-on national park administration and wildlife management experience. I have written some 20 books on big game hunting and wildlife management. I am also an investigative wildlife management journalist with a considerable following. My special interests are elephant management and black rhino management. Even though I have extensive big game ‘management-hunting’ and game capture experience, I have not practiced any kind of “management-hunting” for nearly 40 years.  I have never have been a trophy hunter. And I am not even, unfortunately, a biltong hunter – because I love my biltong.  I am, however, deeply involved in South Africa’s commercial wildlife industry in many ways and I educate the public  about the principles and practices of wildlife management; about the attributes of hunting; and about the sustainable utilization of all our wild living resources for the benefit of our people.  Indeed, I have written some 20 books on these subjects – some of which are university-level text-books which are still in use in several South African Universities.  I sincerely believe that hunting is an integral part of wildlife management; that hunting is a vital wildlife management tool;  that hunting is one of man’s heritages; that hunting in an important human instinct that, when denied by man, adversely influences his psychological balances. And modern psychologists agree with me in this regard.

So, Pinnock is in error when he describes me as being a ‘hunter’. Nevertheless, I acknowledge, myself,  that I am strongly supportive of  responsible hunting – both responsible biltong hunting; and responsible trophy hunting. And I support the sustainable ‘harvesting’ of Africa’s wildlife for benefit of Africa’s people.

Having explained my bona fides, I can now get down to discussing Pinnock’s preposterous statement that runaway wild fires, and not ‘too many elephants’,  are responsible for Botswana’s tree destruction history. In doing so, I am going to state my case very succinctly  so as not to give any kind of credibility to Pinnock’s opinions.

There is absolutely NO DOUBT AT ALL that elephants, and ONLY ELEPHANTS, have been responsible for the damage done to mature trees everywhere in Botswana’s wildlife systems, and for the elimination of Botswana’s riverine forest at Chobe.  And that has been an ongoing state of affairs  since, at least, the middle 1950s. Furthermore, I am in absolutely no doubt at all that he only answer to this problem is drastic elephant population reduction.

 Pinnock, it must be remembered, is a cable-car driver and now, it seems, a ‘criminologist’ in Cape Town, too. He is also, in his imprinted ideology, anti-hunting and anti-hands-on wildlife management. Finally, he is a died-in-the-wool animal rightist. He deserves, therefore, absolutely no credibility whatsoever when he pontificates about wildlife management matters in the Daily Maverick!

So, Andre, let’s put this argument to bed.  Let’s not even try to discuss any of the detail in his arguments. The more credibility we afford this nefarious person, the more diatribe we will have to endure from his pen in the future – and the more people he might influence. Lets shut him down tight. NOW! And let’s not lift the lid, not even by a fraction!

Kind regards

Ron Thomson

Ron Thomson

I am NOT a ‘trophy hunter’ - and never have been. I am not involved in the trophy hunting safari business. I am also not a game rancher. But I have ‘administratively controlled’ professional hunters and safari outfitters in my capacity as a government game warden. I am an 80 year old ex-game warden with 60 years of continuous experience in hands-on wildlife management, and national park management, in Africa (1959 to 2019). In breakdown, I have 24 years experience in the management of national parks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and in the management of the wild animal populations that lived inside those national parks; one year as the Chief Nature Conservation of the Ciskei in South Africa; three years as Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa; and I worked for three years as a professional hunter in the South African Great Karoo (taking foreign hunters on quests for plains game trophies). I discovered, however, that professional hunting was not my forte. I worked as an investigative wildlife journalist for 30 years in South Africa. I have written fifteen books and hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of wildlife management and big game hunting in Africa. Five of my books are university-level text books on wildlife management. I am a university-trained ecologist; was a member of the Institute of Biology (London) for 20 years; and was a registered chartered biologist for the European Union for 20 years. I have VAST experience in the “management hunting” of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and hippos (as part of my official national park work in the control of problem animals); and I pioneered the capture of black rhino in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley (1964 - 1970). My university thesis was entitled: “The Factors Affecting the Survival and Distribution of Black Rhinos in Rhodesia”. Look at my personal website if you want any further details about my experience:

Ron Thomson has 279 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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