Grahamstown, South Africa – In response to video footage posted by hunting outfitter John X Safaris showing a trophy hunter ignoring the direction of his guide and killing two Cape buffalo, a near-threatened species, at Woodlands Safari Estate last month, PETA rushed an urgent letter to Mickey Mama, head of the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The group is asking Mama to launch an immediate investigation into the conduct and permits of the hunt and the outfitter’s subsequent endorsement of the hunter’s actions.
In the video, the hunter ineptly shoots and wounds the animals, who writhe and stumble in agony before slowly dying. The hunter claims to have intentionally killed both buffalo, despite apparently having only secured advance permission to kill one and in defiance of the guide’s instructions to shoot only the first buffalo. In the video, the guide yells, “No, no!” as the hunter appears to shoot the wrong buffalo. Afterwards, the hunter dismisses his guide’s concern over the extra kill, saying, “I guess I got $32,000,” which was double the original fee. He also states, “I’m gonna be honest with ya – I saw him in the scope, and I took ‘em both.”
Despite the hunter’s own admission and his complete disregard for protocol and the animals’ suffering, John X Safaris excused his killing of the second buffalo as a mistake and wrote, “[S]ome impressive shooting resulted in two awesome old bulls and an experience that will never be forgotten!” In light of this, PETA is also asking Mama to look into the methods that were used to secure retroactive permission for the killing of the additional buffalo.
“This man laughed as he cruelly gunned down a pair of magnificent buffalo, and the outfit in charge of the hunt wasted no time in boasting about it online,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is calling on authorities to do some digging and, if anything illegal was afoot, throw the book at everyone responsible for this sickening act.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that the International Union for Conservation of Nature cites hunting as one of the principal threats facing the imperilled Cape buffalo.
Just last year, a PETA undercover exposé exposed South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ties to the trophy hunting industry, which include owning a 50% stake in a hunting company, owning a hunting property, and breeding animals at his ranch to be killed by trophy hunters.
PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Mama is available upon request. PETA’s video edit using footage from the botched buffalo hunt is available to view here.