Hat tip to Zerohedge:
Presenting “QUIET DIPLOMACY” SUSPENDS ELEPHANT HUNTING IN NATIONAL PARKS – FOR NOW” – a Confidential memo sent on October 23, 2008 by the current US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James D. Mcgee, to the CIA, and released by Wikileaks.
In it we read that, as usual, there is none more culpable of the recent event in Zimbabwe, which incidentally is and has been quite permitted by the local authorities as long as everyone’s palms are appropriately greased, than the US government, which years ago was fully aware that Americans were killing lions in Hwange National Park, but that its concern was not with the dead animals – no matter how hard the administration tries to feign empathy for the beheaded lion here and now – but with Americans getting caught in the act. As has just happened.
But first, here is some background on how legal local poaching, whether it is for lions or elephants is. From the formerly classified memo:
Meeting with poloff and conoff on October 10, Bown said that it was unclear “how legal” these hunting operations were, since it appeared the hunters had permits issued by Parks to kill the animals, despite the provision in the National Parks Act that prohibits commercial hunting. The photographic safari operators indicated Parks had given several local and South African hunting companies concessions to kill elephants in Hwange if they met specific criteria: (1) total ivory weight less than 30 pounds, (2) young/adolescent males, (3) isolated areas (i.e. away from watering holes and main roads), and (4) controlled by Parks staff. Parks has never publicly stated these criteria or explained the operation. Frustrated photographic safari operators weighed and photographed many of the tusks at the Park’s ivory store in Hwange and found that many were over 30 pounds each. In one case, an operator claimed an American hunter killed an elephant with tusks weighing over 120 pounds. Photos also show some elephants were killed very near main roads and close to watering holes. In at least one reported case, a vehicle drove around the animal before the hunter killed it at close range. In emails to Mtsambiwa and Nhema, safari operators decried the unethical hunting both in terms of the detrimental ecological impact and the negative impact it would have on their own businesses.
… the safari operators also reported that some of the hunting guides had been issued hundreds of hunting permits for elephants in Hwange and other national parks in mid-to-late August. Normally, hunting permits are offered in an auction to all professional hunting guides. In contrast, Bown said these recent permits were issued through a non-transparent process to professional hunters of ill-repute, including some South African operators.