I came across an interesting story on ProPublica.org about a Mongolian hunting trip Donald Trump Jr. took this past August, during which he killed an argali sheep, perhaps illegally. I don’t know if ProPublica is considered to be left leaning or right leaning.
I thought the article itself was an impartial presentation of information, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. I suppose there are those who would argue that simply writing about the incident shows bias against the younger Mr. Trump, and, by association, his father. Otherwise, who would care about a dead sheep, right?
Anyway, the publication date was, if I remember correctly, Dec. 11, and the writers were Jake Pearson and Anand Tumurtogoo. The story includes the obligatory picture of the smiling hunter and the lifeless animal.
The argali is the world’s largest sheep and is listed as endangered. The population was 50,000 in 1985, and just 18,000 in 2009, evidently the last year the animals were counted and the numbers reported officially.
The right to kill the argali is controlled by an “opaque permitting system” that is allegedly based on money, connections and politics.
A limited number of the “coveted” and “rare” permits are issued; according to local records, just three permits were issued for the particular hunting region in which Mr. Trump Jr. shot his trophy.
Mr. Trump Jr.’s permit was issued retroactively, that is, after he killed the sheep during a nighttime hunt.
A spokesman for Mr. Trump Jr. said the trip, which cost more than $20,000, was purchased in 2015 at a National Rifle Association charity auction. The trip personnel included five American bodyguards. It is not clear who those individuals were or who was paying for their services; the Secret Service does not comment on protection details. According to the article’s authors, there was no response from the NRA, the White House, the State Department or the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia to requests for information.
Mr. Trump Jr. did meet privately with the Mongolian president, Khaltmaagiin Battugla, while he was in the country, but neither would comment on the meeting. Mongolia does, however, count on aid from the U.S. to help keep bordering China in its place.
It is not clear what happened to the argali Mr. Trump Jr. killed. To import it to this country he would need permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the article did not indicate that permission had been obtained.
Donald Trump Sr. recently hosted a political rally in Florida for a crowd described as “young conservatives.” He gave them an assignment: “Defend our way of life.” What does that mean?
I don’t know, but I can tell you what I think it doesn’t mean. I don’t think it means taking a stand against the gratuitous killing of endangered species or any animals, for that matter. I don’t think it means caring about and protecting abundant biological diversity, wildlife habitat or the ever-shrinking wilderness. I don’t think it means using money to promote conservation and preservation rather than killing, exploitation and extraction.
My way of life includes love of the land, the wild places and the living things in them. Who’s defending that?