Wildlife official sparks furious backlash over disgusting pictures of him posing with animals he killed
Blake Fischer, the Fish and Game Commissioner for the state of Idaho, sparked outrage last week after sharing pictures of himself posing alongside animals he had killed while on a hunting trip last month.
The wildlife official originally believed that the images would be met with support and approval when he shared them with his friends, but instead he was faced with huge opposition - and now people are calling for him to be fired from his job.
While on a trip to Namibia, Fischer and his wife shot and killed at least 14 animals including a giraffe, leopard, impala, kudu, waterbuck, sable antelope, warthog, gemsbok, and eland. He also shot four baboons - a family - and included a picture of the freshly-killed corpses in an email that he sent to more than 100 people.
"So I shot a whole family of baboons," Fischer wrote almost whimsically in his message. He then went on to say that his wife wanted to watch him hunt because she had never been before. "I think she got the idea quick," he joked.
Upon receiving the email, though, many people were horrified at the thought of a conservationist actively murdering animals for sport.
Fred Trevey, who did the same job as Fischer between 2007 and 2015, actually wrote him an email asking him to resign in order "to shield the commission as an institution and hunting as a legitimate tool of wildlife management from the harm that is sure to come".
Trevey then went on to say that, "I’m sure what you did was legal, however, legal does not make it right ... Sportsmanlike behavior is the center pin to maintaining hunting as a socially acceptable activity."
Fischer himself seemed surprised by the backlash, however, and said that he had received various phone calls and emails from former and current fish and game commissioners who had responded negatively to his email. He has said that he apologised for sending out the photos, but not for hunting the animals.
"I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral," he insisted. "I look at the way Idaho’s Fish and Game statute says we’re supposed to manage all animals for Idaho, and any surplus of animals we have we manage through hunting, fishing and trapping. Africa does the same thing."
Fischer says that he received a list of species that he was allowed to hunt while on his trip, and abided by the rules at all times. He was also charged a trophy hunting fee for certain kills, which he paid, and believes that - because of this - he hasn't done anything wrong.
However, a member of a pro-hunting group in Idaho, Steve Adler, has come forward to say that even those who agree with the practice of killing wild game have been shocked by Fischer's actions.
Indeed, Idaho's hunter-education manual specifically asks hunters to "refrain from taking graphic photographs of the kill and from vividly describing the kill while within earshot of non-hunters".
"It’s everything we preach against in hunters education," Alder said. "It just sends the wrong signal."
"The biggest thing is the baboon thing. I was really troubled. That’s my biggest issue. He killed the whole baboon family and you’ve got little junior laying there in mom’s lap. You just don’t do that. I hate wolves as much as anyone, but I’m not going to take a wolf family and put it on display and show the baby wolf."