Originally published August 30 2015
Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt killed over 500 large game animals on a single safari in 1909
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) I was reminded just how much times and attitudes have changed in America over the course of a single century after witnessing so much outrage domestically and abroad over the killing of an African lion by a Minnesota dentist in July.
In particular, I was reminded of Teddy Roosevelt – adventurer, environmentalist, war hero, governor, Nobel Prize recipient, vice president, president, Mount Rushmore figurehead... and big game hunter who, on a single expedition to Africa in 1909, bagged 512 animals.
According to historical accounts, before Roosevelt became the nation's 26th president, at the time being the youngest to ever do so, he had gained fame as a frontiersman – once even capturing an outlaw in the Badlands of the Dakota territory. By the late 1800s he had moved back to his home state of New York where he became involved in Republican politics, eventually serving as governor following his famous charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.
Roosevelt was vice president when President William McKinley was assassinated in September 1901, six months into his second term. While serving as president, Roosevelt expanded U.S. foreign policy and the power of the Executive Branch; after two terms and despite unprecedented popularity in 1908, Roosevelt declined to run again for the presidency (the 22nd amendment, enacted after Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office, now limits presidents to two terms). Upon stepping down, Roosevelt essentially anointed William Howard Taft, a close friend and his Secretary of War (the War Department was named the Department of Defense after World War II); Taft won the election easily.
Would Roosevelt even be hailed for his exploits today?
Immediately following Taft's inauguration in 1909, Roosevelt set out for his African safari; his goal was to hunt large game and collect other specimens for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He made his decision based on ensuring room on the political stage for his hand-picked successor and a natural desire for action.
In April 1909, he and his son, Kermit, landed in Mombasa. Roosevelt took charge of a safari that included 250 porters and guides, which trekked across British East Africa and into the Belgian Congo, then back to the Nile River which ended in Khartoum. During the expedition, more than 1,100 specimens were collected (or killed), a figure which included some 500 animals. It was "the most noteworthy collection of big animals that has ever come out of Africa," he would later claim.
EyewitnessHistory.com further noted:
Between the two of them, Theodore and Kermit slew 512 beasts including 17 lion, 11 elephant and 20 rhinoceros. The remaining animals were no doubt happy to see T.R. leave the plain. After the year-long hunt, Roosevelt proceeded to England for the funeral of King Edward VII and then on to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Russo-Japanese War. He returned to the U.S. in June, 1910.
Big game hunting versus harvesting baby body parts
At one point during his safari, Roosevelt shot and killed a massive charging rhino. As he was standing over a freshly killed eland, a native guide came over to him with news that a rhino had been seen nearby. The former president was accompanied by Captain Arthur Slatter, an Englishman who operated an ostrich farm and an avid, excellent hunter himself.
The pair, with another gun handler, crept up on the rhino over the next 10 minutes. Eventually, Roosevelt managed to get his first shot off, which hit the rhino but did not kill it, so the animal charged the group.
"Before he could get quite all the way round in his headlong rush to reach us, I struck him with my left-hand barrel, the bullet entering between the neck and shoulder and piercing his heart," Roosevelt said in an account of the incident. "At the same instant Captain Slatter fired, his bullet entering the neck vertebrae. Ploughing up the ground with horn and feet, the great bull rhino, still head toward us, dropped just thirteen paces from where we stood."
Now, just imagine of Roosevelt were alive today and had just completed such a hunt: His life and livelihood would be threatened and he would have to go into hiding and none of his other accomplishments would matter to millions – even as Planned Parenthood officials are defended for "harvesting" and selling body parts from aborted babies for "research."
Like I said, how times have changed.
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