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Fish & Game commissioner resigns over baboon photo

Blake Fischer with the baboons he huntedBlake Fischer, a now-former Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner, sparked controversy after his recent trip to Namibia. Now unlike most controversy that is associated with hunting, Fischer’s trip was actually receiving hate from other hunters including some former Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners. The photo that sparked the controversy was a snap of Fischer posing with a ‘family’ of baboons that he had hunted. He had sent pictures of the animals he hunted while in Namibia to 100s of his contacts.

Blake with giraffe
Photo Credit – Idaho governor’s office

Immediately after sending this email, Fischer was met with responses from current and former Commissioners, one even forwarding the email to the Governor. Some went as far as to call for Fischer to resign because of these photos, including former Commissioner Fred Trevey who replied to Blake’s email arguing that he should resign from his position “to shield the commission as an institution and hunting as a legitimate tool of wildlife management from the harm that is sure to come.”

On October 15th, it was announced that the Idaho Governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, asked for and has now received Fischer’s resignation. I think this is a good time to clarify, just in case you were wondering, that Fischer’s hunt was completely legal. In addition to that, he did not even ‘dare’ to broadcast his hunt over social media. He simply shared his experience with friends and coworkers.

To think that a man can participate in a hunt that is completely legal, send it only to his personal network, and still lose his job for it, is disgraceful. What is the difference between hunting a group of baboons to hunting a group of coyotes, or of rabbits for that matter? The one and only difference is how they are perceived in western civilisation. To us in the west, it can seem unnecessary to kill these species. And maybe it is the exotic nature of these animals that makes them seem somehow special. In Africa, however, the baboons are seen as pests. Pests that are violent and destructive. They attack livestock, people, and cars. They break equipment and the farmers want them gone. So why wouldn’t you attempt to control the populations of these animals?

Blake with leopard
Photo credit – Idaho governor’s office

The reasoning that the Commissioners have used in justifying their calls for Fischer’s resignation was that this was a family. There was a baby baboon in the photo and that is distasteful. I can see that some people would find this concerning but what was he supposed to do? Shoot all the mature baboons and leave the baby to fend for itself? The Idaho Fish and Game Commission reacted on emotion rather than logic. This was pest control pure and simple.

Image credit for all images in this article: Idaho governor’s office

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