Another week, another botched media hatchet job on legitimate lion farmers and the South African Predator Association. An internet writer of sorts, one Stephen Wiggins, penned a rambling, disjointed, poorly researched piece and named it ‘Canned’ Hunting – The 'End Game.' This dreary bit of penmanship he splashed on IWB’s website. They are another of those organizations with no understanding of wildlife management goes around begging for money (you can donate here: https://giving.iwbond.org/)
In the piece, Wiggins adoringly rehashes another of Chris Mercer's (donate here http://www.cannedlion.org/donate.html) self-confident, but woefully incoherent, musings. After echoing the lyrics of Mercer, Wiggins gets up to land a few more blows against SAPA and its members.
He smears SAPA board member Pieter Dreyer van Zyl, asserting that he was arrested for the attempted illegal trade in 120 rhino horns. Wiggins makes darn sure we all know who this Pieter van Zyl is and trots out legal briefs written in 2014 plus information gleaned from Van Zyl’s website. Only, of course, he got it all muddled up and the Pieter van Zyl who is now out on "surprisingly lenient" bail of R20,000 is most definitely not the SAPA board member. WIGGINS HAS GOT THE WRONG MAN! This is such sloppy reporting. The accused is twenty five years older than the board member. Thirty seconds of fact-checking would have revealed the error.
At least Andrew Venter of Wildlands, a vehement opponent of SAPA, had the professional integrity to contact the Association to check facts before insulting Pieter Dreyer van Zyl, and so also did local newspaper Beeld. Why could Wiggins not likewise take 3 minutes out of his schedule and research to confirm such an important piece of detail? How embarrassing…
Wiggins’ other breathless denunciation is of SAPA’s generous efforts to feed the undernourished rhinos of Marloth Park. Reasonable people would think there is no sin in that, but agitators of Wiggins’ ilk will find a way even if it is based on the most tenuous of indications. Let’s be clear: there is nothing SAPA or its members can do which will find approval with Wiggins and his like. Should SAPA’s Pieter Dreyer van Zyl help a little old lady across the street, the Wiggins' of this world will be there, shrieking "kidnap!" and accusing Van Zyl of harbouring delusions of physical supremacy.
In this case Wiggins is giddy with outrage over a few "Photo-shopped" pictures on SAPA's website. SAPA's logos have been added to some of the vehicles delivering fodder to the rhinos of Leeuspruit Game Reserve. (Note that these logos display the truth.) They were added to vehicles belonging to members of SAPA there on SAPA business. SAPA responded as a matter of urgency because of newspaper reports that "the animals were dying in front of residents' eyes" – this is why they rushed off without even pausing to collect a SAPA banner. The markings on the pictures were not added deviously to vehicles not belonging to them.
The very next week SAPA was back with another cargo of feed for the distressed rhinos. This lucerne was transported by vehicles boldly displaying SAPA banners and other branding. They were gladly accepted into the park – but still reports refer only to the dear lady who a week earlier had "distanced" herself from SAPA. Park guards cheerfully posed for photographs with members of SAPA with the SAPA vehicles prominently on display. SAPA members, do not sneak around. They are clear and open when doing anything. And, most importantly, while this type of nit-picking by the antis was going on, the animals were only too happy to tuck into the fodder.
While anti-hunters are accusing SAPA of orchestrating a cheap publicity stunt, SAPA and its members have already sourced and delivered 3 loads of quality feed for the emaciated animals of Marloth Park.
Clearly Wiggins has very low professional standards and his integrity is in doubt. But, hey, he'd love to take your donations...
Meet the real Pieter van Zyl (right)
Watch the Video