Idaho State University Employee Triggers Outrage With Taunting Pictures of Big Game Kills In Africa

Sabrina-Corgatelli_3395602bThe alleged unlawful killing of two lions by two separate American doctors has caused an international outcry and demands for extradition to Zimbabwe for prosecution. (here and here). However, one American woman is using the controversies to taunt animal lovers and apparently drive up traffic on her Facebook site. Sabrina Corgatelli is believed to come from Boise, Idaho and is reportedly a university accountant at Idaho State University who also runs a clothing company called Racks and Ridges. She teased those objecting to the illegal hunts by saying “To all the haters. Stay tuned, you’re gonna have so much more to be pissed off about.” She then posted various photos from the “trip of a lifetime” posing with the corpses of a giraffe, warthog, kudu and impala during a trip to South Africa. To be sure to ignite those grieving over the death of Cecil the Lion, Corgatelli posted a series of pictures with such notes as “All you haters, This is for you!! Have a great day, cuz I know I will!!’

Sabrina-Corgatelli_3395604bThere is no indication that the killings by Corgatelli were illegal. However, the postings have deepened the debate over trophy hunts in Africa and other countries. What is most interesting in this public debate is the total disconnect in how both sides view the experience. Frankly, as a lifelong hiker, I journey great distances to see animals in the wild and could not imagine shooting them and posing with their dead bodies. Yet, this precisely the “beauty” that people like Corgatelli refer to in such “trips of a lifetime.” After shooting a large African antelope called a kudu, she wrote “Yesterday, day 1 an amazing day!!! Got my beautiful beautiful Kudu!! It was my #1 want on my list and I got him on the first day!!! Loving it there!!” Likewise, after killing a giraffe, she wrote “Such an amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!”

Those postings leaves animal advocates and many environmentalists seething at the notion that one sees such an “amazing animal” and then extracts joy from killing it. After killing a huge warthog, Corgatelli rejoiced in killing “one of Africa’s icons.”

I am truly fascinated by the cultural and emotive divergence in such stories. Many hunters are in fact committed environmentalists and love and respect nature. The current debate has not seriously raised questions over deer, duck, and other common hunting game which are plentiful. It is focused on “big game.” Moreover, places like South Africa make a huge amount of money on eco-tourism, particularly photo safaris. These countries risk a backlash if they are also hosting people who want the joy of killing the very same animals. Notably, giraffe hunts are allowed for trophies despite the fact that the giraffe population has been reportedly falling. A package for wealthy hunters allows them to kill multiple animals for $5,400 while the giraffe carries a ‘trophy fee’ of $2,600 by itself.

Corgatelli_warthog_3395607b Corgatelli has become the target of outrage but her postings have also generated more than 7,000 “likes.” In response to those leaving irate messages, she posted a biblical reference from Genesis 9:3 in which God tells Isaac: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” It is not clear if she ate warthog and the hundreds of pounds of meat that she killed or gave the meat to locals.

2B07153A00000578-3182671-Defiant_Corgatelli_keeps_up_her_posts_despite_a_tide_of_protest-a-8_1438485747892When actively seeking such notoriety, there is also a possible backlash at a university for an employee. Idaho is a big hunting state so the backlash is likely to be far less than at many other universities. Some people have posted demands that she be fired. As I have argued in the past, I do not believe that it is appropriate for universities to take action. Corgatelli has free speech rights and what she is doing appears perfectly legal. We have a disagreement for what is fun. Where some of us see the beauty in watching animals in the wild and leaving them in pristine locations, others like Corgatelli long to kill those animals. We disagree but that is no reason to seek to punish Corgatelli because she is open about his passion for big game hunting or her desire to participate in the international debate as a hunter advocate. I certainly believe that it is inappropriate for a university to chill such speech and punish those with different values. Ironically, the taunts of Corgatelli likely embarrass most hunters and work to the advantage of animal activists calling for new laws barring such trophy hunts in Africa.

For my part, I am still in Yosemite hiking with the kids in some of the most beautiful locations in the world. I would be thrilled to see a mountain lion today and enjoy not just watching it but leaving it in this wonderful place. Indeed, knowledge that it is still up in these mountains is part of my “trip of a lifetime.”


112 thoughts on “Idaho State University Employee Triggers Outrage With Taunting Pictures of Big Game Kills In Africa”

  1. Oh, and Antonio, I don’t find any hunter “repugnant” so long as they and their family consume the meat from the hunt. If they are just thrill seeking trophy hunters, yeah….repugnant.
    But, by all means, please secede.

  2. Anyhow, gotta go kill me a condor….I hear it goes great with arugula

    Be careful. Don’t let it barf all over you. Condors are just bigger vultures and barfing is a defense mechanism. Trust me on this.

  3. Historically speaking, people quoting religion or their divine right to “kill” is a bad thing. Genesis 9:3 says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” Genesis 27:3 says, “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.”

    The Chinese sage Chuang-tzu has said: ”By ethical argument and moral principle the greatest crimes are shown to have been necessary and in fact, a great benefit for mankind. DOB c. 369 BC
    DOD c. 286 BC

  4. I can’t understand the hunting mentality when it is not directly linked to getting food. Hunters down here eat the deer they shoot, and the ducks, and the bears, and the wild boars, and they even process alligator meat.

    I prefer to feed them and watch them. Several times a day I throw out bread and bird seed on the steps and the grass. The door is almost entirely glass, so while I sit in my recliner and type and surf, I get to watch the little critters all coming there to eat. Sometimes I will have 6 or more doves on the porch, and a bluejay, a woodpecker, and a dozen little sparrows all at the same time. Then, there are the squirrels who come, too. I get to watch little baby birds being fed by their mommies and daddies. The cats love all the excitement too!

    Then at night, I usually throw out a few pieces of bread for the raccoons and possums who visit. They will get on the porch and look in the door. One raccoon was coming with her 5 babies a few weeks ago. The water is not far from here, so they have gone back there now that the flood levels are down some.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Mark

    You enjoy listening to NPR and eating arugula and she enjoys big game hunting. Who died and made you morally superior? I have an idea. If people such as Sabrina (and I) are so morally backward and repugnant let us go! Secession yes.

  6. does the wrist rocket kill the squirrels or chase them away?

    If you do it right, it kills them, or wounds them so the cat can finish the job. Unfortunately it doesn’t chase them away. They just go back and hide in their burrows and continue to undermine the property. I would poison them, but then the grain would poison the birds and other animals, including foxes. We can trap them too. One guy down the road has already trapped over 50 of the little pri|cks so far this year on his property. I used to throw out grain on the ground for the wild birds and quail. I can’t do that now because the squirrels stuff their cheeks and run off with the grain.

    I know about the tapeworms too. The cats have to be de-wormed and treated for other pesty things twice a year. What a pain in the patootey.

    You can get a regular one at Tractor Supply or other farm type store. Amazon for the more elaborate hunting types that have greater distance and accuracy.

  7. It never ceases to amaze how the ‘love and tolerance’ crowd attempts to smear (and destroy) if possible those who hold beliefs or choose to live differently than they believe proper. Why else would one post this lady’s email address?

    I grew up hunting but always consumed (or donated) any game taken.

    While I do not hunt for sport, if done with the proper permits and licenses, and a species is not hunted to extinction, what is wrong with this practice?

    I wonder how many of those tearing their clothing over this LEGAL hunt are pro-life or vegetarians? I have always found it disturbing when people care more about animals than other human beings.

    And before you libs condemn me as some yayhoo, you’re entitled to hate, you can’t! I am Hispanic, a member of a ‘victim’ group you profess to love.

  8. Davidm:

    I did forget that. Thanks for reminding me. Were papers and articles on the value of trophy hunting to conservation published often when you were in academia? It’s hard to find people speaking from the landowner’s perspective now, although there are some working to make the relationship with landowners more of a partnership than adversarial.

  9. Max – one of the most marvelous experiences I ever had was petting a rhino owned by a friend of a friend, an animal trainer. He was so good to his animals that they all adored him and played with him. You should have seen him playing with his elephants. This rhino was as sweet as a golden retriever, although you had to be careful of his horn, because he could accidentally trip you.

    I asked him, how do you control him at a photo shoot? Do you even bother to put a halter on him? It’s not like you could change his direction if he didn’t want to turn. He said the rhino just follows him around. And it’s true. He did. Just like a big dog that could crush your foot if he stepped on you.

    The big killer of white rhinos was money and sex. Rhino horn is considered an aphrodisiac in China and other areas, and it is worth a lot of money. Sad.

  10. There’s only FOUR NORTHERN WHITE RHINO’S alive…
    … This is a result of human hubris.

  11. DBQ – does the wrist rocket kill the squirrels or chase them away? Can you actually make them move far, far away if you pelt them enough times? If so, where can I get one of those? Squirrels still carry the plague, so I’m not too happy about the population boom at my place right now. And their fleas carry tapeworm, so when one of my dogs get one, I have to deworm him.

    I’m seriously feeling like Bill Murray in Caddyshack.

  12. davidm:

    You are entirely correct, that trophy hunting often provides meat to locals, unless the target animal is a predator. Predators like lions or leopards are typically not consumed as meat, but their parts fuel a booming market for aphrodisiacs in China and other parts of the country, as well as the fur and head being popular trophies in the US.

    The article I linked to was remarkable, in that it is incredibly rare for academia to discuss any positive impact possible with trophy hunting. That is why my relative required his students to read it, in order for them to gain some perspective about different sides of the issue, and then have meaningful discussion about different points of view, including the locals.

    1. Karen S wrote: “The article I linked to was remarkable, in that it is incredibly rare for academia to discuss any positive impact possible with trophy hunting.”

      Perhaps you don’t remember, but I am an ecologist. When I was publishing in science, my specialty was the ecology and evolution of vertebrates. I am no longer working in academia, so maybe things have changed some, but when I was there, we often discussed the value of trophy hunters for conservation. The ones who are most interested in conservation are hunters and fisherman. They want to be responsible and want to make sure they do not destroy the resources that they love so much.

  13. Steg:

    I feel your pain about your squirrels. I have never harvested a single piece of fruit from my 15 fruit trees that came with the house. So I’m cutting them all down and replacing them with more water wise plantings. Why waste the water if the rodents won’t leave any fruit for me? I plan to buy one or two self pollinating trees to put in the backyard, patrolled by my dogs.

    On a side note, this brings to mind one of my pet peeves. I roll my eyes when I hear people oppose hunting game for food, if they wear any leather, eat any animal products including eggs and dairy, own any carnivorous pets like a dog or a cat, use any cosmetic products that contain animal products, or ever receive a vaccine with bovine products. Heck, anyone who has received a medication of any kind or ever seen a psychologist or psychiatrist is benefitting from the deaths of a significant number of animals in a lab. Do you know how we learned how to do skin grafts on burn victims? Hint – it included pigs and a blow torch. I can’t even look at a beagle without remembering how all the canine animal studies for new drugs I ever saw used beagles.

    Hunting game for food, when properly done with good sportsmanship, respect for the animal, and a clean kill, allows the animal to live a healthy life, wild and free. And they never know what hit them. Compare that life and death with the fate of cattle crammed into feed lots, and then the slaughterhouse. That is why it’s incredible to me that there are people who make hunting game for food an issue at all, when it’s done legally and properly.

  14. Isaac:

    I completely agree with this part:

    “What is perverse, however, is the desire to kill and the thrill some people get from killing a magnificent animal. You don’t see many, if any, prairie dogs mounted on rec room walls. “I killed that.” seems to be a necessary part of the identity of some. Not, I worked to balance the nature of an area in Africa where Lions had been overpopulating and were becoming a threat to villagers as well as themselves, but I killed that and it made me feel great.”

    As for our early ancestors’ attitude towards hunting big game, at a time before firearms, hunting a big predator was a test of bravery. It took a lot of courage and luck to kill a cave lion with a spear, and it protected the village from danger. You had to be strong and accurate to throw your spear far, and brave to get close enough to a huge predator who can outrun you to do it. Even as recently as Native Americans, it took bravery and skill to ride your bareback horse into a herd of stampeding buffalo and bring one down, and they were proud of the meat and furs they provided, while also respecting the sacrifice of the animal.

    Trophy hunting today, where you have a long range, high caliber weapon, and are surrounded by armed guides to protect you, and they use drones and a team of trackers to find it for you – what the heck are these people so proud of? It’s not like they took out their folding knife and went toe to paw with a man eater and saved a village.

    1. Karen –

      Even as recently as Native Americans, it took bravery and skill to ride your bareback horse into a herd of stampeding buffalo and bring one down, and they were proud of the meat and furs they provided, while also respecting the sacrifice of the animal.

      Best guess is that they rode on the outside of the herd, and picked they off, first with their bow. When the rifle became available, then they used that. The horse and the rifle are all gifts of the evil white man. No one in their right mind gets in the middle of the stampede.

  15. STFU already about fetuses unless you’re willing to write a check for their upkeep and college.

    Really? This is our choice. Support other people’s children or agree to have them murdered and sold for body parts.

    Sounds a bit like extortion to me.

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