We already know that the Bush administration has a penchant for astonishingly inappropriate government appointments (think John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz). Nevertheless, is it really the best idea to appoint a former trophy-hunting advocate as acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? Matthew J. Hogan, tapped by Bush's Interior Secretary Gale Norton for the position in a quiet announcement last Thursday, is a former lobbyist for Safari Club International -- a group whose members shoot and import leopards, antelopes, hippos, elephants, bears, and other exotic and threatened animals. And it is U.S. Fish and Wildlife that is tasked with granting or denying them their trophy hunting permits.
Hogan will serve as temporary director until a replacement can be found. The Humane Society has decried the appointment, for the sake of any number of rare species worldwide. According to their press release, with Hogan at the helm it may well be time to lock 'n' load: "SCI members shoot prescribed lists of animals to win so-called Grand Slam and Inner Circle titles. There's the Africa Big Five (leopard, elephant, lion, rhino, and buffalo), the North American Twenty Nine (all species of bear, bison, sheep, moose, caribou, and deer), Big Cats of the World, Antlered Game of the Americas, and many other contests. To complete all 29 award categories, a hunter must kill a minimum of 322 separate species and sub-species -- enough to populate a large zoo."