Happy Hunting!

The latest radiolab episode, “The Rhino Hunter”, has no doubt outraged environmentalists everywhere thanks to its suggestion, through the mouth of Corey Knowlton, expert hunter and Texas millionaire, that we must hunt wildlife in order to save it. His reasoning is that by paying enormous amounts of money—in Knowlton’s case, $350,000 for a ticket, issued by the government of Namibia, to shoot a single black rhino wandering its wilds—endangered species across the planet can not only be saved, but encouraged to breed and multiply, since most if not all of the money for the ticket in question goes toward anti-poaching and general preservation efforts. The proof of this policy is in the pudding: the old rhino Knowlton ultimately wound up killing was murdering his fellow rhinos anyway, and was past breeding age, while the government of Namibia has reported that the population of black rhinos has been increasing substantially since this new policy of allowing hunters to take down a few for a hefty price every now and then was put into effect.

Little do environmentalists know, however, that similar policies have been put into place across the planet, and not just with endangered species, but with the more unfortunate members of Homo sapiens as well. India, as is well known, has a bit of an orphan problem: over twenty million orphans are running in the streets of the subcontinent’s towns and cities, according to the Hindustan Times, and few if any of them have access to clean water, food, or shelter. They are, in effect, totally penniless, and, much like the endangered animals of Africa, they possess little if any intrinsic value. These orphans spend much of their time running about the streets, begging tourists for money and picking the pockets of the unwary. If they can’t be put to work in some profitable way, as Knowlton argues in the case of black rhinos, they are worthless.

The Indian government therefore has been attempting, since January 2010, to increase the value of its incredibly high population of orphans, by opening them up to wealthy hunters like Mr. Knowlton. In exchange for a very affordable $15,000, or about one million Indian rupees, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will issue a ticket to bag, as it were, approximately one orphan, with all the proceeds going toward providing the surviving orphans of India with “as much food, water, and shelter, as they shall require, into perpetuity.” It is hoped, according to Minister Shri. Jagat Prakash Nadda, that by culling the population of orphans and by placing a specific dollar value on an individual orphan’s life ($15,000), “the orphan population of India can achieve the same level of comfort as that of the Indian middle classes.” The black rhinos of Africa would, after all, no doubt express appreciation for the level of interest Mr. Knowlton has shown in hunting them, were they intelligent enough to speak for themselves.

Hunters who are interested in this unique experience should apply through the Ministry’s website, and be prepared to work with a local guide. Subsequent to bagging their first of what will hopefully be many so-called “trophy orphans” (a blind teenager who has no friends or dependents), any interested hunters should first pose on top of their kill, photograph themselves smiling with it, as Mr. Knowlton has done with numerous appreciative beasts, and then carve it and clean it for display like any other carcass. Over two hundred international hunters, bored with hunting wolves and tigers from attack helicopters, have already taken part in this new and exciting enterprise, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is proud to report that it has been able to take thousands of orphans off the streets—though orphans with actual homes are still fair game, so long as hunters are willing to tack an extra zero onto the already highly-affordable price tag! All Indian orphans need to be aware of the common good, after all, as trophy hunters everywhere already are, hunting for sport, in the name of preservation, killing animals to save them with high-powered rifles and carbon fiber bows—just as our prehistoric ancestors did. Happy Hunting!