Donald Trump Jr is shooting endangered species again and it's actually tragic

Joe Sommerlad@JoeSommerlad
Thursday 12 December 2019 14:45
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Don Jr has been on holiday hunting endangered animals in Mongolia(iStock/donaldjtrumpjr/Instagram)

Donald Trump's god-awful son Don Jr visited western Mongolia on a trophy hunting expedition in August and bagged himself a rare argali sheep –​ an endangered species of which there are only a few thousand left in the world. Tragically, tourists can still hunt them if they have a special permit.

Junior does have the necessary paperwork but only because he was retroactively granted the pass on 2 September, weeks after his trip to the plains of Central Asia on which he also met with the country's president Khaltmaagiin Battulga, according to ProPublica.

The largest sheep species in the world, argali are considered a national treasure in Mongolia – prized for their ornate curved horns, which can grow to six feet in length – but their numbers have sadly dwindled from 50,000 in 1985 to just 18,000 in 2009, according to the latest survey by conservationists.

The killing itself played out like the Hungarian boar hunting scene from Succession, with Don Jr downing the ram late at night using a laser-sighted rifle.

He also killed a red deer during the trip, on which he was joined by his 13-year-old half-brother Barron, his son Donnie, five American bodyguards and a number of Mongolian guides, scouts and herders.

The president's son documented his holiday extensively on Instagram and Facebook, posting pictures of his luxury yurt, riding on horseback, handling a live eagle and navigating the snowbound steppes.

A spokesman for Don Jr claimed he bought the seven-day jaunt at a charity auction held by the NRA back in 2015 but only this year had a chance to take it, adding that he and his entourage flew in and out on a commercial flight rather than Air Force One.

While that all sounds plausible enough, Battulga just so happens to have visited President Trump at the White House on 31 July to discuss strengthening ties between Mongolia and the United States and gifted the Trumps a horse, which the president named "Victory".

As for the permit, ProPublica describes the process of awarding them in Mongolia as "controlled by an opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections and politics".

Don Jr's was one of only three issued in the region this summer, with the decision to award it after he'd left described as "unusual".

Like many conservative North American males harbouring survivalist fantasies, Trump's eldest clearly fancies himself as a great outdoorsman, having been on numerous big game hunting trips before and posed in Trump-branded camouflage for the family merchandise site, despite never coming close to actually serving in the military.

Actress and activist Mia Farrow recently trolled the president with a picture of Don Jr and his brother Eric posing with a dead leopard following the passing of a bill by Congress making animal cruelty a felony.

As with so many things, President Trump himself has given mixed messages on the subject and appears confused about his own opinions.

He doesn't seem to want to condemn his kids murdering their way through the animal kingdom but also branded the practice a "horror show" in November 2017.

More: Mia Farrow uses hunting photo to call out Trump's children after president signs animal cruelty bill

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