US & Canada

Idaho wildlife official resigns over dead baboon photo

Blake Fischer posing in Africa above a kill Image copyright Governor Otter's Office
Image caption Blake Fischer has resigned after an email sharing photos of his hunts went viral online

A wildlife official in Idaho has resigned amid a public outcry over his photos of dead animals, killed during a hunting trip in Africa.

Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer has apologised for the images.

A photo of him smiling while holding a family of dead baboons, including a bloodied baby, sparked the most outrage among colleagues and online.

Governor C L Otter said he requested Mr Fischer's resignation as he failed "to exercise good judgment".

The governor said in a press release: "I have high expectations and standards for every appointee in state government. Every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not."

Warning: Some viewers may find the images below upsetting.

In September, Mr Fischer emailed his colleagues various photos of himself posing with his kills in Namibia. This hunting trip was reportedly legal.

Among the images were photos of Mr Fischer smiling above a family of dead baboons, a giraffe, an antelope and a leopard.

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Mr Fischer reportedly sent this image to co-workers while bragging about his hunting exploits

Local media report that Mr Fischer bragged about his hunts in the email, saying his wife wanted to get "a feel" of Africa, "so I shot a whole family of baboons. I think she got the idea real quick".

With the photo of the leopard, he reportedly wrote: "I shot a leopard. Super cool, super lucky."

After the email made the rounds, several former fish-and-game commissioners began calling for Mr Fischer to resign.

According to the Idaho Statesman, which broke the story, ex-commissioner Fred Trevey said in an email to Mr Fischer: "I'm sure what you did was legal, however, legal does not make it right."

"Sportsmanlike behaviour is the centre pin to maintaining hunting as a socially acceptable activity," Mr Trevey said, adding that Mr Fischer's actions dismayed and disappointed him.

Another ex-commissioner told the newspaper that killing a whole family of animals was "revolting".

In his resignation letter, sent to the governor's office, Mr Fischer apologised to his fellow hunters and anglers.

Image copyright Governor Otter's Office
Image caption Mr Fischer reportedly said of this image: "I shot a leopard. Super cool, super lucky."

"I recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt which did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested," he wrote, CBS News reported.

"While these actions were out of character for me, I fully accept responsibility."

Fish-and-game officials are appointed by the governor and are unpaid positions.

Mr Fischer would have been in the role until June 2022. The governor's office said the process of finding his replacement has begun.

The uproar around Mr Fischer's photos is the latest backlash against US trophy hunters.

Perhaps the most publicised case in recent years was Cecil the lion, who was killed in 2016 by an American dentist.

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