Zoology beat

Update: my original title used “ornithology”.  Because I think I know words and sometimes actually don’t.

But a first and last zoology beat prolly, bc I doubt will have 4-5 items lining up with readers’ bailiwick and mine again.



It’s not often we are prompted to be aware that the animal rights people do not like zoos, as it seems like an extreme position if you do not have an incident like Harambe to argue from.  I think zoos are quite alright. To argue against them is to excessively anthropomorphize.  Or something.  Ya know, I’m just comfortable with mans’ place at the top of the hierarchy, tending and conserving, I think it’s proper wisdom.  There’s a universe of better arguments from people who can say it better…

I wondered about this, purely from the vocational angle.


I wondered about the tools and who on staff was capable of using them.  Gorillas and lions are very large animals.  You read American Rifleman over the years as I have, and it’s like a very robust deer rifle, a .30-06, wouldn’t be enough for them, you’d be getting into some safari calibers.  But…  I’m still guessing the zoo arsenal is .30-06’s of conventional bolt action makes, Remington, Ruger, Browning, Winchesters.

After a couple years of comment periods and back and forth between agencies, the African elephant ivory sales ban goes into effect rather suddenly here in the US:





There is such poor info and reporting on this that the one post I wrote 2 years ago still gets daily traffic from searchers.  I’ll say I can’t be the last word on how this effects pistol grip people, but I read it this way:

The de minimis exemption for musical instruments and a few other things does allow some wiggle room for say ivory handgun grips as ‘other things’.  But…

The new ESA di minimus exemption specifies:

  • If the item is located within the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990, or was imported into the United States under a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
  • (ii) If the item is located outside the United States, the ivory was removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976;
  • (iii) The ivory is a fixed or integral component or components of a larger manufactured or handcrafted item and is not in its current form the primary source of the value of the item, that is, the ivory does not account for more than 50 percent of the value of the item;
  • (iv) The ivory is not raw; (v) The manufactured or handcrafted item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory, that is, the ivory component or components do not account for more than 50 percent of the item by volume; (vi) The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams; and (vii) The item was manufactured or handcrafted before the effective date of this rule.

Ivory handgun grips usually weigh less than 7 oz, ie “200 grams”.  They usually weigh about 5-6 oz, so you see how that threshold in (iv) might be consciously crafted as an accommodation to the gun people.

Re (iii) “integral component” making up less than 50% of the broader items value….  Ivory revolver panels were $500 or so, 1911 panels were, I dunno, $250.  The guns they go on are generally over $1k, so we’re good there.

I and II are superficially as they were before but where the rubber meets the road is what seems to be very high expectations for good paperwork on a sale even when grips have been on a gun for some time.  IE, if you don’t have good paperwork, I don’t see how you can comfortably lay your thing out on a table at a gunshow … someone may ask to see paperwork, and they can probably confiscate when you don’t have it.

It’s a stifling change for that line of trade, makes it hard to feel comfortable selling a handgun with ivory grips.

New rendering from blanks is out of the question, that’s done also.  There were perhaps 5 – 10 guys doing it.

Note, Asian elephant ivory is not governed by this, but as a practical matter we’re talking the need for robust enough documentation to protect a fellow in transacting public sales….  And I’m not sure the robust type paperwork exists to distinguish between Asian and African ivory handgun grips that have been sold.

Big change for a narrow segment.


One thought on “Zoology beat

  1. pm1956

    First, more on animal lovers….

    regarding the people who might need to shoot a zoo animal…remember that these shots never take place at a great distance, and rarely do you have to worry about undergrowth or other obstructions. Elephants are a different story, and maybe something like a Cape buffalo would be hard to kill in a head shot, but usually it would not be difficult to get to the heart thru the rib cage. So a 30.06 should usually be more than enough. Accuracy is probably more important, and that often suffers in larger calibers (particularly if this is not something you do on a regular basis). Too much gun could be a real problem.

    One last thing to point out about Zoos…for better or worse, there is no more “wild”. All animals now live in areas managed and controlled by humans. There are no animals roams the great plains of Africa anymore. It is a series of conservation areas and national parks, as well as large private game farms. All of these are managed. Rangers will determine the carrying capacity, and adjust if there are too many elephants, etc. Zoos exist on a continuum–all “wild” animals are managed to one degree or another. The days of Daktari are over and gone. The Wild Kingdom is wild no more. Too much population pressure in Africa. And we are never going back to those days.


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