Opinion

GoDaddy CEO under fire for shooting elephant

We have all become wearingly familiar with the phrase "the elephant in the room", but Bob Parsons, CEO at domain and hosting provider GoDaddy has come up with a different take on it: "the elephant in the video", specifically the video he posted of him and a team of hunters shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe. Unlike its counterpart in the room (the one over there that you're ignoring right now), this one is getting a lot of attention.

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Condemnation has been swift from the likes of animal rights group PETA, while rival NameCheap.com has already launched a promotion for customers to transfer accounts with 20% of the proceeds going to SaveTheElephants.com. 

In an interview with mashable.com, Parsons sought to justify the shooting by claiming he was helping poor villagers to protect their crops from a herd of marauding elephants. While it's definitely the case elephants can damage villagers' crops, killing them might seem a rather extreme form of deterrence. 

"In Zimbabwe, the people there are incredibly impoverished," he told mashable.com. "They treasure an empty plastic water bottle. It's heart-wrenching to watch," adding that if the villagers had no crops to harvest, they would starve. But as some have pointed out, there are other ways of keeping elephants away from crops that don't involve killing them. And there are other ways Parsons could help the villagers out of their impoverished state other than shooting elephants.

He also neglects to say that one of the reasons elephants are coming into conflict with people and trampling crops is that humans have started to encroach on areas which, up until recently, were solely inhabited by wildlife which, when you think of it, is the elephant in the room.


This was first published in April 2011

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