A top Idaho wildlife official has resigned amid outrage over a photo of him posing with a baboon family he killed in Africa.
Idaho governor CL “Butch” Otter said in a statement that he asked for and accepted Blake Fischer’s resignation on Monday, three days after the Idaho Statesman newspaper published the first report about a photo of Fischer smiling with four dead baboons propped in front of him.
Fischer and his wife shot at least 14 animals in Namibia according to the photos and descriptions in an email he sent to more than 100 recipients.
The baboon family photo showed blood visible on the abdomen of the smallest baboon, its head lolling back to rest on the chest of one of the dead adult baboons. Fischer killed them using a bow and arrows, visible in the bottom of the picture.
Fischer was one of seven members on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. Otter appoints commissioners and under Idaho law can also remove them. Otter appointed Fischer in 2014 and reappointed him in June.
“I have high expectations and standards for every appointee in state government,” Otter said. “Every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not.”
Fischer did not apologize for killing the baboons but said in his resignation to Otter that he “recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested”.
Fischer and his wife also killed a giraffe, a leopard, an impala, a sable antelope, a waterbuck, a kudu, a warthog, a gemsbok (oryx) and an eland.
Most of the photos with the animals were posed, like the big game hunting photos from Idaho and other western US states showing hunters with dead deer, elk and mountain lions. The photo of the baboons caused at least two former Idaho Fish and Game Commission members to call for Fischer’s resignation.
“Sportsmanlike behavior is the center pin to maintaining hunting as a socially acceptable activity,” Fred Trevey wrote in an email forwarded to the governor’s office.
The commission Fischer served on makes policy decisions about Idaho’s wildlife, and often manages game populations through hunting and fishing regulations.
Those regulations are intended promote ethical hunting of wildlife. Some of Idaho’s policies, such as on wolf and grizzly bear hunting, have been challenged in federal courts.