SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho wildlife official was forced to resign on Monday after photographs of him posing with a family of baboons and other wild creatures he killed in September during a hunting trip in Africa went viral online, igniting a firestorm of criticism.
In a resignation letter to Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter, state Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer cited poor judgment in posting the images.
“I 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,” he wrote.
Otter, who first appointed Fischer to the seven-member commission in 2014, said he asked for and received Fischer’s resignation on Monday.
“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,” Otter said in a statement.
Fischer did not respond to an emailed request for comment Monday.
Among the pictures is one of Fischer smiling while propping up the heads of bloodied baboon carcasses, including that of a baby in its mother’s embrace.
Images of Fischer and his kills, including a giraffe and a leopard in Namibia, sparked global outrage and led to the unprecedented call by former fish and game commissioners that he step down.
“The photo of him and the baboons, a family, it’s absolutely deplorable and totally contradicts everything that game management is about,” retired Fish and Game Commissioner Gary Power told Reuters on Monday.
In his letter, Fischer apologized to the hunters and anglers of Idaho and expressed the hope that “my actions will not harm the integrity and ethic” of the state’s wildlife agency.
Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Clarence Fernandez