So what is 'Trophy Hunting"?
Trophy Hunting originated back in the 1800’s when hunters began to kill animals for specific body parts - often the head and pelt but made no use of the rest of the animal. Today, Trophy hunting is big business. Trophy Hunting is the tracking and shooting of a selected animal – usually, big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears. Although this can be done legally, under official government licences, it is always done for pleasure.
The ‘trophy’ can be the head, skin or any other body part of the animal the hunter wants to keep as a souvenir.
Trophy hunting is not the same as canned hunting. The Trophy hunters are searching for wild animals. They will track them, often for many hours before they ‘make their kill’. Canned hunting the animals are captive bred and live in enclosures. They may be tranquillised before being shot.
Trophy Hunters condemn Canned hunts as the ‘worst aspect of their ‘sport’ and many join us in the call to make breeding and captive hunting illegal.
Both types of hunters make much of their conservation work to protect the ‘prey’ species.
The Trophy hunters claim the ‘fees’ they pay are used to improve the habitat, help the remaining wild population and local communities. They do pay a lot of money - an adult male lion, with a black mane - like Cecil, would cost around $150,000 dollars. But these are ‘one-off’ payments - you can’t kill an animal twice - but some reports say as much as 97% of the fee paid will be syphoned off by hunters, agents and government officials. Certainly, the wild animals are not benefiting from being selectively killed for cash.
Canned hunters breed their animals, mainly lions. This is legal in South Africa. The Lions suffer throughout their short lives, first as ‘petting cubs’ then as ‘walking juveniles, before the breeder sells them to the hunters. There they wait in holding cages until they are selected to be shot. With their head and pelt used as ‘trophies’ and their body parts sold to the Asian medicine trade. Canned hunters pay from around $5000 dollars for a lioness to about $50,000 for an adult male.
Some countries do allow the hunting of endangered species by ‘sports hunters’ and, with approval from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is still possible to the hunters to take the trophies home to many countries.
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia allow trophy hunting of the ‘Big Five’ - Lion - Leopard - Rhinoceros - Elephant - and Cape Buffalo and many other species. Whilst Kenya banned all trophy hunting in 1977 and Botswana introduced a total ban in 2014.
In November 2017, US President Donald Trump announced he was overturning the ban on importing Animal body parts as trophies, brought in under the Obama Presidency in 2014. The US imported 126,000 animal body parts as trophies in the year before Obama’s ban - now, President Trump has legalised the killing of thousands of endangered African animals to become trophies on American hunters walls.
Allowing animals to be killed for sport makes no sense. Poachers already kill about 100 elephants and 3 to 4 rhinos every day in Africa, so allowing hunters to kill even more animals, to us, is completely wrong. We must act now before the iconic and wonderful wild animals of Africa are driven into the history book for trophies and trinkets