A ban on the ‘repugnant’ hobby of rich people who enjoy hunting exotic animals would be bad for conservation, a group of scientists has claimed.

More than 130 authors from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and Africa signed the opinion piece in a respected scientific journal. 

They argue that there is compelling evidence that banning trophy hunting would negatively affect conservation. 

That’s because unregulated killing of species like lions can be far more prevalent in areas without trophy hunting than in hunting zones.     

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A ban on the 'repugnant' hobby of rich people who enjoy hunting exotic animals would be bad for conservation, a group of scientists has claimed. Pictured, a baby giraffe that was killed by trophy hunter Charlie Reynolds, right, on a trip run by Umlilo Safaris of South Africa

A ban on the ‘repugnant’ hobby of rich people who enjoy hunting exotic animals would be bad for conservation, a group of scientists has claimed. Pictured, a baby giraffe that was killed by trophy hunter Charlie Reynolds, right, on a trip run by Umlilo Safaris of South Africa

WHAT ANIMALS DO TROPHY HUNTERS TARGET? 

Hunters are known to prey on a broad range of species.

Common targets include:

  • Cheetahs 
  • Crocodiles
  • Elephants
  • Giraffes
  • Grey parrots
  • Rhinoceros
  • Chimpanzees. 

In African countries that do allow trophy hunting, ‘more land has been conserved than under National Parks,’ the authors write in the letter.

Regulated hunting has boosted populations of rhinos, markhor, argali, bighorn sheep, the experts claim.

Many African ungulates – large mammals with hoofs, including giraffes, deer, hippopotamuses and elephants – have also benefited.

The authors acknowledge that poorly managed trophy hunting can cause local population declines, and that there is’ considerable room for improvement’.

But, they say, ‘unless better land-use alternatives exist, hunting reforms—which have proved effective—should be prioritised over bans.’ 

Trophy hunting has hit the headlines over recent months, as a series of high profile figures have criticised the practice.

On August 8 Carrie Symonds, the 31-year-old girlfriend of Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit out at ‘cruel and cowardly’ British tourists who pay thousands to go on African trophy hunts and shoot animals including elephants and giraffes.

She took to Twitter to slam the hunters – who can choose to kill an animal from a list of 65 species including £1,666 ($2,030) extra to shoot a giraffe and £6,422 ($7,830) for a hippo.

Tourists embark on trips to countries including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe with tour operator Derek Stocker, 62, and his hunting company ProStalk.

While on the trips UK visitors can have souvenir pictures taken with their kills, and are even allowed to take parts of the animals back home.  

Comedian Ricky Gervais, known for his strong stance on animal cruelty, posted an expletive filled tweet on August 9 blasting a trophy hunter who shot dead a charging lion in a sickening video shared online. 

Comedian Ricky Gervais, known for his strong stance on animal cruelty, posted an expletive filled tweet on August 9 blasting a trophy hunter who shot dead a charging lion in a sickening video shared online and watched more than 5.8 million times

Comedian Ricky Gervais, known for his strong stance on animal cruelty, posted an expletive filled tweet on August 9 blasting a trophy hunter who shot dead a charging lion in a sickening video shared online and watched more than 5.8 million times 

The horrific 30-second clip shows a lion charge at a group of around ten men in a hunting party. 

But one of the hunters raises his rifle and shoots the lion dead as it leaps towards him, leaving it sprawled on the floor in a heap. 

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Sharing the clip on Twitter, the 58-year-old comedian said ‘useless c*** cluster of the day’ about a video since watched more than 5.8 million times. 

Dozens of European politicians and conservation groups earlier this month called for ban on the trophy hunting of such endangered species as elephants, giraffes and rhinos.

Commercial trade in more than 1,000 endangered species of animals and plants is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

These animals are listed under the convention’s so-called Appendix I.

Commercial trade in more than 1,000 endangered species of animals and plants is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The hunting of animals for trophies is exempt from this ban, as it is deemed as being 'non-commercial'.

Commercial trade in more than 1,000 endangered species of animals and plants is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The hunting of animals for trophies is exempt from this ban, as it is deemed as being ‘non-commercial’.

The hunting of animals for trophies, however, is exempt from this ban, as it is deemed as being ‘non-commercial’. 

MPs and wildlife groups — which numbered more than 50 each — petitioned CITES for a wider ban on August 18, 2019.

Plans for a total ban on the ‘cruel and indefensible’ import of wild animal trophies were unveiled in the UK by Labour on Monday, August 26.

In a move designed to steal a march on the Government, the party say sit is ready to act now to end the controversial trade in souvenirs stripped from the bodies of threatened species such as lions, elephants and rhinos.

The plan will form part of a new ‘animal welfare manifesto’ and is expected to be included in Labour’s wider manifesto in the event of a snap election this autumn.

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Ministers have already legislated for a ban on ivory sales and they are considering wider restrictions on animal trophies. 

The full contents of the opinion letter can be found in the journal Science



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