Each year, hundreds of thousands of wild animals around the world are killed for their heads, hides, pelts and other body parts. This is known as trophy hunting which has been around for decades first popular amongst presidents, kings, wealthy sportsmen, few women and nowadays even doctors, dentists, and accountants who can afford it partake in this activity as well.
In 2015, a lion named Cecil who was a major attraction of the Hwange National Park and also part of a long term study by a research team of the University of Oxford, was cruelly murdered by Walter Palmer, an American dentist. The death of the loveable lion shed light on trophy hunting and sparked international outrage.
The Safari Club International (SCI) holds a convention every year for hunters. The convention occupies 650,000 square feet of exhibit space. SCI members go to book hunts, shop for the latest guns, and hunting equipment. A succesful 14 day hunt for a rhino costs $66,790 including trophy fees, the smallest of a hunt which is 5 days in New Zealand for an elk will cost $24,000.
Hunters argue that their activities actually support conservation by boosting local economies and “providing incentives for the preservation of land and wildlife for high-paying hunters.” According to the article, Exclusive: Hard Numbers Reveal Scale of America’s Trophy-Hunting Habit written by Rachael Bale, many Conservationists, animal welfare advocates, and many scientists argue that hunting for sport in fact puts pressure on vulnerable populations, disrupts social networks, and doesn’t pump money into local economies as much as hunters believe.
Sabrina Corgetelli, a self titled, “Italian Huntress” and accountant posts numerous photos of herself on her social media with her trophy kills. On a particular kill of a giraffe she exclaims, “Day #2 I got an amazing old giraffe. Such an amazing animal!!!!! I couldn’t be happier.” After receiving backlash from animal rights activists she defended her posts by saying, “There is a connection to the animal, and just because we hunt them doesn't mean we don't have respect for them.”
While trophy hunting is legal in many countries the hunting and killing of innocent animals remains a very controversial action.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, 1.26 million wildlife trophies were imported to the United States between the years 2005 and 2014. That averages 126,000 a year and 345 trophy imports a day. Over 1,200 species are hunted and killed as trophies including Africa’s Big 5 which include buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos. And only 9 states have banned the sale of ivory to protect elephants from hunting and poaching.
On January 12, in Pan Pacific Park , LA there will be a rally held to protest trophy hunting. Show support for those vulnerable and endangered species by coming along. Bring a friend and be a part of the change.