Trophy hunting in Africa

Continuing abuse of wildlife is a question of world heritage. Trophy hunting industry is not about sustainable use of natural resources but continuing abuse.

The advocators for trophy hunting usually claim:

  • Lions bred and raised in captivity help saving wild lions
  • Trophy hunting is a source of income for local communities
  • Trophy hunting is sustainable and controlled use of natural resources and it helps against poaching
  • Trophy hunting is legal

Educate yourself to answer these, in many ways, weak arguments.

It is evident that in breeding farms wild animals are in the process of domestication. Hunting industry has also encouraged and increased wildlife trade from other parts of Africa to South Africa to add their limited gene pools.

Conservation of biological diversity is based on acknowledging

  • Diversity of natural ecosystems
  • Biodiversity within the ecosystem and
  • Genetic diversity of species

Trophy hunting industry does not acknowledge any of these fundamental principles. According to conservation specialists, trophy hunting has no value in conservation work. For example African Lion Working Group has recently made a statement about this.

Since trophy hunting is a global business many have taken action against it all around the world. Locally it is not possible to solve because hunters and volunteers are mainly coming from abroad to hunt in Africa.

Ian Michler, a South African wildlife journalist, photographer and safari operator has been following hunting practices for 25 years in 15 different African countries. The documentary Blood Lions, in which Michler is one of the leading characters, had a premiere in 2015. Since then the Blood Lion Team has been touring all over the world talking of the unspoken secret about canned trophy hunting.

Incidents like the illegal hunting of Cecil the Lion have already had their effect on whole tourism branch in Africa as canned hunting and other abusive ways of using wildlife have tarnished the reputation of many countries.

In Europe

Trophy Free EU Group (TFEU Group) was founded in 2014 in Finland as a joint project between Animalia, SEY Finnish Animal Protection Association, Finnish Nature League and TESY Turku Animal Protection Organisation. The group co-works to raise awareness via media, decision makers, travel agencies and hunting organizations among other activities. The final goal is a complete ban of all hunting trophy importation to Finland and to European Union.

Other initiatives

A vivid debate is going on in many European countries in what can be done to address the problems of trophy hunting in Africa. Some groups that have taken an active stance are for example Eurogroup for Animals, Born Free Foundation and Swiss Animal Protection SAP. Several airline companies have also announced a ban for trophies as cargo.

France has banned importing of lion trophies in 2015. There is a process going on in France to consider if other species will be added to the list. In Britain, there is an intention to ban trophy import in 2017 unless hunting business changes it practices.

Australia has banned all lion trophy importation as the first country in the world. Learn more: No More Lion Trophies to Australia.