WATCH | An undercover look inside one of the world's biggest hunting conventions

2020-02-13 14:45 - Marisa Crous
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As animal protection organisations fight for the survival of many African wildlife species, an undercover investigation by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States recently exposed exhibitors peddling wild animal products and pay-to-slay trophy hunts at the Safari Club International convention in Nevada, USA.

What they uncovered was shocking, to say the least.

The SCI convention is one of the world largest trophy hunting expos with over 870 exhibitors from 34 countries and more than ten thousand attendees. Sale offerings at the February 2020 event included a captive-bred lion hunt in South Africa for $8 000. One South African outfitter said hunting a giraffe costs “only” $1 200 because they have “too many giraffes” and need to “get rid of the animals.” 

Among some of the pay-to-slay options was a “dream hunt” with Donald Trump Jr. in a luxury yacht in Alaska to kill black-tailed deer and sea ducks was sold at auction for a whopping $340 000. A taxidermy ibex mountain goat that Trump Jr. reportedly killed was on display on the convention floor.

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(PHOTO: Humane Society) 

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Other horrifying hunting trips for sale at the SCI 2020 convention included:

• A $350 000 hunt for a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia. 

• An outfitter advertised its “Trump Special” - a $25 000 hunt for a buffalo, sable, roan and crocodile. 

• A $6 000 hunt for any six animals that a customer can choose to kill in South Africa, such as zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, impalas, hartebeest, gemsbok, nyala, and waterbuck. 

• A $13 000 hunt for black-backed jackal, African wildcat, caracal and bat-eared foxes in South Africa.

• A tuskless elephant hunt in Zambia for $14 500.

• A polar bear hunt in Canada sold for $60 000.  

• An Asiatic black bear hunt in Russia for $15 000. 

• Four South African exhibitors offered to sell or broker captive-bred lion hunts. 

Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for Humane Society International/Africa said, “We are devastated to see the SCI convention offering so many opportunities to destroy our already-threatened wildlife, including giraffes which was listed on Appendix II by CITES last year. Giraffe numbers have declined by 40% in the past 30 years, plummeting to fewer than 69 000 mature animals left in the wild, and here we have exhibitors offering their destruction.

"The sale of canned lion hunts at the convention is also a huge concern - violating SCI’s own ban that it implemented in 2018. In South Africa there are more lions bred in captivity than exist in the wild, with as few as 3,000 wild lions roaming freely compared to 8 in captivity. Studies show that captive lion breeding and canned trophy hunting do not support conservation, are wrought with welfare travesties and are simply money-driven industries that benefit a handful. It’s time for this needless cruelty to stop.” 

READ: SATSA clarifies 'erroneous SA wildlife interactions ban'

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “Our shocking investigation shows that no animals are off limits to trophy hunters. From shooting giraffes, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, primates and lions in Africa to deer, ibex and wild boar in the UK and Europe, the trophy hunting industry reveals its true nature – one that is motivated by the thrill to kill, and not by conservation.”

According to CITES trade data, South Africa is the second largest hunting trophy exporting nation after Canada.

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