Friday, September 4, 2015

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Trophy Hunting Scourge

Steven Katsineris hits out at trophy hunters. Steven Katsineris is a Melbourne based writer and activist.


Dear Editor, 

Hunters are responsible for the barbaric killing of thousands of animals in Africa. It’s time to ban trophy imports and put an end to this perverse “sport”. 

In July, a US hunter killed Cecil, Zimbabwe’s iconic black-maned lion. Two helpers used bait to lure him out of the safety of Hwange National Park. The hunter initially shot Cecil with a bow and arrow. The lion then suffered for over 40 hours before the hunter succeeded in killing him. The carcass was found skinned and headless and the hunters had unsuccessfully tried to destroy Cecil’s GPS collar. The hunter paid $55,000 to shoot the lion. His helpers have since been arrested and authorities want to question the hunter. 

The African Lion is classed as vulnerable and its population has plummeted to about 32,000 a drop of 42 percent over the past 21 years. Their situation is especially dire in West Africa. Lions suffer from dwindling habitat, a lack of prey and indiscriminate killing by ranchers seeking to protect livestock. Others are killed in cruel “Canned hunting” actions, a repulsive spectacle, in which lions are bred for the sole purpose of being killed by rich tourists. 

Cecil was a popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe. Wildlife tourism is an important economic benefit to African countries, so protecting and leaving lions and other wild animals to roam free is the best, humane and most sustainable way for these nations to gain valuable revenue and this also conserves precious wildlife and their habitats.

The US and EU indirectly aid trophy hunting by allowing the import of animal parts from many endangered species. Every year, hunters import around 200 lion trophies to Europe and about 300 to the United States. Australia banned trophy hunting imports earlier this year. Call on US President Barack Obama and European Commission to prohibit the import of trophies of all vulnerable and endangered species without exception. Let’s end trophy hunting now!

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