POLL: Should trophy and big game hunting be banned?

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Around 1.7m animal “trophies” have been exported across borders by hunters in the last decade, with at least 200,000 of them , according to a new report.

US hunters are by far the largest killers of trophy animals, including half of all the 11,000 lions shot in the last decade, the report found. The issue came to global attention in July 2015, after a US dentist paid more than $50,000 to kill a lion called Cecil, who was being tracked by conservation scientists.

The report from the International Fund for (Ifaw), based on official records, sheds new light on the scale of the international trophy-hunting industry.

killed for trophy at Mauricedale Game Reserve in Mpumalanga Province

It found the number of lions hunted for trophies tripled to 1,500 a year in the last decade, while the number of killed by hunters more than doubled to 1,600. The total number of animal trophies may be much higher as those that remain in the country where they were killed are not recorded.

“The trophy-hunting industry is driven by demand and, sadly, demand for animal trophies is prevalent worldwide,” said Philip Mansbridge, director of Ifaw UK. “Even in the face of , imperilled species are still being hunted every day in order to serve as the centrepiece of someone’s decor. It is unconscionable in this modern day where species are under so many threats to survive.”

Savannah Lion killed in Kalahari Desert, South Africa in trophy hunt

Savannah Lion killed in Kalahari Desert, South Africa in trophy hunt

Three of Africa’s “big five” – elephants, lions and leopards – were in the top six targets for trophy hunters. More than 10,000 elephants and the same number of leopards were killed as trophies in the last decade, along with more than 8,000 lions.

The most popular target was the , of which 93,000 were hunted in the last decade, with the Hartmann’s mountain zebra the second biggest target with 13,000 deaths. Large numbers of baboons (9,500) and hippopotamuses (6,000) were also hunted as trophies in the last decade.

is expensive: hunters pay $25,000-$60,000 to kill an elephant, $8,500-$50,000 for a lion and $15,000-$35,000 for a leopard. Supporters of the industry argue that the money raised can fund conservation efforts and Prince William has argued it can be justified in some circumstances.

In April, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said: “Legal, well-regulated trophy hunting programmes can – and do – play an important role in delivering benefits for both wildlife conservation and for the livelihoods and wellbeing of indigenous and local communities living with wildlife.”

Savannah Lion killed in Kalahari Desert, South Africa in trophy hunt

But others strongly disagree. “Many scientists and organisations reject the ‘killing them to save them’ philosophy that hunters tout as their justification,” said Azzedine Downes, president of Ifaw.

One species that is being hunted less frequently today is polar bears, of which just 20,000 survive in the wild. The US banned the import of polar bear trophies in 2008 and the number hunted each year in Canada fell from 360 to 210, although the two countries have continued to clash over the issue.

The Ifaw report is based on records from the Convention on International Trade in Species (Cites), the legal treaty agreed by 182 nations, but these do not include trophies that are not exported. The Ifaw analysis is in line with previous research: in February, the Humane Society International estimated that 1.2m animal trophies were imported into the US alone over the last decade.

Savannah Lion killed in Kalahari Desert, South Africa in trophy hunt

Ifaw found the biggest sources of trophy animals were Canada (35%), due to the many black bears killed, followed by South Africa (23%) and Namibia (11%).

After the US, hunters from Germany and Spain take the most animal trophies home, with about 10,000 entering each country over the last decade. The UK imported less than 500 over the same period, but Mansbridge is still calling on its government to follow France and other countries and ban the practice.

Mansbridge added: “It could be argued that the concept of trophy hunting as we know it today was invented by the British empire during Victorian times. We started this cruel practice – now we should lead the world in stopping it.”

This article was first published by The Guardian on 14 Jun 2016.

We invite you to share your opinion whether trophy and big game hunting be banned? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Should trophy and big game hunting be banned?

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United Nations: BAN Trophy Hunting. STOP Poachers. END Imports.

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Bill Daniels
Bill Daniels

I’ve hunted in Africa and all over the US. the facts claimed above are false, Every country and every state in the US use scientific research done by biologists to set limits to maintain healthy populations. the list above shows black bear as endangered, nothing could be further from the truth, some states have such high numbers of black bear that the are a problem.

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson

I’m 16 years old and I don’t hunt but I love to watch hunting. I’m a big fan of trophy hunting and I love to watch animals being shot. Big game hunting should not be banned but encouraged and enjoyed. Sport hunting is awesome.


No, hunting is in fact the best conservation tool to secure the survival of many species.

Pamela Hayes

How can anyone tick 'don't know'? It's obviously barbarous and highly unethical to say the least. Those who participate in it are mentally unstable and should be locked up.

Delbert Smith

Patrick Labelle It is not sexual abise of cildren.

This is about supportign the people who do farm lions, like the ones who farm chickens and beef. The number of families that will have their life style reduced doue to ignorant people putting human emotions from Disney in animals.

Say you lost your income tomorrow how would you live?

Frank Kap

Ban it completely and immediately. Make it a crime.

Lynn Hill

Above all is morally wrong on all levels.No animal should be killed for pleasure this must be outlawed.

Bosveld Jacobs

Fifi LaRue How many times must we explain to you that in South Africa the game population on private has has increased from 750 000 to 22 million since 1970. Hunters contribute lots of money towards the game breeding industry. In Kenia where trophy hunting was stopped the game population has decreased by 70%. How much money did you, Fifi La Rue, contribute towards conservation and what are the results.

Fifi LaRue

How many times must we explain to YOU that killing is NOT conservation.

Fifi LaRue

In South Africa, led by the hunting industry, the African lion is in steeper decline than ever before, having fallen a whopping 45% in the last 21 years, bringing their numbers to a low hovering around 20,000. They are on the IUCN Red List and trophy hunting remains one of the biggest reasons for their decline. Thrill killing murderers are not the only reason, there is habitat loss and human/lion conflict, but trophy hunting targets the biggest and the best males, and if you know anything about lions and how they live, this is a devistating blow to the lion… Read more »

Fifi LaRue

Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND? Killing is NOT conservation. You are a sick deranged person and I can see from your profile picture that you are a thrill killer hunter yourself. Go troll somewhere else. THRILL KILLER! #BanTrophyHunting


Your name says it all FiFi, are you on drugs or just stupid, maybe we should hunt dumb idiotic, anti Hunters. With your mental abilities, would be no challenge

Fifi LaRue

Delbert Smith I understand EXACTLY fine. Killing is NOT conservation!

Delbert Smith

Francesca W G Delay Funny you silly liberal bunny huggers believe abortion is alright, my life is worth nothing but yet you sit behind a computer in the safety of your homes and dont bother putting you body where your mouth is. For you info I have been shot five times. So maybe it would be a far fight you armed and me butt naked..

Bosveld Jacobs

If any uninformed idiot reads your comments above he will vote yes. Please do yourself the favour of reading more widely and relevantly and then you can deliver and opinion. In South Africa ,led by the hunting industry, the number game numbers on private land has increased from 750 000 to 22 million since the 1970's. Banning of hunting will lead to a decrease in game numbers. How many times must we explain this to you?.

Delbert Smith

Francesca W G Delay http://www.hoover.org/research/how-hunting-saves-animals Without money no species survives. Look at the places where animals thrive. RSA, America yes hunting does ehlp the animals. Dispite your bleeding hearts, hunters do far more for wildlife than you do. Have you likes contributed over 400 million to Africa exclusivly for wildlife. That asnwer is NO. Look at Kenya and other other countries that limit hunting. even Germany and Endland have low numbers of wildlife. Look at America and RSA huge numbers of animals that are in fact hunted. Do the research and see, proof is the numbers do not lie. It… Read more »

Francesca W G Delay

Thank you, Theresa Kemp, I agree with you ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ! ! ! Francesca W G Delay, Sunday, 3rd July 2016.

Francesca W G Delay

All I can say: you are incredibly stupid and arrogant, a hypocrate!!!!!!! I second ALL the comments and aggree that YOU should be stripprd naked, defenseless like the animals you help to send to their death at the point of the guns of the so called hunters, the HIRED KILLERS –
Francesca W G Delay. Sunday 3rd July 2016.

Bonnie Lynn Kerr

especially commenting the fat gut guy — I can tell you that it is most likely this SOB most likely didn't do a real "hunt", he wouldn't be able to keep up — and I don't think that he could even sneak up on a glass of water let alone a predator species — it was most likely a "canned" kill which is NOT a hunt, nor is it fair in any way … and they all go after species that are endangered, in ways that the animals do not have a chance — just so these so called "hunters"… Read more »

Philicity Cornish

Ban trophy / sport hunting immediately please. Fine the Hunter and back up team $1000 per kilogram of the hunted animals weight. The finance for finds to be used to preserve wild life.
I am disgusted at male / female animal killers worldwide but especially by those who supply these egomaniacs with the opportunity to kill – their greed is worse than the killer's ego and lust to destroy.

Garth Matthews

Banning Hunting, will force the farmers to burn there farms, and grow crop,or cattle.End of wild life.."No value on an animal ,then why farm it.".

Jan Pearse

Without question, people such as these are the lowest scum on earth.

Safra Levin

ALL HUNTING should be banned. Looking at the photos of those psychopaths non-humans alongside the innocents they have murdered makes me so sad .. they obviously have very tragically meaningless lives if that's what makes them smile

Shanaz Petker

Oh yes it should be banned!!! People who trophy hunt are rich people who have nothing better to do with their money, so they just boast, brag and kill living creatures for the fun of it They say that trophy hunting contributes towards employment and also to help rural communities. What a load of bullshit rubbish!!!. God created animals for a reason and they play a major role in the sustenance of mother earth. Why can't they just enjoy God's creation, instead of killing it?!!!!! No to hunting, particularly trophy hunting!!!!!

Andrea van Aken

very, very strange people!! There is absolut no reason to shoot these beautiful animals. They belong to nature, not to strange people!

Ad Lenders

Fucking stupid idiots. They should be tortured and shot. Imbeciles!!

Theresa Kemp

Delbert Smith Are the Lions, tigers, elephants etc given weapons to defend themselves? If this is to be fair on both sides and the hunters want to continue hunting for their entertainment, then yes, let the 'psychopaths' be sent into the ring with just what nature gave them. Shocking isn't it when you turn the scenario around? Why do you think it fair for logical thinking humans to get their fun with a gun and end the lives of animals but not for the animals to kill to survive by killing humans? YOU need to think hard on this!

Joye Smith

there is no point in killing those beautiful animals..they are endangered enough all ready.

Diane Richards

What gives anyone the right to murder these animals……you sit your fat….conceded…stupid asses there smiling like you've done something…..why don't you shoot at something that can shoot back??? Because you are a COWARD !!!! There has got to be something more of a challenge….I'd like to see you smile if one of those lions jumped your ass…..

Jo Lynne Kelsey

So disgusted!

Marja Schornagel

Stoppen die afschuwelijke trofee actie mensen.

Colleen Micelli Grail

Repulsive subhumans

Helen Gadke

These people are disgusting!! Should be banned immediately!!

Arthur Merklinger

hunting for sport in just wrong.

Lynn-Mike Saunders-Huard

yes it needs to be banned for ever!

Paula L Gossard

And all these people's heads would look good on a WALL OF SHAME!! TROPHY HUNTING IS ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY UNACCEPTABLE!!

Jackie Lees

Delbert Smith how about the stupidity of magical thinking? the asian craving for rhino horn, ivory, etc.? it's a matter of priorities: do you help your people by preserving your heritage animals that can actually benefit the country? or do you benefit the few who pay to shoot and the related corrupt system?

Tamela Bennett

No hunting period…

Delbert Smith

Really, let me explain, do you understand what you said? Think about this,by your standards you are asking the hunters to defend them self.

Delbert Smith

Habitat, human encraochment on habitat is the real reason. wake up.

Delbert Smith

Patrick Labelle Without money there wil be nothign left, hunters have paid for the land and the seicince in Conservation. Without the finances nothing survives.

Stephanie McCollum

Absolutely, trophy hunting MUST be banned! These blood-lust driven hunters hide behind the pretense that they are helping the people with their excuse of "conservation" and "giving to the community"; however, researchers have found that less than two to three percent of the funds actually ever help anyone other than the corrupt politicians and leaders. The animals lose their lives, the eco-tourism business is harmed — it is not a win for anyone involved — other than the arrogant, vain, evil individuals who think nothing of hanging a carcass on a wall. This is SICK! NO! BAN TROPHY HUNTING NOW!!!!

Beverley Cattrall

When I see the above photos all I can focus on is the beauty of a magnificent animal. As for the scum that ended their life- I see nothing.

Theresa Kemp

…. and if anyone is found trophy hunting, they should be stripped of their weapons, set free in a reserve and left for the animals to do to them, what nature intended.

Patrick Labelle

The money goes to PEOPLE, not to help animals. Explain how it helps animals if in the end they get killed??? You care only about the ego of hunters and about the pockets of people there who benefit from the hunt. Explain how the animals who get kill beneft from your billion of dollars. Let's say we put you (the hunters) in a national park and let people hunt you and kill you for a large fee. I am sure that would bring hundred millions of dollars to the region! So you would support that? Oh, yes, you would get… Read more »

Patrick Labelle

Delbert Smith And these people putting money in buying guns and paying guides who specialize in hunting animals, how are they helping animals, exactly??

Patrick Labelle

You focus on economic impact…How the hell does that help the animals that you kill??? Your argument is stupid: if you care about conservation, why don't you contribute with you rmoney without killing animals????

Irene Bollington

I cannot comprehendhow this can be clased as sport. Any arsehole can use a gun to kill a defenceless animal. if you want to take your chance with these magnificent,endangered animals, match them with your bare hands!!!!

Xavier Magne-Gigault




Susan Frudd

More and more animals are becoming endangered and this is one of the reasons why. It is sickening, inhumane and brutal a practice by people without compassion, conscience or care for the natural world. Their smug expressions are pure vanity..for what…murder…worthless..leave them to be free and live as they should.