A six-week-long campaign is being launched by a US-based animal welfare group in July and August to raise awareness of the global impact of trophy hunting.
Born Free USA’s trophy hunting campaign coincides with the fifth anniversary of the death of Cecil the lion. In a case that provoked widespread outrage, an American hunter and his guide in Zimbabwe used bait to lure Cecil from a national park, wounded him, and left him to suffer overnight before returning to kill him more than 10 hours later.
The campaign by Born Free USA aims to reveal the brutal facts behind common myths supporting the continuation of this cruel, outdated practice.
“The trophy hunting industry has unfortunately been able to persuade a segment of the public that it’s actually helping save endangered species like lions, tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses by killing them for so-called sport,” said Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA. “But hunting these threatened animals as recreation and then showing off their heads or other body parts doesn’t do anything to help vulnerable populations, and this is a chance to set the record straight.”
The facts about trophy hunting tell a different story than the one presented by hunting advocates:
- Myth: Trophy hunting helps maintain wildlife populations.
- Fact: Trophy hunting weakens wildlife populations by killing off the strongest and healthiest animals, which are considered better trophies. Hunters frequently target endangered species and contribute to the global wildlife trade that threatens biodiversity and wilderness habitats.
- Myth: Trophy hunting provides economic support for local communities and conservation efforts.
- Fact: The trophy hunting industry benefits a small group of outfitters, sponsors, and government agencies. Very little of the money it generates is invested in local economies, creates jobs, or is distributed to conservation organisations. Animal-friendly eco-tourism, meanwhile, offers an efficient, sustainable, and cruelty-free economic opportunity.
- Myth: Trophy hunting is a sport.
- Fact: Trophy hunting guides lure animals with bait, target animals in and around protected land that are accustomed to humans, and even shoot from helicopters. In canned hunting operations, people pay thousands of dollars to kill animals that have been raised in captivity, and shoot them in an enclosed area from which they cannot escape. There is nothing sporting about this.
Despite the negative public reaction to Cecil’s death, the United States continues to allow trophy hunters to import trophies into the U.S. from around the world and allows domestic trophy hunting of iconic species like wolves, black and grizzly bears, and mountain lions.
“There’s nothing sporting about this practice,” Grimes said. “The animals targeted by the trophy hunting industry are facing shrinking habitats, increased contact with humans, and reduced populations. Many of them are on the verge of extinction. They need to be protected, not hunted.”
Born Free USA works to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. The association opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep them where they belong – in the wild.