Endangered species trophy hunts sold at one of Europe’s largest hunting fairs
Hunting trips to kill hundreds of animals, many threatened or endangered species like African elephants and African rhinos, will be sold this weekend in France. The country is the third largest European importer of hunting trophies in the world after Spain and Germany, according to a new report by Humane Society International/Europe. During the “Game Fair” thousands of hunters will book local and overseas trips to kill many different species of animals.
The fair will also offer a chance to win a black bear hunt in Quebec, Canada, valued at up to €2,000. There will also be a chance to win a trip to stay with “Chasseurs d'Afrique” in South Africa, an outfitter with a hunting property next to Kruger National Park where elephants and lions, among many other species, may be hunted. However, if French hunters kill a lion, they are no longer able to import the trophy directly to France following France’s November 2015 decision to prohibit the import of lion trophies.
HSI/Europe’s report also found that:
Between 2005 and 2014, France imported more than 2,800 trophies of four of the Africa Big Five species: 444 African lions, 1,130 African elephants, 1,196 African leopards and 65 African rhinos.
The ten species imported most frequently to France between 2005 and 2014 were Nile crocodiles, African leopards, African elephants, American black bears, Hartmann's mountain zebras, African lions, brown bears, common hippos, olive baboons and cheetahs.
An estimated total of 9,697 trophies of species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) were imported to France between 2005 and 2014, with an estimated 970 on average per year.
Most trophies imported to France originate in Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa.
Namibia will be the featured hunting destination country at the Game Fair. The country was thrown into the spotlight when an American hunter Corey Knowlton purchased the right to hunt a critically endangered black rhino at a controversial 2014 auction. Just last week, Namibia announced it will accept bids to kill three more black rhinos. With no proof that previous rhino hunts have benefited conservation, this supports the “pay-to-slay” line of thinking where the wealthiest members of society gain the right to kill African wildlife at a time when poaching is rampant.
Joanna Swabe, Ph.D. executive director of Humane Society International/Europe, said:
“The auctioning of trophy hunts of endangered species by hunting organisations utterly disregards France’s international efforts to protect African fauna. While we applaud France for preventing the import of lion trophies, we call on the government to take a stronger leadership role in extending this ban to other imperilled species; as well as to work with other European Union Member States to follow France.”
The European Union is the second largest importer of hunting trophies, after the United States. The Netherlands currently has the strongest policy among all Member States, prohibiting the import of hunting trophies from approximately 200 species. A new U.S. Congressional report, titled “Missing the Mark: African trophy hunting fails to show consistent conservation benefits,” finds little evidence that trophy hunting money is going to wildlife conservation due to government corruption, lax enforcement, a lack of transparency, and poorly managed wildlife programs.