Brussels 14.06.2022 Nearly 15,000 hunting trophies of species at risk like elephants, lions, giraffes, polar bears and black rhinos were imported into the EU between 2014 and 2018.
The EU is the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies of internationally protected species. Trophy hunters kill for fun, and Europeans regularly travel to foreign countries to kill iconic and endangered species to bring home body parts for display and decoration.
We want to stand against hunting trophy imports to the EU. We are determined to slam the door on this gruesome industry.
South Africa is an extremely popular tourist destination. With its beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife, it draws in all kinds of travelers. From nature lovers wanting a safari through Kruger National Park, to hunters eager to see wildlife for a different reason.
Many international hunters travel to the region to participate in “trophy hunting,” from which hunters bring home dead animals as trophies to display on their walls and shelves as souvenirs. Nearly all wild species are available for trophy hunting – even threatened species like African lions and elephants – it is just a question of money.
Home to nearly 300 species of wild mammals, including the “big five” – lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo – South Africa also has a sinister captive wild animal industry. This includes an extreme form of trophy hunting known as “canned hunting,” where animals are trapped in fenced areas and simply shot, allowing for an guaranteed and quick trophy.
This so-called “sustainable use” industry breeds animals like lions for cub petting attractions with unknowing tourists, as easy targets in canned hunting, or to be killed and sold as parts for use in traditional medicines in Asia.
Similar to there being more captive tigers living in America than remain in the wild, there are an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 captive lions in South Africa. Bred on over 300 farms, this number far exceeds the estimated 3,000 wild lions that live in nature reserves and national parks in the country.
For the thousands of captive-bred African lions, their life of suffering begins shortly after birth. Before becoming a trophy, lions are bred and raised on breeding farms. On these farms, cubs are quickly removed from their mothers and used as photo props for tourists or raised by volunteers who mistakenly believe they are contributing to the conservation of lions in the wild. The cubs are frequently ill due to stress brought on by constant contact with humans, poor nutrition, and terrible living conditions, which can lead to behavioral disorders as well as dangerous interactions with the public.
Being raised by hand, the lions hardly demonstrate any shyness or fear of humans, making them easier to shoot. After roughly four years, the lions reach the desired trophy age and are offered elsewhere to hunters for shooting or simply killed for their bones.
By participating and paying for these activities – like cub petting or taking walks with lions – volunteers and tourists unknowingly support the inhumaneness of forced lion breeding and the canned hunting and lion bone trade industries.