Stop the Slaughter of Endangered Wildlife — Ban the Import of Hunting Trophies
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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site
Take action for wildlife! Join us in calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the import of endangered animal trophies.
Over 850 exhibitors from 30 countries attended the annual convention of the Safari Club International (SCI) in Nashville, Tennessee, where they promoted the hunting and killing of animals, including endangered species such as elephants and lions1. Exhibitors will be selling jewelry, trinkets, and decorations made from iconic animals, and auctioning off trophy hunting trips to kill as many as 870 mammals in the U.S. and abroad, valued at nearly $6 million. Among the animals being targeted are elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, polar bears, hippos, wolves, grizzly bears, giraffes, and lynxes.2.
The SCI convention is one of the organization's primary funding sources for its extensive lobbying activities to reduce critical state and federal protections from imperiled wildlife and make it easier for hunters to import hunting trophies and expand hunting seasons3. As the world’s largest importer of hunting trophies of mammals regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the U.S. imported over 72,600 hunting trophies between 2014 and 2018—over 10,000 of which were from species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act4.
Trophy hunting, also known as sport hunting, is a controversial practice that involves killing wild animals for sport and obtaining their body parts as trophies5. This practice has been a topic of debate for years, with many animal welfare organizations and individuals calling for its ban. The reason behind this is the immense cruelty and suffering that trophy hunting causes to animals, which ultimately destroys their families and populations.
Trophy hunting exacerbates the problems of endangered species, which are already struggling to survive due to habitat loss, poaching, and other threats. The hunting of endangered species is particularly alarming. It puts them at even greater risk of extinction6. It is unconscionable that the lives of these animals from around the globe are being sold and auctioned off to wealthy, elite hunters for sport.
Not only does trophy hunting cause immense suffering to animals, but it also contributes to global declines in wildlife populations. Many of the animals targeted for trophy hunting are apex predators or keystone species, which play crucial roles in maintaining ecosystem balance. Removing them from the ecosystem can have far-reaching and devastating consequences7.
Furthermore, the fact that trophy hunting is a multimillion-dollar industry perpetuates the notion that animals are commodities to be bought and sold. It sends the message that the world’s natural beauty and wildlife are only valuable if they can be exploited for profit8.
Trophies of any species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act should be prohibited from importation into the United States9. The SCI conference is another reminder that it is time for the federal government to take a hard look at blocking such trophies from coming into the United States. The Fish and Wildlife Service should act now to quash this activity. We cannot keep turning a blind eye to the loss of these iconic species simply so trophy hunters can continue to experience the thrill of killing them off.
The cruelty and suffering that trophy hunting causes to animals ultimately destroys their families and populations. Hunting endangered species puts them at even greater risk of extinction10. Trophy hunting contributes to global declines in wildlife populations. It sends the message that animals are commodities to be bought and sold11. Trophies of any species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act should be prohibited from importation into the United States.
Take a stand for our planet's wildlife. Sign the petition and ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the imports of endangered species.
- World Animal News (31 January 2020), "Safari Club International’s Annual Trophy Hunting Convention Is Taking Place In Reno, Nevada, From February 5th- 8th Promoting The Senseless Killing Of Our Earth’s Precious Wildlife."
- Christopher Ketcham, National Geographic (12 August 2019), "Inside the effort to weaken the Endangered Species Act."
- Lauren Lewis, World Animal News (20 February 2022), "Trophy Hunters Are Gathering This Week In Nashville For Another Sickening Annual Safari Club International Convention."
- Endangered Species Coalition (14 March 2022), "U.S. Hunting Trophy Imports Revealed By New Data."
- Born Free USA (2023), "Wildlife Trade."
- Humane Society International (2023), "Trophy Hunting."
- Stephen Leahy, National Geographic (28 November 2017), "Trophy Hunting May Drive Extinctions, Due to Climate Change."
- Jacqueline Baylon and Robin Lindsay, Business Insider (28 Jun 2021), "How trophy hunting in Texas became a multibillion-dollar industry."
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, "Importing and Exporting."
- Mitch Merry, Endangered Species Coalition (3 August 2015), "The Heavy Price Of Trophy Hunting."
- Humane Society International (1 February 2017), "New report reveals big game hunting makes minimal contribution to African economies and jobs."
To the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the import of "trophies" of endangered species. It is unacceptable that animals are being hunted for sport and their body parts are being sold and auctioned off to the highest bidder.
The hunting of endangered species threatens their survival and contributes to global declines. It is cruel and unethical to cause immense suffering to animals and destroy their families for the sake of entertainment.
I urge you to take action and prohibit the import of wildlife "trophies" that fall under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The world's natural beauty and wildlife deserve better. We cannot continue to allow this senseless and destructive behavior to continue.
Please take a stand for animal welfare and help protect endangered species by banning the import of their "trophies."