Born Free has joined forces with campaigning community 38 Degrees in an effort to end the import of trophies from threatened wild animals into the UK.
The charity has launched a petition on the 38 Degrees platform, calling on Environment Minister, Michael Gove, to stop issuing import permits for trophies from a host of species, including elephants, rhinos, lions, hippos and baboons.
Born Free’s Head of Policy, Dr Mark Jones, said:
“The world’s wild animals face a multitude of threats, and many species, including some of the most iconic animals on the planet, are literally staring extinction in the face. Yet wealthy trophy hunters can pay to hunt down and kill these animals, just so they can adorn their walls and cabinets with animal trophies to show off to their friends. This devastating, elitist, colonial-era activity is out of time and must end.”
Thousands of trophies from threatened species have been exported to the UK since the year 2000 These include the heads, horns, skins, skulls and feet of rhinos; elephant tusks, ears and tails; lion skulls, claws and skins; and a multitude of other such macabre items from more than 50 species, from hippos and wolves to civets, bears and baboons.
Jones continued:“Trophy hunting can cause immense animal suffering, devastate and disrupt animal families and social groups, and rob local communities of their natural heritage. Contrary to the claims made by hunting proponents, the money paid by hunters contributes little or nothing to conservation or local communities, while typically lining the pockets of wealthy trophy outfitters, agents and corrupt officials. If we are to tackle the decline in wild animals, we have to stop people killing them for ‘fun’, and we must invest in compassionate conservation to protect wild species and the habitats they rely upon.
“We believe a ban on trophy imports carries the support of the vast majority of the British public, and more than 100 Members of Parliament have already signed an Early Day Motion calling for such a measure. The UK can and should take a stand and lead the world by banning all imports of trophies from threatened species.”
The populations of threatened species are in a precarious state. Anything that can be done to reduce the pressures inflicted on them by human activities should be acted upon as a matter of urgency.
The petition, which can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ban-the-import-of-hunting-trophies, will be handed in to Michael Gove in early 2019.
To find out more or to help support Born Free’s valuable work, visit www.bornfree.org.uk.