Trophy hunters pay huge sums of money to kill wild animals for in-home display. They enter their achievements into record books kept by member organizations. Trophy hunting harms conservation by exacerbating the population decline of many imperiled species. Compared to trophy hunting, wildlife-watching tourism generates far more income to support conservation and provides far more jobs to local people.

1.26 million

Trophies imported to the U.S. from 2005 through 2014

345 per day

Trophies entering the U.S., the #1 importer

>200,000 per year

Threatened or endangered animals killed for trophies

The Issue

Peter Barritt/Alamy

Hundreds of thousands of wild mammals, including endangered or threatened species, are slain by trophy hunters each year. Trophy hunters prefer to kill the largest, strongest animals, whose loss causes population declines in lions and leopards, among other species. HSI works to raise public awareness and end corporate support of trophy hunters’ interests, as well as improve legal protections and encourage alternatives.

Trophy hunting facts:

  • In eight key African countries, trophy hunters contribute at most 0.03 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and at most 0.76 percent of overall tourism jobs.
  • Most trophy hunters are American. A U.S.-based hunting industry group, Safari Club International, promotes the senseless slaughter of wildlife for sport by offering its members the opportunity to compete to win nearly 50 awards for killing animals around the world.
  • The most-coveted animals include elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards.
  • Killing the strongest male will result in scores of additional deaths. For example, when a dominant African lion is killed, females and cubs are vulnerable to a hostile pride takeover by another male, who will kill the previous lion’s cubs.
  • Killing the strongest males may also negatively impact people. When dominant males are killed, juveniles who are more daring, less experienced and prone to killing livestock may move into the area.
  • Trophy hunting is also plagued by the issue of “canned hunting” through commercial operations that essentially breed lions to be shot in captivity.
Bernd Zoller/Alamy

Our work in action


Urge China to ban import of rhino hunting trophies

As rhino populations are rapidly declining because of trophy hunting and wildlife trafficking, the Chinese government can set a precedent by banning the import of rhino hunting trophies.


More you can do

1. Tell tourism operators to stop exploiting captive lions.

2. Protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act

3. Sign the pledge to end trophy hunting.

4. Read our factsheets to learn more about some trophy-hunted species.

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