SOUTH AFRICA — As animal protection organizations fight for the survival of many African wildlife species, an undercover investigation by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States has exposed exhibitors peddling wild animal products and pay-to-slay trophy hunts at the Safari Club International convention in Nevada, USA, last week. The SCI convention is one of the world largest trophy hunting expos with over 870 exhibitors from 34 countries and more than ten thousand attendees. Sale offerings at the February 2020 event included a captive-bred lion hunt in South Africa for $8,000. One South African outfitter said hunting a giraffe costs “only” $1,200 because they have “too many giraffes” and need to “get rid of the animals.”
Other hunting trips for sale at the SCI 2020 convention included:
- A $350,000 hunt for a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia.
- An outfitter advertised its “Trump Special” – a $25,000 hunt for a buffalo, sable, roan and crocodile.
- A $6,000 hunt for any six animals that a customer can choose to kill in South Africa, such as zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, impalas, hartebeest, gemsbok, nyala, and waterbuck.
- A $13,000 hunt for black-backed jackal, African wildcat, caracal and bat-eared foxes in South Africa.
- A tuskless elephant hunt in Zambia for $14,500.
- A polar bear hunt in Canada sold for $60,000.
- An Asiatic black bear hunt in Russia for $15,000.
- Four South African exhibitors offered to sell or broker captive-bred lion hunts. One vendor bragged that his safari company holds five of the top 10 lions ever taken in SCI’s Record Book.
Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for Humane Society International/Africa said, “We are devastated to see the SCI convention offering so many opportunities to destroy our already-threatened wildlife, including giraffes which was listed on Appendix II by CITES last year. Giraffe numbers have declined by 40% in the past 30 years, plummeting to fewer than 69,000 mature animals left in the wild, and here we have exhibitors offering their destruction. The sale of canned lion hunts at the convention is also a huge concern – violating SCI’s own ban that it implemented in 2018. In South Africa there are more lions bred in captivity than exist in the wild, with as few as 3,000 wild lions roaming freely compared to 8 in captivity. Studies show that captive lion breeding and canned trophy hunting do not support conservation, are wrought with welfare travesties and are simply money-driven industries that benefit a handful. It’s time for this needless cruelty to stop.”
Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “Our shocking investigation shows that no animals are off limits to trophy hunters. From shooting giraffes, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, primates and lions in Africa to deer, ibex and wild boar in the UK and Europe, the trophy hunting industry reveals its true nature – one that is motivated by the thrill to kill, and not by conservation.”
According to CITES trade data, South Africa is the second largest hunting trophy exporting nation after Canada.
Other items for sale at the SCI convention were boots made of giraffe skin ($1,390) and kangaroo skin ($1,080), and trips to hunt Asiatic black bears, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, and more. The featured speakers and entertainers at the convention included Donald Trump Jr. and the Beach Boys. A “dream hunt” with Donald Trump Jr. in a luxury yacht in Alaska to kill black-tailed deer and sea ducks was sold at auction for a whopping $340,000. A taxidermy ibex mountain goat that Trump Jr. reportedly killed was on display on the convention floor.
Some items on the convention floor, such as belts and boots made of elephant, hippo and stingray, appear to violate Nevada’s law on wildlife trafficking. This is not the first time that vendors at SCI’s convention defied local authorities. Last year a dozen vendors were found selling illegal wildlife products in potential violation of the state law. HSI and the HSUS have submitted evidence of the violations of state law to local enforcement authorities.
Photos/video from the 2020 investigation.
SA: Leozette Roode, +27713601104, LRoode@hsi.org
UK: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, firstname.lastname@example.org
USA: Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337, email@example.com
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.