Humane Society International / Japan

Adam Peyman/HSI Hanko, or personal seal stamps, made from African elephant ivory for sale in Tokyo, Japan

WASHINGTON/TOKYO— Elephant advocates worldwide are urging the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, under Governor Yuriko Koike’s leadership, to complete Tokyo’s elephant ivory trade assessment, which is examining the trade in ivory in Tokyo prefecture, and propose measures to address it. As Tokyo embraces the “new normal” and continues to adapt to address COVID-19, the advocates are renewing their plea to protect elephants by urging the Tokyo government to immediately restart the Advisory Committee on Regulation of Ivory Trade, which has been suspended for four months.

While Africa’s elephants continue to be poached for their ivory, the government of Japan has failed to adequately control the legalized domestic trade in ivory, and loopholes in the superficial regulations have facilitated illegal trade. For decades whole tusks have been sold with no real controls in place to confirm legality. Eighty percent of raw ivory in Japan is processed into hanko signature seals. Japan’s ivory trade is also an international trade problem, undermining other bans on ivory trade. Since 2018, local authorities in China have made at least 65 seizures of ivory from Japan.

Major Japanese retailers have ceased elephant ivory sales to eliminate their role in the illegal domestic trade and export, including Yahoo! Japan, Rakuten, Ito-Yokado, and Aeon.

In January 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced the development of a new committee to examine Tokyo’s ivory trade and regulations, and assess and propose measures to be taken by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The committee of eight experts met once in January, but subsequent meetings and an expected policy announcement in May were understandably put on hold. In March, 30 international and Japanese environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter commending the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s progressive action.

Iris Ho, senior wildlife specialist at Humane Society International, said “While governments worldwide are busy tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, poachers are not on lockdown and are seizing the moment to kill wildlife with impunity, as evidenced in the recent death of six poached elephants in one day in Ethiopia. A ban on the commercial ivory trade in Tokyo prefecture will inject a much-needed positive development in global conservation as humanity reexamines our relationship with nature.”

The Tokyo-based executive director of Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund, Masayuki Sakamoto, said “While we are living and operating with COVID-19 in mind, Tokyo is evolving to be an international city in the ‘new normal’ time, which should ensure both the city’s socioeconomic function and the residents’ safety through measures including digitalization, which the government of Japan has failed at so far, while giving full attention to global standards. Now is the time for the vast majority of Tokyo residents to welcome steps to end the ivory trade, which has been mostly consumed just for carving hanko, in the face of elephants’ distress and international criticism.”

Last year, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio appealed directly to Governor Koike to close down Tokyo’s ivory market and join New York City in taking steps to protect elephants from the ivory trade. Leading ivory consumer nations, such as China, the United States, and the United Kingdom, among others worldwide, have already taken steps to close their domestic ivory markets. Nations agreed at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that those countries, like Japan, with open domestic ivory markets should report by the end of June 2020 on measures they’re taking to ensure that their domestic ivory markets are not contributing to illegal trade.

Amy Zets Croke, senior policy analyst at the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “Tokyo’s progressive efforts to protect elephants are very welcome while Japan’s national government holds the line to protect its ivory industry instead of elephants. The international community is eagerly waiting for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to follow through with its commitment and process to assess the trade in ivory. We respectfully urge Governor Koike and the Tokyo government to take steps to ban ivory sales in Tokyo as soon as possible.”


Media contacts:

Masayuki Sakamoto, Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund,
Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International (U.S.), 202-596-0808 (cell),
Lindsay Moran, Environmental Investigation Agency,

Humane Society International / Viet Nam

Tikki Hywood Trust

BRUSSELS/HANOI—Today’s ratification of the free trade agreement with the European Union by the Vietnamese National Assembly heralds a new era of intergovernmental cooperation on animal welfare and wildlife protection between the two. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union approved the agreement earlier this year. Humane Society International believes that, if supported with resources, the agreement has significant potential to protect wildlife and increase cooperation on animal welfare.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for HSI/Europe, said:

“Humane Society International believes that both Parties should seize the opportunity presented by this historic trade deal to increase their cooperation on animal protection. Although there were very limited animal welfare provisions, it does offer a chance for the EU to provide technical assistance and capacity building to advance farm animal welfare in Vietnam. The 2019 mass culling of pigs to eradicate African swine fever there illustrates just how badly such veterinary assistance is needed. The culling process was extremely inhumane due to lack of the right equipment and skills needed for electrical stunning and killing. Through increased cooperation with the EU, a long-term programme of training, capacity building and assistance could be instituted to teach humane animal-handling techniques and proper equipment use to safeguard the welfare and dignity of animals at the time of killing.”

Phuong Tham, director of HSI/Vietnam, added:

“In addition to sharing much needed knowledge and technical assistance on farm animal welfare, the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement includes provisions that can help support our government’s efforts to curb the trade in wildlife products. Sadly, Vietnam continues to serve as a source, consumer and transit country for the illegal wildlife trade. HSI/Vietnam hopes that, through the proper implementation of this trade deal and development cooperation, we can successfully reduce the demand for wildlife products and increase our government’s enforcement capacity with the training and tools needed to tackle the scourge of wildlife trafficking. The illegal wildlife trade not only poses a threat to biological diversity and natural habitats, but, as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, it can also pose a serious threat to public health. It was technically already illegal to sell and consume wild-caught species in Vietnam, but the existing rules were poorly enforced and wet markets selling wildlife have proliferated.”

Once the trade agreement enters into force, both HSI/Europe and HSI/Vietnam intend to apply to join the respective Domestic Advisory Groups that will be established to allow civil society representatives to monitor the implementation of this free trade agreement.


  • The EU and Vietnam signed a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement on 30th June 2019. The Council of the European Union approved the agreement on 30th March 2020 after the European Parliament gave its consent on 12th February 2020.
  • The Cooperation and Capacity Building Chapter of EU-Vietnam FTA states that the “Parties agree to cooperate on animal welfare as necessary, including technical assistance and capacity building for the development of animal welfare standards.”
  • As of mid-December 2019, 6 million pigs in Vietnam have been culled in an attempt to eradicate African swine fever. The inhumane culling process highlighted the need for better training and equipment.
  • The Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter of the EU-Vietnam trade agreement includes commitments to the proper implementation and enforcement of multilateral environmental agreements, as well as provisions aiming to protect biodiversity and reduce illegal wildlife trade through information exchange on strategies, policy initiatives, programmes, action plans and consumer awareness campaigns. It also includes a commitment to enhance cooperation to increase species protection through the proposal of new CITES listings. Notably, in 2019, the EU and Vietnam jointly submitted proposals and succeeded in listing various reptile and amphibian species on CITES Appendix II.
  • Rhino horn is valued in countries like China and Vietnam for purported medicinal benefits, although there is no scientific evidence to back these claims. Horn can be sold for high prices on the black market, but there are indications that the price has fallen recently in Vietnam, thanks in part to a campaign to reduce rhino horn demand launched in 2013 by HSI and the Vietnamese government. The multi-faceted campaign has reached an estimated 37 million people—approximately one-third of the national population.
  • In 2016, HSI organized the first-ever Pangolin Range States Meeting, co-hosted by the governments of Vietnam and the United States, and attended by over 30 pangolin range states in Vietnam.
  • With HSI’s support, Vietnam held an event in November 2016 at which, for the first time in the country’s history, over two tons of elephant ivory, 70 kg of rhino horn, and other seized wildlife specimens were destroyed to send a message to the international community that the living animals are valued, rather than the products derived from them.
  • HSI partnered with the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Education and Training to implement a ground-breaking project under which millions of schoolchildren in Vietnam received educational lessons on threatened wildlife as part of an effort to tackle illegal trade in rhinos, elephants, pangolins, tigers and more.


Media contact:  Phuong Tham,

Human – wildlife conflict in India often leads to animals maimed and killed

Humane Society International / India

Arindam Bhattacharya/Alamy Stock Photo

Malappuram, India—Animal charity Humane Society International/India is offering a reward of up to 50,000 IN rupees in Malappuram district of Kerala, for information leading to the positive identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for the killing of a pregnant elephant who ate a fire cracker believed to have been stuffed in a pineapple or other food item. She suffered catastrophic facial injuries and a slow, painful death.

Police reports show that the incident is believed to have occurred on 27 May when the elephant ate a firecracker-filled pineapple that was originally intended as a snare to catch wild boar. When the firecracker exploded in her mouth, the elephant is reported to have stood for a significant time in the Velliyar River with her trunk in the water, presumably for pain relief.

Following the incident, the Rapid Response Team of the Kerala Forest Department rushed to the scene to attempt a rescue but the elephant succumbed to her injuries. A post mortem revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia as a result of water entering her lungs and trachea.

Sumanth Bindumadhav, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/India said “Regrettably in India, human conflict with wild animals such as wild boars and elephants is a common problem, and often these animals can be maimed or killed by local communities experiencing crop damage and other issues. We don’t yet know if the firecracker-pineapple was maliciously fed to the elephant, or if it was a tragic accident, but whether the intended victim was a boar or an elephant, tragic incidents like this demonstrate the urgent need for better and humane ways to manage wildlife. Community education coupled with the introduction of crop insurance schemes would also safeguard the interests of people as well as the welfare of animals. We hope that by offering a reward for information, those responsible can be apprehended and a strong message will be sent out that treating wildlife in this way is unacceptable.”

Human-wildlife conflict is an unfortunate consequence of increasing fragmentation of wildlife habitats and a growing intolerance to living alongside wild animals in several parts of India. However, sustainable conflict preparedness and management planning methods need to be employed by the forest departments of all states, without which, some citizens choose to take matters into their own hands leading to animal cruelty.

Download video from the scene.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari,, +91 8879834125

Humane Society International / Global

Arindam Bhattacharya/Alamy Stock Photo An Asian elephant (elephas maximus) eats grass in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

Gandhinagar — Representatives from more than 130 nations agreed to vital protections for migratory wild species at what’s being hailed as a landmark wildlife convention in Gandhinagar, India. Delegates agreed to increased or first-time conservation protection status for the endangered Mainland Asian elephant, the critically endangered great Indian bustard and Bengal florican, the jaguar, the oceanic whitetip shark, smooth hammerhead and tope shark.  The circumstances of all of these species, require multi-nation conservation co-operation because their ranges traverse country boundaries.

Sixty percent of Mainland Asian elephants are found in India, and the species has been listed as Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1986, a victim of habitat loss and increasing human/elephant conflict. The great Indian bustard, whose population has dwindled to around 150 individuals in India, is persecuted by hunting in Pakistan, and the Bengal florican has a population of less than 1000 birds, struggling to survive amidst habitat loss in India and Nepal.

Mark Simmonds OBE, senior marine scientist at Humane Society International, said: “With estimates of up to one million species at risk of extinction right now, nations have a shared responsibility to act, especially in the case of migratory species. Species such as the Asian elephant and hammerhead shark are in desperate need of attention and cooperation from the countries through which they roam, mate, give birth or feed. This truly is proving to be a landmark wildlife convention because we’ve successfully secured increased conservation protection status for many species and we can now set to work on concrete measures to protect them and their habitats.  

The Asian elephant is endangered throughout much of its range, trying to survive in continually shrinking, degraded and fragmented habitat, and increasingly coming into conflict with people. Its protection will be vastly improved if range countries work together to tackle these challenges, and inclusion in CMS Appendix I will significantly aid that.”

Rebecca Regnery, Humane Society International’s deputy director of wildlife, said: “The jaguar, the largest native cat of the Americas, is now absent from more than 77% of its historic range in Central America. Despite protection in all its range states, the jaguar is threatened by illegal killing and trade.  Listing on CMS will formalize range state collaboration on conservation efforts, creating an international legal framework for the first time. This will provide increased incentives and funding opportunities for this work, which is critical for curbing habitat destruction, maintaining key migration corridors and reducing violence and human deaths associated with retaliation and trafficking.”

Lawrence Chlebeck, marine biologist with HSI Australia, said, “This is a fantastic success for international shark conservation efforts. Three of the shark species hardest hit by commercial fishing will, from today, receive brand new international attention and coordination. Sharks are especially susceptible to population decline due to late maturation and low reproductive potential, and they are therefore some of the most threatened animals on our planet. International, cooperative conservation measures, such as those that will result from these listings, are absolutely vital to the ecological viability and survival of these species.”

Summary of key decisions today at CMS CoP 13

  • Mainland Asian elephant/Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) added to Appendix I
  • Great Indian bustard and Bengal florican added to Appendix I
  • The jaguar (Panthera onca) added to Appendices I and II
  • The antipodean albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) added to Appendix I
  • Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) added in Appendix I
  • Smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) added to Appendix II
  • Tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) added to Appendix II.

These decisions have been made in the convention’s ‘Meeting in the Whole’ and are subject to formal verification in the closing plenary of the CoP on 22nd February. However, as they have been agreed by consensus, this is now a formality.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins

Donald Trump Jr. was a speaker at the February 5 to 8 convention in Reno

Humane Society International / United States

WASHINGTON — An undercover investigation last week by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International exposed exhibitors peddling wild animal products at the Safari Club International convention in Reno, Nevada. Items found for sale include belts and boots made of elephants, hippos and stingrays, which likely violate Nevada’s wildlife trafficking law.

Among the other items for sale 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. One outfitter said hunting a giraffe costs “only” $1,200 because they have “too many giraffes” and need to “get rid of the animals.”

For the second year in a row, the investigator found “canned” lion hunts for sale, where customers pay to shoot a captive-bred lion, violating SCI’s own ban that it implemented in February 2018. In his sales pitch, one vendor bragged that his safari company holds five of the top 10 lions ever recorded in SCI’s Record Book.

Among the featured speakers and entertainers at the convention were Donald Trump Jr. and the Beach Boys. A “dream hunt” with Donald Trump Jr. aboard a luxury yacht in Alaska to kill black-tailed deer and sea ducks was sold to two winners for auction at a total of $340,000. A taxidermy ibex mountain goat that Trump Jr. killed was on display on the convention floor.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “This convention does nothing other than celebrate senseless violence towards wildlife. For far too long SCI has chosen profits and bragging rights over conservation, ethics and the law, and has been trying to convince the public that the display of thousands of dead animal trophies, parts and products is somehow beneficial to conservation. The public isn’t falling for it anymore. Wild animals are not commodities to be sold, with their deaths something to celebrate. This needs to end.”

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. HSUS and HSI have submitted evidence of the violations of state law to local enforcement authorities.

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “No animals are off limit to trophy hunters. From shooting giraffes, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippopotamus to primates and lions, the trophy hunting industry reveals its true nature – one that is motivated by the thrill to kill, and not by conservation.”

Hunting trips for sale at the 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.
  • Advertised as a “bargain” was a captive-bred lion hunt for $8,000 in South Africa.
  • A $6,000 hunt for any six animals that a customer can choose to kill in South Africa. The offerings were: zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, impalas, hartebeest, gemsbok, nyala and waterbuck.
  • A polar bear hunt in Canada was offered for sale for $35,000.
  • An Asiatic black bear hunt in Russia sold for $15,000.
  • A 15-day Alaska hunt to kill a brown bear, black bear, mountain goat and wolf was sold for $25,000.

The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are urging the public to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny any import request for the trophy of a rare argali sheep that Trump Jr. killed in Mongolia last year.

“No one is above the law—not these outfitters, not the wealthy elite, and not our agencies. Shooting ESA listed species does not enhance their survival and it’s time we make that irrevocably clear,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We are fighting for strong legislation that puts an end to our country’s significant contribution to this inhumane practice based on vanity and colonialist fantasies.”

Additionally the organizations are urging the public to ask their members of U.S. Congress to support H.R. 4804, the Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies Act (ProTECT Act) and H.R.2245 the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act (CECIL Act), which would significantly withdraw the U.S.’s prominent role in global trophy hunting of imperiled species.

Investigation Report here.

Photos/video for download from the 2020 investigation.  

Soundbites on YouTube. 

B-roll on YouTube.


Media contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society Legislative Fund:

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929,

Humane Society International:

Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337,


Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at   Subscribeto Kitty Block’s blog,A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast. 


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


The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Canada shockingly still allows elephant ivory trade

Humane Society International / Canada

Vanessa Mignon Wild African Elephant

MONTREAL—Amid global recognition of the threatened survival of elephants, a hunting club in Calgary is poised to auction off the first licence for a foreigner to hunt elephant in Botswana. The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition, a partnership of Canadian non-profit organisations, including: Humane Society International/Canada, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, World Elephant Day, Elephanatics, and the Global March for Elephants and Rhino-Toronto, has petitioned the federal government for two years to ban the import, domestic sale, and export of all elephant ivory, including hunting trophies.

The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition believes a full elephant ivory ban in Canada is more important than ever, as the Calgary chapter of Safari Club International is shockingly set to award the elephant hunt to the highest bidder at their 27th Annual Fundraiser on January 25 (provided the bid is over $84,000 CAD). Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May last year, inciting worldwide outrage. He previously gifted stools made from elephant feet to regional leaders during a meeting to discuss the animals’ fate. The ban was installed six years ago by Ian Khama, Botswana’s previous president.

Michael Bernard, deputy director – HSI/Canada, stated: “It is absolutely appalling that in this day and age Canada is still complicit with the slaughter of elephants for trophies. We are urgently calling on the Canadian Government to ban all trade in elephant ivory and end Canada’s role in further endangering these magnificent creatures.”

Fran Duthie, president of Elephanatics, added: “Statistics have shown large-tusked elephants are in decline and need to be protected from trophy hunting and poaching. With the increase in illegal trade in ivory the need to ban trophy hunting is even more necessary.”

Patricia Sims, founder of World Elephant Day and president – World Elephant Society, also stated: “The trophy hunting of elephants is atrocious and needs to be banned worldwide. Elephants are a vital keystone species, they are the caretakers of their habitats and climate change mitigators in their role of maintaining biodiversity. Killing elephants ultimately destroys habitats and Canada needs to take a stand now to ban elephant ivory and protect elephants for their survival and the health of our planet.”

A staggering 20,000 African elephants are killed each year. Scientists anticipate they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if threats continue. While poaching is the main threat to elephants, legal trophy hunting only exacerbates the threat and drives up the demand for elephant ivory.

Both the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES) and members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have asked all countries to ban their domestic trade of ivory to save elephants. At least nine countries and 10 US states have done so. At the last IUCN Congress, Canada – along with Japan, Namibia and South Africa – refused to support the motion on domestic ivory trade bans.

Over 100 African elephant tusks were imported into Canada as hunting trophies over the past decade, according to the data Canada reported to CITES in its annual trade reports. Yet, exporting countries reported that over 300 African elephant tusks were exported to Canada in this same time period. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown.

Botswana was previously considered one of the last safe havens for elephants. It is home to 130,000 elephants which is almost a third of Africa’s total population.

In order to press the Canadian government into action, the Ivory-Free Canada Coalition launched a petition to ban elephant ivory and hunting trophies at With over 517,000 signatures, it is one of the largest Canadian petitions on for 2019.

For interviews and/or more information, please call or email the media contact below.


Media contact: Christopher Paré, director of communications, HSI/Canada – office: 514-395-2914 x 206, cell: 438-402-0643, email:

Media contact: Tessa Vanderkop, Director of Strategic Relationships and Advocacy, Elephanatics – cell: 604.789.8886, email:,

The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition is a partnership of non-profit organizations petitioning the Canadian government to ban the import, domestic trade and export of all elephant ivory, including hunting trophies. The coalition includes Elephanatics, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos-Toronto, World Elephant Day, Humane Society International/Canada and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada. Sign the Petition:

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at

Humane Society International / Global

Wildlife trophies
Ton Koene/Alamy

WASHINGTON — Every year, trophy hunters kill tens of thousands of wild animals around the world for fun and bragging rights. Their gruesome quests, some of which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, may even involve illegal activities. The trophy hunting industry marginalizes local people and exploits the corruption of government officials. Moreover, the glorification of gratuitous violence through hunters’ social media posts with images of themselves posing with animals they’ve slain belies their conservation claims.

The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and Humane Society Legislative Fund highlight here the “Terrible Ten Trophy Hunting Stories of 2019.”

Both Safari Club International, a primary defender of trophy hunting worldwide, and Donald Trump, Jr., a headliner at SCI’s February 2020 annual convention, made the list.

  1. At Safari Club International’s annual trophy hunting convention in January 2019 in Nevada, an undercover investigation by HSUS and HSI found vendors peddling captive-bred lion hunts in contravention of SCI’s own policies. Some vendors offered for sale the body parts and products of imperiled species such as elephants and hippos, in apparent violation of Nevada state wildlife trafficking laws.
  2. In February, Pakistanis reacted with indignation when a video and photos emerged showing an American trophy hunter from Texas, smiling alongside the  markhor he paid $110,000 to kill in Pakistan. This imperiled species of mountain goat is Pakistan’s national animal.
  3. A 2011 video featuring an American trophy hunter from Illinois sneaking up on and killing a sleeping lion in Zimbabwe, surfaced in March 2019. The video shows the man receiving congratulations from his companions as the wounded lion writhed in pain on the ground.
  4. A trophy hunter covered in blood posed with the mountain lion she had just killed in Colorado.
  5. South African authorities discovered 108 lions suffering in terrible conditions at a captive-breeding facility that supplies lions for canned hunts in May.
  6. An American trophy hunter from Kentucky who widely shared photos of a giraffe she had killed in 2018 re-ignited controversy and headlines in June 2019, when she bragged about her kill and stated in an interview that the giraffe meat “tasted delicious” and the skin would make fabulous pillows. A 2018 HSUS investigation into the sale of giraffe-skin pillows and other products led New York to recently become the first state in the U.S.— and the world —to ban the trade.
  7. A Canadian couple who posted a photo of themselves in July kissing over the dead lion they’d just killed in South Africa demonstrated their remorseless killing of an animal threatened with extinction. The lion allegedly came from a captive breeding facility.
  8. In September it was reported that the Trump Administration allowed a Michigan trophy hunter to import parts of a critically endangered black rhino he paid $400,000 to kill in Namibia.
  9. In December, ProPublica released the news that Donald Trump, Jr., known for his trophy hunting, had killed an imperiled argali sheep in Mongolia without a permit earlier in the year. Trump, Jr., is the scheduled keynote speaker at the February 2020 Safari Club International convention, which will auction off a trophy hunting trip with him.
  10. Two people in charge of a hunting party that killed five elephants in Botswana  had their hunting licenses revoked by the government. Because the killing of collared animals is not permitted in Botswana, the hunters destroyed one elephant’s collar to hide the evidence of their crime.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States said, “Killing magnificent wild animals for fun and social media bragging is not only wrong, but a serious detriment to conservation that undermines federal and international wildlife protection measures. We must all move beyond such violence, which is driving rare and treasured species to extinction.”

The three groups encourage the public to contact their Members of Congress to support H.R. 4804, the ProTECT Act of 2019 (Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies Act) which would amend the Endangered Species Act  to prohibit taking endangered or threatened species into the United States as trophies as well as the importation of any such trophies into the United States.


Media contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society Legislative Fund:

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929,

Humane Society International:

Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337,




Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at

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

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Army trucks moved in despite campaigners’ legal effort

Humane Society International / Africa

Oscar Nkala Wild-caught young elephants are held captive in a fenced boma by Zimbabwe authorities awaiting shipment to China.

CAPE TOWN—Animal protection experts at Humane Society International/Africa and Zimbabwe animal groups have today expressed their outrage and heartbreak at the news that more than 30 wild-caught baby elephants held captive for nearly a year in Hwange National Park, have been flown out of the country via Victoria Falls Airport. The news comes on the same day Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA), supported by HSI/Africa, Advocates4Earth, and Sibanye Animal & Welfare Conservancy Trust, filed urgent court papers at Harare High Court in an attempt to stop the shipment to Chinese zoos. Zimbabwe has exported 108 young elephants to zoos in China since 2012.

HSI/Africa has also today released new, exclusive footage of the young elephants taken just days ago, showing them eating dry branches and walking around a small water hole in their fenced boma. These are the last known images of the elephants before their removal today.

HSI/Africa’s sources on the ground report that army trucks moved in to remove the elephants, and that ZimParks staff on the scene had their mobile phones removed, presumably to stop news of the shipment getting out. Sources previously reported that ZimParks officials – apparently planning to accompany the baby elephants to China – had applied for visas to China.

DOWNLOAD HSI/Africa’s fresh images and video footage of the baby elephants here.

The shipment to China is in defiance of the spirit of a landmark vote at the August meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangerd Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at which a near total ban on live elephant exports from Zimbabwe and Botswana to zoos was agreed. The new CITES rules don’t take effect until 26th November, so it appears that Zimbabwe is attempting to export the elephants before the deadline.

Elephant biologist Audrey Delsink, wildlife director at Humane Society International/Africa, said: “We are left feeling outraged and heartbroken at this news today that the Zimbabwe authorities have shipped these poor baby elephants out of the country. Zimbabwe is showing total disregard for the spirit of the CITES ruling as well as ignoring local and global criticism. Condemning these elephants to a life of captivity in Chinese zoos is a tragedy. We and others have been working for months to try and stop these elephants being shipped because all that awaits them in China is a life of monotonous deprivation in zoos or circuses. As an elephant biologist used to observing these magnificent animals in their natural wild habitat, I am devastated by this outcome. These animals should be roaming in the wild with their families but instead they have been ripped away from their mothers for more than a year and now sold off for lifelong captivity.”    

Lenin Chisaira, an environmental lawyer from Zimbabwe-based Advocates4Earth who filed an interdict to try to stop the exports in May 2019, and which has been working with HSI/Africa and others on efforts to release the elephants, said: “The secrecy around the ongoing  capture and trade of Zimbabwe’s wildlife exposes lack of accountability, transparency and a hint of arrogance by Zimbabwean authorities. They seem prepared to go ahead despite global outcry and advice. They also seem keen to go against local pressure , and local legal processes considering the case we launched early this year which is centred on the welfare and trading of these elephants.”

Over the past year, elephant experts and wildlife protection groups across Africa have called for the elephant export to be halted and for all future captures to be stopped. The African Elephant Coalition, an alliance of 32 African countries, has called on Zimbabwe to end the export of wild elephants to zoos and other captive facilities.

Nomusa Dube, founder of Zimbabwe Elephant Foundation, said: “The Zimbabwe Constitution Wild Life Act states that all Zimbabwe wildlife is owned by the citizens, and right now Constitutional national laws have been broken. The capture and export of wildlife in Zimbabwe is unconstitutional and unlawful thus any CITES permits are illegal.”  


HSI/Africa: Media & Outreach Manager Leozette Roode, mobile +27 71 360 1104,
HSI/UK: Director of International Media Wendy Higgins, mobile +44 (0) 7989 972 423,

CITES Parties agreed a near ban on the export of wild-caught African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana to captive situations, with exceptions only if in consultation with the CITES Animals Committee and the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group, an expert group that has publicly stated it does not believe there to be conservation benefits to wild caught elephants being sent to captive facilities. Notably, the government of China abstained while Zimbabwe along with the United States voted against the near-total ban. African elephants in Zimbabwe are listed on Appendix II of CITES with an annotation that allows live elephants to be exported to “appropriate and acceptable” destinations. Under this definition, Zimbabwe has been capturing live baby African elephants in the wild for years and exporting them to zoos in China and elsewhere. The new position agreed by CITES Parties in August 2019 clarifies that captive situations outside of the elephants’ natural range and not for conservation purposes, do not constitute appropriate or acceptable destinations.

Humane Society International / United Kingdom

Guy Harrop/Alamy

LONDON–Around the world, billions of animals suffer for our food, fashion, beauty and entertainment. Many of them lead deprived, miserable lives confined in unnatural conditions or are subjected to deliberate cruelty. It doesn’t have to be that way. By changing our lifestyles to make more compassionate choices, we can all be animal defenders. This World Animal Day on 4th October, global animal charity Humane Society International shares its top tips for preventing animal suffering.

1. Eat less / no meat and dairy

With more than 80 billion land animals reared and slaughtered globally for food every year, not to mention the nearly 3 trillion fish pulled from the ocean and countless more raised on aquatic factory farms, industrial scale animal agriculture is not only one of the biggest animal welfare issues on our planet, it is also one of the leading contributors to climate change and deforestation. For example more than a third of all British egg-laying hens are still locked up in cages, confined to a space not much bigger than a sheet of A4 paper.

By switching to a more plant-based diet, we can spare animals from suffering on factory farms, reduce water and air pollution, as well as help combat climate change through reducing the carbon footprint of our food choices, and conserve precious planetary resources. Moving towards a more plant-based plate also benefits our health as diets high in fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

2. Choose cruelty-free cosmetics

Hundreds of thousands of animals still suffer and die each year around the world to test shampoo, mascara and other cosmetic products and their chemical ingredients. Terrified mice, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs have substances forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or smeared onto their skin before they are killed. Cosmetic animal tests are archaic chemical-poisoning experiments devised more than half a century ago, such as rodent “acute toxicity” tests (1920s), rabbit eye and skin irritation tests (1940s) and guinea pig skin allergy tests (1950s). By contrast, modern non-animal methods are faster, more accurate at predicting human responses, and less expensive than the animal tests they replace.

HSI and our partners are leading the global effort to ban cosmetic animal testing in the world’s largest and most influential beauty markets. Our #BeCrueltyFree campaign has been instrumental in driving the European Union to become the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetic market, and in securing subsequent bans in India, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Korea, Guatemala, Australia and in seven states in Brazil. Nearly 40 countries so far have banned cosmetics animal testing.

3. Say no to exploiting animals for entertainment

Around the world, many thousands of animals are exploited for entertainment, from the slow-death sadism of bullfights and cockfights to the neglect and mistreatment of captive marine and land-dwelling wildlife kept for display. The suffering of animals only continues for as long as the public pays to watch, so we can all help by not participating. Bullfights are not “fair fights,” but highly staged forms of government-subsidized animal cruelty that perpetuate the idea that the torment and killing of animals for amusement is acceptable, so please don’t attend these events when in Spain, France or elsewhere. Up to 8,000 lions suffer in captivity in South Africa, bred in appalling conditions for the lion cub petting industry in which tourists pay to bottle feed and take selfies with cubs. Ethical tourists have the power to shut down this industry by removing their custom. Wild animals in circuses, traveling shows and attractions often receive insufficient water, food and shelter, lack veterinary care, can be subjected to repetitive and stressful training, and can spend hours chained or confined. Camels, elephants, donkeys and horses used for tourist rides and safaris are often malnourished and physically abused, and suffer open wounds. Elephants are often stolen from the wild when young, illegally trafficked, broken after capture and punished with bullhooks. They are forced to carry excessive weight, suffer sores and diseases, and receive inadequate care. Whales and dolphins also suffer for entertainment – the natural habitat of orcas and other marine mammals simply cannot be replicated in captivity, and swimming with dolphins increases demand for captive animals, including from brutal “drive fisheries” such as the Taiji hunt in Japan.

4. Reject ‘delicacy’ meat

Across Asia, around 30 million dogs and 10 million cats are brutally killed for meat, most of them stolen pets or strays grabbed from the streets. In South Korea dogs are raised on farms and killed by electrocution; elsewhere in Asia they are usually bludgeoned, hanged or more rarely, boiled alive. In China, Vietnam and Indonesia, hundreds of dogs and cats can be crammed onto a single truck, driven for hours or days without water, food, protection from the extremes of cold and heat, and many suffering broken limbs, shock and disease. The World Health Organization warns that the trade, slaughter and consumption of dogs poses human health risks from trichinellosis, cholera and rabies. More than 70 million sharks are also killed annually for shark fin soup. The trade involves cutting off a shark’s fin, often while it is still alive, and dumping the animal back into the sea to die slowly. Don’t be tempted to eat shark fin soup, or dog or cat meat as “bucket list” items when travelling, as it merely perpetuates this brutal and often illegal trade.

5. Don’t wear fur

Millions of foxes, mink, raccoon dogs, rabbits and coyotes die every year for fashion. Confined in small, wire-mesh cages on factory farms or captured by painful metal traps in the wild, their fur is turned into frivolous keychain trinkets or trim on coats and hats. The average life span of an animal intensively farmed for fur is just eight months, after which mink will be gassed and foxes and raccoon dogs will be electrocuted. These terrible conditions can create psychological disorders, causing the animals to constantly pace and circle the boundaries of their cramped space, as well as fighting between cage mates and even cannibalism. Fur – and leather – are also incredibly polluting industries. The dressing and tanning processes, which stop the animal’s skin and pelt from decomposing as they would naturally do, use toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, cyanide, lead and chromium which can be released into waterways and devastate wildlife. These products are only natural whilst they are still on a living animal, after that the processes used to preserve and dress leather and fur are anything but earth-friendly. For the estimated 100 million animals killed for fur, life is typically a miserable existence. The future of fashion is compassion, with cruelty-free alternatives becoming more popular than ever with ethical consumers.


Media contact: United Kingdom – Wendy Higgins

Humane Society International / United States

Chris Upton/Alamy Stock Photo

WASHINGTON— The Trump administration has authorized a U.S. hunter to import a lion trophy from Tanzania — the first allowed from that country since lions were given protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in January 2016. A Florida man received permission to import the lion’s skin, skull, claws and teeth, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service records belatedly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The decision likely signals that the Fish and Wildlife Service is approving, or will approve, lion and other wildlife trophy imports from Tanzania, despite that nation’s troubling history of mismanaging populations of lions, elephants and other imperiled animals. Many — likely more than two-thirds — of the permit findings would apply to other applications for Tanzanian trophy imports.

The Florida hunter was represented by attorney John Jackson, a member of the Trump administration’s International Wildlife Conservation Council, an advisory board that promotes trophy hunting. The permitting decision was apparently made earlier this summer, though the agency has not been fully transparent about the timeline since the hunter’s application was first submitted in November 2016.

“This is tragic news for lion conservation, and it suggests that the Trump administration may soon open the floodgates to trophy imports from Tanzania,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Tanzania is a lion stronghold, but it’s been criticized by scientists for corruption and inadequate wildlife protections. Opening the U.S. market to these imports doesn’t bode well for the lion kings of Tanzania.”

Trophy hunters target mature male lions with manes that make desirable trophies. But such lions are often pack leaders. When they’re shot by a hunter, the new pack leader kills the previous one’s offspring, resulting in the loss of not one, but many, lions.

Forty percent of lions in Africa are thought to be found in Tanzania, but populations are hard to count. Not knowing how many lions it has, Tanzania has reverted to allowing hunters to kill males believed to be six and older, even though the animals are difficult to age in the field. The country also sets quotas based on the previous year’s kills, not on population size.

“As one of the original petitioners for ESA protection for lions, we are alarmed that the government has allowed lion trophy imports from Tanzania to resume,” said Anna Frostic, managing wildlife attorney for the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. “We continue to battle this administration in federal court to ensure that lion and elephant trophy permitting decisions are fully transparent and based solely on conservation science.”

The Obama administration banned elephant trophy imports from Tanzania from 2014-2017 because of concerns that poaching and mortality were outpacing births. One prominent lion expert was expelled from Tanzania for questioning government policies and highlighting corruption. The Tanzanian government itself shuttered its hunting programs in the fall of 2017, noting the need for reforms.

“We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it may land on Tanzania’s elephants,” said Sanerib. “This administration reversed course and lifted the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe. I’m worried Trump officials will do the same for Tanzania. In the face of the global extinction crisis, we shouldn’t let rich Americans kill imperiled species for fun.”

The organizations, along with the Humane Society Legislative Fund, are urging Congress to pass the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies (CECIL) Act to ban imports of trophies and parts from African lions and elephants from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia into the United States.


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