Trophy hunting is the killing of an animal for sport or pleasure in order to display part or all of its body as a trophy.
Born Free is opposed to the killing of any animal for sport or pleasure and is against all forms of trophy hunting. We want to eliminate trophy hunting by exposing its fundamental immorality and demonstrating alternative solutions.
According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), 290,000 trophy items from nearly 300 CITES-listed species were exported across the world between 2008 and 2017.
The top five exporting countries for those trophy items were South Africa, Canada, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The top five destination countries were the United States, South Africa, Singapore, Germany and Spain.
The top five species were the Nile crocodile, American black bear, African elephant, hippopotamus and zebra.
Trophy hunting does not benefit wildlife conservation. Hunting proponents often claim the money generated through hunting fees goes towards funding wildlife conservation agencies, and that hunters can help control wildlife populations by removing problem or redundant individuals. However, little of the money generated through trophy hunting goes back into conservation. Rather than targeting problem or redundant animals, trophy hunters tend to covet animals with particular traits which make them good trophies. The killing of these individuals can have serious adverse consequences, which can threaten future population health and viability.
Trophy hunting does not benefit the local economy to any significant degree. A 2017 study concluded that “the current total economic contribution of trophy hunters from their hunting-related, and non-hunting related, tourism is about 0.03% of GDP”. In contrast, a study found a live elephant may be worth as much as $1.6m over its lifetime through income from photographic tourism – many times the fee typically paid by a trophy hunter to shoot an elephant.
Trophy hunting does not consider animal welfare. Hunters may not be expert shots, and are encouraged to use weapons such as bows and arrows, handguns or muzzle-loaders – the use of which increases the likelihood of animals being wounded and suffering. Target animals may be pursued for long periods of time during hunts. Individuals may be separated from family groups or populations, which may result in considerable stress.