Killing of 280 South African animals to raise more than US$1 million for American hunting group’s anti-wildlife agenda

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Killing of 280 South African animals to raise more than US$1 million for American hunting group’s anti-wildlife agenda

Safari Club International convention in Las Vegas includes auction of South African hunts that may fund pro-trophy hunt lobbying in the U.S.

JOHANNESBURG (31st January 2017)—This week in Las Vegas, Safari Club International will auction off the killing of 280 animals in South Africa valued at more than US$1 million.

Nearly 25,000 hunters are expected to attend Safari Club International’s trophy hunting convention and bid on trips that allow American hunters to kill animals representing some of South Africa’s iconic species: giraffe, hippopotamus, zebra, Cape buffalo, baboon, wildebeest, sable antelope, warthog, greater kudu, impala, springbuck, blesbok, caracal, African wildcat, and many others. Several upgrades (additional hunts for extra cost) are also offered for particular species like elephant, rhino, lion and leopard – all of which are threatened with extinction. Nearly 1,000 animals will be auctioned off in global hunts valued at more than $5.3 million.

All auction profits, including from the South Africa-based trophy hunts, will go toward funding SCI, one of the world’s largest trophy hunting advocacy groups. This annual auction raises substantial funds for SCI (generating US$14.4 million in 2015), which it uses in its efforts to actively lobby against measures that would increase protection for threatened species. For example, earlier this year SCI filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in defense of aerial hunting and other inhumane predator-killing practices on refuges in Alaska.

SCI also financially supports U.S. political action committees (super PACs) like the Hunter Defense Fund which works to elect pro-trophy hunting politicians. According to SCI, 94 percent of candidates they supported won in the 2014 U.S. Congressional election and 147 pro-hunting candidates have been elected to Congress.

The sons of U.S. President Donald Trump – Donald Jr. and Eric – are both avid trophy hunters and in recent months, images of their past African safari kills have angered conservationists and wildlife-lovers. The potential influence SCI will have in Trump’s Department of the Interior, especially with the influx of millions of dollars from its Las Vegas convention, is a matter of great concern for conservation-minded organizations.

Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for HSI said: “We are worried that with the new U.S. administration, pro-trophy hunting advocacy groups like Safari Club International will have undue negative influence on key wildlife conservation issues. It’s even worse to think that the lost lives of South African mammals are helping finance this agenda far across the globe.

“It’s time to bust the myth that killing for kicks helps conservation in any significant way at all; it simply doesn’t. And by allowing U.S. hunters to kill South Africa’s iconic species, South Africa is boosting the coffers of a powerful U.S. organization that instead threatens global wildlife. The South African public should be seriously concerned.”

  • Top two most expensive South Africa SCI auction items are:
    • 10-day South Africa Plains Game Hunt for Two Hunters and Two Observers (hunt valued at US$37,903). Auction can be seen here.
    • 7-day South Africa Hippo, Crocodile and Sable Hunt for One Hunter and One Observer (hunt valued at US$35,000). Auction can be seen here.
  • The top three most expensive global SCI auction items are:
    • A New Zealand red stag and tahr hunt for four people (hunt valued at US$92,000). Auction can be seen here.
    • A Zambia leopard, sable, roan, and plains game hunt (hunt valued at US$81,400) – leopard are threatened with extinction and recently elevated to Vulnerable status by the IUCN. Auction can be seen here.
    • A Canadian polar bear (hunt valued at US$72,000) – polar bears are threatened by climate change and unsustainable hunting. Auction can be seen here. Canada North Outfitting describes the kill: “One fortunate hunter will have the experience and thrill of a lifetime.”
  • Two Namibian elephants are also up for offer (hunts valued at US$25,000 and US$35,000) – while elephants are facing a massive poaching crisis.
  • Two South Africa hunts (from Thaba Mmoyo Safaris and Melody Safaris) offer to hunt wildlife with dogs, a controversial practice known as “hounding” whereby an animal is chased until exhausted, trapped, and easily shot (hunts valued at US$16,500 and US$15,000 each). Auctions can be seen here and here.
  • One auction from Watts Trophy Hunting offers an upgrade to kill an elephant and African lion. Auction can be seen here.
  • South Africa auctions offer canned hunting – a cruel practice in which animals are hunted within a fenced area without any opportunity to escape.
  • All auctions may be viewed here.

HSI is calling on South African citizens to oppose callous killing of wildlife for entertainment by signing a pledge to end trophy hunting and donate to this cause on the HSI website.

Watch HSI’s footage from the undercover investigation of the 2016 SCI convention.

ENDS

Media Contact:

South Africa: Audrey Delsink, Executive Director, HSI/Africa, +27 83 417 6065, adelsink@hsi.org Global: Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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 programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

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