Trophy Hunting


Trophy hunting is deliberately cruel to animals and corruptly indifferent to local communities and conservation. Hunters defend their morally unethical “sport” with claims that hunting fees help local economies and fund conservation efforts. But research shows these fees cannot compete with other tourist revenue opportunities.  And due to corruption and government indifference, much of the hunting industry money never makes it into local economies.

A 2006 Biological Conservation study estimated that hunting trips in sub-Saharan Africa generated annual revenue of around US$201 Million. Meanwhile, a World Bank study estimates that tourists to that region in 2012 generated US$36 Billion.

A recent Humane Society International report found that in eight African countries that permit trophy hunting, it amounted to less than 2% of total tourism revenue. People in Botswana viewed photographic camps as more beneficial to the economy than hunting because they employed more people year round.

Claims that trophy hunting helps cull and conserve species are exaggerated. According to Born Free USA, trophy species—elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, lions, etc.—are in serious decline in countries that allow them to be hunted. And by targeting the biggest and strongest in the herds, trophy hunting dramatically lessens the gene pool and survival rates of these amazing animals.

Trophy hunting is advertised as “sport” yet is anything but that. Elephants do not anticipate being shot and so don’t run away from hunting groups. Trophy hunters can easily move into advantageous positions to shoot these magnificent animals. The first shot is often not fatal. Once wounded, these now defenseless elephants endure immense suffering. Terrified and trying desperately to flee, they must endure a prolonged attack and a slow agonizing death.

Many animals — including rhinoceroses, giraffes, and baboons — suffer similar fates. During “canned” hunts, lions bred in captivity are released into enclosed areas from which they can’t escape being shot at point-blank range by “hunters.” There is no skill involved and the animals have no chance of escape.

Note: Trophy hunters often kill simply because they can. Well-known trophy hunter Ron Thomson claims to have killed more than 5,000 elephants. He proudly recalls a time using military semiautomatic rifles, “… three of us were able to kill between 30 and 50 elephants stone dead with brainshots in less than 60 seconds. We did it exceptionally well.” His full and disturbing account was posted by Animal Welfare Watch and shared to the Animal Rights Strategy Group (Original) Facebook page on 09/12/20.



California bill, SB 1175, would prohibit the importation and possession of animal parts from a list of endangered and threatened African species, including elephants, lions and rhinos. Hunting advocates and groups oppose this bill that would greatly reduce the cruelty of trophy hunting.

The bill would deter hunters like Aaron Raby of Los Angeles. Raby paid more than $30,000 to travel to South Africa in December 2019 to kill a defenseless young elephant, and an additional $10,000 to have its head preserved as a souvenir. Hours after killing the elephant, Raby said that he had a piece of it for dinner, with a side of tomato and avocado.

“I don’t understand why this is anybody’s business but my own,” Raby told the Los Angeles Times. “What I did was legal. I didn’t break a law. They’re going to place a ban because a bunch of … crybabies that don’t like hunting.”

Contact your local California representative, senator, and Gov. Newsom’s office to insure the passage of this important legislation.

  • From 2004 and 2014, an estimated 200,000 hunting trophies of threatened species were traded between nations, an average of 20,0000 trophies per year
  • The United States accounts for 71% of the trophy import demand, that’s 15 times more than the next highest nations, Germany and Spain (both 5 percent).
  • The Top 20 countries account for 91% of all imported trophies
  • The “Africa Big Five”— African elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, leopards, and the African buffalo—are amongst the most prized and soughtaftertrophies
  • About 8,500 trophy hunters visit South Africa each year, compared to around 9.5 million tourists.
  • A 2006 Biological Conservation study estimated “a minimum of 18,500” hunters participate annually in hunts in sub-Saharan Africa and generate revenue of around US$201 million
  • A World Bank study estimates around 33.8 million tourists visited sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 and earned the region US$36 Billion.


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