U.S. Imported More than 1.2 Million Wildlife Trophies in Last Ten Years, Having Dire Impact on World’s Wildlife
More than 1,200 different kinds of animals imported to the U.S. between 2005 and 2014
Humane Society International
In the last ten years, American hunters have imported more than 1.2 million animals, more than 126,000 a year, as hunting trophies from across the world, according to a new report by Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States.
The report, Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: the United States’ Role in Global Trophy Hunting, uses original analysis of hunting trophy import data obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Among its findings include:
Trophies are primarily imported from Canada and South Africa. They are followed by Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia and Botswana.
The species most favored by trophy hunters include: American black bears, impalas, common wildebeests, greater kudus, gemsboks, springboks and bonteboks.
Trophy hunters highly covet the African big five, importing them to the U.S. in staggering numbers between 2005 and 2014: 5,600 African lions, 4,600 African elephants, 4,500 African leopards, 330 southern white rhinos, and 17,200 African buffalo. All of these species, except the African buffalo, are near threatened or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The U.S. ports of entry importing the most wildlife trophies during the decade were: New York, New York; Pembina, North Dakota; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; and Portal, North Dakota.
Teresa M. Telecky, director of the wildlife department at HSI, said: “This report clearly shows the dire impact American trophy hunters are having on wildlife in other countries. It’s outrageous that every year hunters take the lives of thousands of animals, many threatened with extinction, just to win a prize and show off. These animals need protection, not to be mounted on a wall. The fact that rare, majestic species are entering the U.S. in large and small ports of entry should alarm lawmakers and the public concerned about trophy hunting.”
Competitive hunting groups promote these hunts, offering accolades and awards to its members. The largest such group, Safari Club International, just wrapped up its convention in Las Vegas where more than 300 mammal hunts for more than 600 animals were auctioned off, and countless other hunts arranged privately on the exhibit floor. SCI often uses these proceeds to fight wildlife protection measures. For certain species, including lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos, the U.S. is the largest trophy importing country.
As one way of preventing disastrous consequences of trophy hunting, HSI and The HSUS will continue to seek new protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act for species that meet the criteria for listing. The African lion is the latest species to receive ESA protection after a multi-year effort by animal protection organizations, including HSI and The HSUS. The groups are also seeking increased ESA protections for species currently listed in a lower category of protection, as was recently done for the African elephant. HSI and The HSUS are also urging corporations – such as Swarovski Optik – to end sponsorship of trophy hunting advocacy organizations, as well as reaching out to more airlines and other transport companies to ban the transport of trophies.
The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Minneapolis City Council for voting unanimously to pass a measure prohibiting the use of bullhooks on elephants in circuses and traveling shows.
Christine Coughlin, Minnesota state director for The HSUS said: “For too long, elephants in traveling shows have suffered trauma and abuse from handlers wielding the sharp end of a bullhook. We commend the city council and Councilmember Cam Gordon, the amendment’s author, for taking action to protect these highly intelligent and social animals from inhumane and outdated training methods.”
Bullhooks, which resemble fireplace pokers, are used by trainers to strike, jab, prod, pull and hook sensitive spots on an elephant’s body. Elephants are hooked and hit with bullhooks when being trained and prior to performances to instill fear and, in turn, ensure that tricks or other desired behaviors will be performed on command. Bullhooks are also used to punish the animals when they fail to perform as instructed and to control elephants during routine handling. The measure was offered as an amendment by Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) to the revision of the city’s animal ordinance and will go into effect January 1, 2019.
Council Member Gordon said: “Today Minneapolis joined nearly 50 other American cities that have passed laws protecting captive elephants. Bullhooks are cruel, and the public is clearly no longer willing to tolerate abuse or mistreatment of elephants, whether it happens in sight or behind the scenes. I hope other cities in Minnesota and beyond adopt similar protections for these intelligent and sensitive animals.”
PETA Will Help Pay for CCTV Cameras and Reward to Catch Person(s) Responsible for Strewing Thousands of Thumbtacks Around Dog Park
Following reports that thumbtacks have been found all across the Ohlone Dog Park in the past several weeks and that at least two dogs have been injured by them, PETA is sending a letter to the local police chief offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible—and another $1,000 toward the installation of security cameras at the park.
“All dogs desire and deserve a safe, protected space in which to run, explore, and interact with other dogs,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes the police will install cameras and that anyone who can help nab the person or persons responsible for trying to harm dogs will come forward right away.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—advises families to keep their animal companions safely indoors and never leave them unattended outside. When taken to dog parks, they should be watched closely, and dogs should always be accompanied in the backyard and escorted on walks on a comfortable, secure harness and leash.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Bill Goswick, police chief of Hercules, follows.
February 12, 2016
City of Hercules
Dear Mr. Goswick:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including hundreds of thousands across California, regarding the thumbtacks strewn throughout the Ohlone Dog Park and to make an offer that would benefit the residents of your community, human and canine alike: We’d like to contribute $1,000 toward the installation of CCTV cameras at the Ohlone Dog Park and a $1,000 reward to encourage someone to come forward with any information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this cruel act.
All dogs desire and deserve a safe, protected space in which to run, explore, and interact with other dogs, and this designated dog park should, of course, offer a safe way for responsible guardians to meet their animals’ needs. Cruelty to animals is always a community concern. People who abuse animals rarely do so only once and often go on to harm humans as well. According to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, 76 percent of people who abuse animals also abuse a family member, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders.
Our offer would help protect all Ohlone Dog Park visitors—both people and dogs. We would love to work with you and the police department to make this happen. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk
Reward Offered in Abused Puppy Case in Vance County, North Carolina
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for severely abusing a puppy in Vance County, North Carolina.
The Case: On Jan. 30, Vance County Animal Control’s director received a call from a Samaritan who found a puppy wrapped in a plastic trash bag, put in a box and thrown to the side of the road. The puppy had severe mange, was lethargic and suffered severe health issues. The puppy was euthanized as a result.
Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and residents in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.
Erica Geppi, North Carolina state director for The HSUS said: “Discarding a puppy in a trash bag and leaving him for dead on the side of the road is heartbreakingly cruel and also a crime. We hope our reward helps bring more details to light and helps find the person or persons who committed this despicable act.”
The Investigators: Vance County Animal Control is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 252-492-3136.
Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.
The National Sheriffs’ Association and The HSUS launched ICE BlackBox, a free smartphone tool, to allow users to record video of illegal animal cruelty and share it securely with law enforcement for possible investigation and prosecution.
The HSUS doubled its standard cruelty reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from an HSUS board member. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, click here.