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A coalition of 137 conservation and animal protection groups is demanding a worldwide ban on the import of hunting trophies. These include 45 African organizations, the Humane Society International, Born Free Foundation, Pro Wildlife, and Eurogroup for Animals. Hunters frequently target endangered species, which adds a conservation problem to an already bad animal welfare problem. Currently, CITES, the treaty that regulates the international trade of endangered species, allows trophy hunting imports.

Mona Schweizer, from Pro Wildlife, said “Trophy hunting stands out among the worst forms of wildlife exploitation and is neither ethical nor sustainable.” Mark Jones, head of policy at the Born Free Foundation, said, “In this time of crisis for wildlife and biodiversity, it cannot be right for European hunters to be able to pay to kill threatened wild animals, either within the EU or overseas, and ship the trophies home.” Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, added, “With the unethical practice of trophy hunting harming species conservation and the economy for decades, a policy shift is long overdue. Together, with a united voice of 137 NGOs from all around the world, we call on governments to take responsibility for the protection of species and biodiversity–and to ban the import of hunting trophies.”

The top regions in the world that import more hunting trophies are the US and the EU. Both regions imported the majority of 125,000 protected species trophies between 2014 and 2018. Canada has been the top exporter for quite some time (especially because of black bear trophies). South Africa is one of the top exporters and importers of hunting trophies, but polls show that 64% of its citizens disapprove. Despite many delays, it appears that the UK Parliament may be debating a ban on the import of the trophies of some species, as the Netherlands and Belgium did.