Photos by: Katie Cleary
Tragically, despite the pandemic, Dallas Safari Club’s annual trophy hunting convention is taking place again this year February 10-14, but this time virtually. The notorious trophy hunting organization is once again auctioning off hunts of some of the most beautiful, rare, and endangered species on the planet, all to raise an estimated 3.5 million dollars for their organization. The Safari Club promotes the ruthless killing of defenseless animals, with guns, as well as bows and arrows, for so-called ‘sport,’ putting the future of our wildlife in jeopardy.
In 2017, WAN went undercover at the Safari Club Convention in Las Vegas and saw shocking displays of endangered dead animals, deplorably deemed ‘trophies’ by some; a wide array of easily accessible guns and ammunition; fur coats with the faces and feet of animals still attached; and wildlife outfitters that target hunters wanting ‘opportunities’ to kill wildlife for obscene amounts of money. Making matters worse, the promotion of the senseless violence associated with trophy hunting, took place amidst a flurry of men, women, and horrifically, some children.
“While walking into the Safari Club International Convention in Las Vegas, the feeling of horror and anxiety was overwhelming,” said Katie Cleary, President and Founder of Peace 4 Animals and WAN. “The glorification of killing some of the world’s most endangered and threatened species on the planet was on display in such a shocking and heartless manner, it is a wonder how any human being can participate in such a cruel and selfish industry. We must do something to end the travesty of trophy hunting once and for all.”
“As we looked around at the massive crowd of 20,000 plus attendees, we couldn’t help but wonder what the method to the madness was,” continued Cleary. “There seemed to be a common thread throughout the convention with many trophy hunters justifying their actions based on what they claim to be ‘conservation,’ saying that if there wasn’t a value or price put on these animals, then there would be no incentive to protect them in the wild. The incentive to protect these animals lies in eco-tourism and photo safaris which brings in more money per year than trophy hunting ever will.
“Many of the species that were on display at the convention are listed on Appendix I of CITES, including: Snow Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, and others like African Leopards, Polar Bears, Wolves, and African Lions. Many other imperiled species were stuffed and put on display, others were said to be realistic replicas.”
As noted by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI) in a new shocking analysis of the 2021 Dallas Safari Club annual convention, beginning tomorrow, trophy hunters, hunting outfitters, and other businesses from around the world will gather online to buy, sell, and auction the opportunity to kill iconic animals, including canned hunts in the U.S., South Africa, and Argentina. Canned hunts involve the victimization of captive animals who live inside a fenced in area and have no way to escape the hunter. They are also refereed to as captive hunts, estate hunts or high fence hunts.
849 exhibitors from 32 countries will participate virtually.
351 of those exhibitors will offer hunting trips to kill 319 species, including critically endangered black rhinos, cheetahs, brown bears, and kangaroos, in 70 countries.
183 hunts in 24 countries were donated for auction to kill over 200 animals from leopards to bears.
“The pandemic is not slowing down the vile trophy hunting industry and the shameless conventions that celebrate the violent, needless slaughter of wild animals,” said Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “As millions of people struggle to survive the pandemic, trophy hunters spend millions of dollars on grim globe-trotting trips to shoot beloved, iconic animals for bragging rights and collections of heads to hang on their wall.”
The HSUS/HSI analysis shows that the over 800 exhibitors registered to participate in the convention will also sell wildlife body parts and products such as taxidermies, knives made of giraffe bones, furniture made of ostrich skin, boots and belts made of shark skin, and elephant leather, as well as other home décor and fashion accessories made from animals.
The 185 items that are expected to be auctioned off include donated hunts to kill at least 205 animals in 24 countries, among them: elephants, giraffes, hippos, Cape buffalos, and crocodiles. There are at least 16 U.S. canned hunts being auctioned off. Eight are in Texas. The remainder which include the hunting of elk, exotic sheep, and various antelope and deer species, are in Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania,
Among the most expensive hunts for auction are a $70,000 excursion for desert bighorn sheep in Mexico and a $52,850 brown bear hunt in Alaska. Other deplorable hunts include killing elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia, giraffes in South Africa, and leopards in Namibia. Items like firearms; apparel made of beaver, mink, and lynx fur; Swarovski Optik equipment such as a riflescope; and an $80,000 diamond necklace are up for auction as well.
“When WAN witnessed the disconnect to our natural world and the lack of compassion while undercover at the SCI convention, we realized that there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done to create and enforce laws to protect our most threatened species in every country and continent around the world. Most of us are born with compassion in our hearts but it has to be nurtured. We can help foster compassion by educating others about the plight of these incredible species and spread knowledge to have respect for all living beings. If we work together in a collective effort, we have the ability to change the hearts and minds of those who do not share the same love for animals. But, it has to be done with compassion first,” said Cleary.
A summary of progress made in 2020 to stop the trophy hunting industry is posted HERE!
Members of the public who are opposed to this senseless cruelty can sign the pledge against the trophy hunting of wildlife HERE!