Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Stop Trophy Hunting Auctions!

The World’s Largest Hunting Club Is Auctioning the Chance to Kill Hundreds of Animals. More than 20,000 hunters are expected to attend Safari Club International’s convention in Las Vegas this week.
The world’s largest trophy hunting organization, Safari Club International, is hosting its annual convention in Las Vegas this week, where more than 20,000 big game hunters are expected to bid on the chance to kill an animal.

It’s dubbed the “Ultimate Hunters’ Market,” and this year the club is auctioning off 300 hunts taking place in 32 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Bidders can sign up for the chance to kill African elephants, Australian water buffalo, and Alaskan bears.

The sales are expected to garner millions for the club (the 317 hunts sold last year brought in $2.7 million) and come as tensions rise among hunting advocates and wildlife conservationists.

It doesn’t help the club’s image that Cecil the lion’s killer, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, is a member. The club suspended Palmer after questions about the legality of the hunt—in which Zimbabwe’s most famous lion was lured out of a protected area and killed—arose. The club appears to have reinstated Palmer after Zimbabwe authorities only brought charges against his guide, according to the Humane Society.

“These conventions bring to light that most trophy hunters are in fact American,” said Teresa Telecky, director of the wildlife department for Humane Society International, during a press conference Wednesday.

In a new report, the animal welfare group outlined the scope of U.S. hunters’ involvement in trophy hunting.

More than 1.2 million animal trophies were imported into the U.S. between 2005 and 2014. That’s an average of 126,000 trophies a year, according to data the Humane Society obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thirty-two thousand of those trophies came from Africa’s “Big Five” hunts; the five animals targeted are the African lion, the elephant, the cape buffalo, the rhino, and the leopard. Telecky said hunting clubs award special prizes for members who kill all five.

“It’s like a hit list, and the club honors those award winners at these conventions,” she said.

The trophy killings don’t stop with Africa. The Humane Society’s report, Cecil 2: Trophy Hunting America’s Lion, details the toll hunters take on American mountain lions, also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers.
In states where mountain lion hunting is permitted, trophy hunting is the species’ greatest source of mortality, according to HSUS. (Photo: Courtesy the Humane Society)
Trophy hunters killed 29,000 mountain lions in the United States between 2005 and 2014. The top five deadliest states for the big cats are Idaho (4,833 killed), Montana (4,047), Colorado (3,414), Utah (3,200), and Arizona (2,893).

Bradley Bergstrom, professor of biology at Valdosta State University in Georgia, said state and federal wildlife agencies claim that recreational hunting of mountain lions, wolves, and other predators is necessary to manage the species and protect livestock and elk herds.

“But those arguments don’t square with recent science on the issue,” Bergstrom said. “Carnivores, especially wolves, are self-regulating. Of course they’re going to affect overpopulated deer and elk pops when they are reestablished in an area, but once they are established, they control their own population growth by their own density; their population is limited by inter-pack aggression.”

Josphat Ngonyo Kisui, executive director for the African Network for Animal Welfare, said another argument clubs make is that trophy hunting funds conservation efforts through permit fees.

“But instead of relying on those trophy hunting profits, countries need to realize the income potential from wildlife ecotourism,” Kisui said. “In South Africa, $9.2 billion—approximately 2.6 percent of the country’s GDP—was generated by wildlife watching, almost 14 times more than trophy hunting. The best way to save a species is to ensure that the animals stay alive.”
Urgent: Stop the Las Vegas Trophy Hunting Auction!
PETITION TARGET: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center, Las Vegas
We've got 230,791 supporters, help us get to 240,000

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to place bids at a trophy hunting auction. 

Sign this petition to demand the Mandalay Bay Hotel cancel the 4-day event and promise not to hold any future auctions encouraging the slaughter of animals.

This disgusting event is organized by Safari Club International (of which the notorious killer of Cecil the lion is a part) and is selling off permits to kill 600 animals in 32 countries. Animals targeted by the event include the Iberian red deer and even African elephants.

These are animals we need to be protecting, not encouraging people to kill. Join the campaign asking Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center to shut down this event and promise not to hold another animal slaughter auction. Click Here To Help!

Also, Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in Minnesota.
If killing defenseless animals for prizes sounds like fun to you, be sure not to miss Minnesota’s upcoming “Save the Birds” Coyote Hunting Tournament. Cash prizes are awarded for the most coyotes killed, and the largest and smallest killed as well. There aren't many rules, and there's no limit.

Wildlife-killing contests are currently allowed as a form of "charitable gambling" in Minnesota. Many have looked the other way, not wanting to interfere with the seemingly-popular fishing contests and "big buck" deer hunting contests, but it's harder to look away as the bloody carcasses of coyotes accumulate. Coyotes in Minnesota are classified as “unprotected wild animals,” so they're hunted and trapped year-round, with few regulations, no limits, and often no sense. Although the targeted removal of coyotes can be necessary when they cause problems on farms, these coyote-killing competitions aren't any part of that.

These tournaments are disastrous to wildlife, and glorify killing for the sake of killing. Please join me in calling on the Minnesota DNR to ban this bloodsport and prohibit wildlife-killing contests statewide.

Organizers of these events often claim that they are helping to control predator populations, but studies have shown the opposite effect: increased predator reproduction followed by increased attacks on livestock.

Many of these tournaments encourage “junior” participants, saying that it's an opportunity to teach the ethics of sportsmanship to young hunters. But there’s nothing ethical about it. The piles of carcasses at the “finish lines” of these events show that this is not hunting, but thrill-killing on a staggering scale.

These contests are ineffective at best, savage at worst. In areas where predator control is needed, professionally developed “best management practices” are more effective, and more humane.

Other states are heeding the call to ban these contests--last year, California outlawed events that award prizes for killing wildlife. In addition, they've been banned on federal land in Idaho, legal action has halted gambling on them in Oregon, and legislation has been introduced to outlaw them in New Mexico, Nevada, and New York.

Let’s call on the Minnesota DNR to join the movement toward ethical wildlife management, and ban wildlife-killing contests statewide.

Last, Stop Annual Auction of Trophy Hunting Permits.
Target: President, Safari Club International Larry Higgins
Goal: End the “Ultimate Hunters’ Market,” the annual Safari Club International auction that sells permits to hunt over 600 wild animals in 32 countries.
Safari Club International, the world’s largest trophy hunting organization, recently sold hundreds of permits to hunt and kill African lions, grizzly bears, wolves, and deer among many other animal species – animals we should be protecting, rather than slaughtering for prizes. The “Ultimate Hunters’ Market” took place at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas as part of an ongoing, four-day auction and convention event from February 3rd to February 6th, drawing over 20,000 bidders. The winners received permits to hunt wild animals in the United States, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain, among other countries. Trophy hunting is both unethical and unnecessary, as sport hunters kill for recreation rather than for the goal of controlling animal populations. The “Ultimate Hunters’ Market” both celebrates and encourages this cruel and unsustainable practice, and took place this year despite numerous protesters who spoke out online and at the event in Las Vegas.
Safari Club International has been under fire from conservationists ever since Cecil the African lion was lured from a national park in Zimbabwe and killed by Walter Palmer, an American member of the trophy hunting organization. Cecil has become a symbol of everything that is wrong with trophy hunting; hunters view these vulnerable animals as commodities, rather than respecting their natural place in the wild, and many use cruel hunting methods. By continuing to hold these celebratory trophy hunting events, Safari Club International is ensuring that many more wild animals will suffer the same fate as Cecil the lion.
The worst part about the auction is that it is annual; unless we take a stand, this astounding amount of trophy hunting permits will continue to be auctioned off every year. By signing the petition below you will help urge the President of Safari Club International to put an end to these unethical auctions and make this year’s “Ultimate Hunters’ Market” the last.
Dear President Higgins,
The annual Safari Club International auction, “Ultimate Hunters’ Market,” must be halted. Auctioning permits to hunt over 600 animals in 32 countries supports the unethical practice of trophy hunting, a sport that is as unnecessary as it is cruel. Rather than striving to control animal population, trophy hunters kill for recreation, resulting in the deaths of animals we should be protecting rather than slaughtering.
The annual auction both celebrates and encourages this unsustainable practice, and took place this year despite numerous protests from conservationists, scientists, and activists. I am urging you to heed the protests and make the 2016 auction the last. Please take action to discontinue this annual tradition, and put an end to the “Ultimate Hunters’ Market.”
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Daughter#3