Breaking news: Botswana lifts trophy hunting ban on elephants

By on May 23, 2019 with 0 Comments

In a senseless step backward, the southern African nation of Botswana yesterday announced it will once again allow trophy hunters to prey upon its natural bounty of wildlife, including its iconic elephants. The move, reported in the media as a political ploy by President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi to curry favor with rural voters ahead of an election and undermine the legacy of his predecessor in office, comes despite tremendous benefits the country has reaped since it introduced the trophy hunting ban in 2014.

Botswana is home to 126,000 elephants — one-third of Africa’s total population — and the trophy hunting ban there gave conservationists hope for the survival of this beleaguered species. It also cast Botswana as a shining example of a nation at the forefront of the battle to save Africa’s declining wildlife — a reputation that’s now in serious jeopardy.

In the five years since it took effect, the ban is estimated to have saved nearly 2,400 elephants and 140 leopards, species whose numbers in the wild are dropping dangerously.

Wildlife tourism has also been a prominent driver for Botswana’s economy — it is the second largest contributor to the country’s GDP and a significant employer. In the years before the trophy hunting ban, according to a report by Economists at Large, employment from the trophy hunting industry in Botswana was only 0.5 percent of that coming from its photographic tourism employment. Moreover, revenue from trophy hunting accounted for less than an eighth of the revenue from wildlife tourism. In 2018, travel and tourism in Botswana experienced a 3.4% growth, contributing US$2.52 billion or 13.4% to the country’s economy and supporting 84,000 jobs or 8.9% of Botswana’s total employment. Reinstating trophy hunting could have a negative effect on these numbers, and will doubtlessly cut down on ecotourism jobs.

The Botswana government is trying to pass off its decision as an attempt to resolve human-wildlife conflict, but conservation scientists warn that poorly regulated trophy hunting can actually worsen such conflict by disrupting animal groups and creating social chaos among their ranks. There are many peaceful and non-lethal ways to address human-wildlife conflict without including trophy hunters who are interested mainly in kills and bragging rights, not in conservation or helping rural economies.

After the killing of Cecil the lion, the world is increasingly turning away from trophy hunting. A few wealthy American trophy hunters contribute to the problem by treating African countries as their personal playground. However, an overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to trophy hunting. The United States is Botswana’s second largest source of foreign tourists, and the results of an opinion poll we conducted in March show that 75 percent of respondents think it is important that Botswana protect elephants from trophy hunting.

In March, HSI sent two letters to President Masisi, along with our petition asking Botswana to keep the ban that was signed by more than 87,000 HSI’s supporters. Our letter was co-signed by 33 animal and welfare and wildlife conservation organizations.

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted today, “President Masisi, for every person who wants to kill elephants, there are millions who want them protected.” Botswana should treasure its wildlife, not allow politicians to squander them away for personal gain. We hope President Masisi will see the folly of this move and act to protect his country’s wildlife before it’s too late.

Spending bills move up in Congress, with progress for wild horses and burros, wolves and other wildlife

By on May 22, 2019 with 0 Comments
Spending bills move up in Congress, with progress for wild horses and burros, wolves and other wildlife

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson As the U.S. Congress takes up the business of funding federal programs, some good news for animals has emerged. Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved two Fiscal Year 2020 bills that cover funding for the Department of the Interior, . . . 

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Breaking news: Prada Group goes fur-free

By on May 22, 2019 with 54 Comments
Breaking news: Prada Group goes fur-free

Prada, one of the world’s biggest and most iconic fashion houses, has gone fur-free. The Prada Group, which is also the parent company of brands including Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe, today announced it will ban all animal fur products starting with its Spring . . . 

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HSI/Canada rescues more than 200 wild animals, including lions, tigers and bears, from roadside zoo

By on May 21, 2019 with 3 Comments
HSI/Canada rescues more than 200 wild animals, including lions, tigers and bears, from roadside zoo

Humane Society International rescuers are on the ground in Quebec today, assisting with a massive seizure of more than 200 wild animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, bears, camels and kangaroos, from an unaccredited roadside zoo. Earlier today, the zoo operator was arrested by the Montreal . . . 

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Horse deaths underscore urgent need for racing reform

By on May 20, 2019 with 1 Comment
Horse deaths underscore urgent need for racing reform

At the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico racetrack in Maryland this past Saturday, all eyes were on Bodexpress, a horse who unseated his jockey just out of the starting gate. Bodexpress went on to gallop riderless down the homestretch – and got . . . 

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Tiger left in deserted Houston house is now at home at Black Beauty Ranch; Owner arrested and charged with animal cruelty

By on May 17, 2019 with 4 Comments
Tiger left in deserted Houston house is now at home at Black Beauty Ranch; Owner arrested and charged with animal cruelty

The strange saga of a neglected tiger discovered last February in the garage of a deserted Houston home reached a happily-ever-after conclusion this week. Our Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, the tiger’s home since his rescue, has been given full legal custody . . . 

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South Dakota’s grisly predator bounty program has already claimed 15,000 animal lives this spring, and counting

By on May 16, 2019 with 9 Comments
South Dakota’s grisly predator bounty program has already claimed 15,000 animal lives this spring, and counting

In the last month, South Dakota residents have trapped and killed more than 15,000 raccoons, skunks, opossums, foxes and badgers, cut off their tails, and submitted them to the state’s wildlife management agency for a $10-per-tail reward, all as part of South Dakota’s new Nest . . . 

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An American trophy hunter wants to bring home an endangered cheetah he killed in Namibia

By on May 15, 2019 with 19 Comments
An American trophy hunter wants to bring home an endangered cheetah he killed in Namibia

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson The cheetah, an animal capable of top speeds of 75 miles per hour, is racing toward extinction, with just 7,100 animals left in the wild. Recently, in another expression of the callous disregard trophy hunters show for the world’s . . . 

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Annual Horrible Hundred report identifies problem puppy mills in U.S.; Reveals USDA is failing to crack down on violators

By on May 14, 2019 with 19 Comments
Annual Horrible Hundred report identifies problem puppy mills in U.S.; Reveals USDA is failing to crack down on violators

Our seventh annual Horrible Hundred report, which we are releasing today, reveals shocking instances of neglect and mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills, including severely underweight dogs and large numbers of puppies dying mysteriously. What it also reveals is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture . . . 

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Doris Day was a force for animal protection

By on May 13, 2019 with 4 Comments
Doris Day was a force for animal protection

With the passing of legendary actress, singer and animal advocate Doris Day, the world has lost a generous and kind soul. Even as we mourn the loss of a woman whose grace, talent and versatility left so many of us charmed, I want to celebrate . . . 

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New York’s pioneering bill to end giraffe trafficking now heads to governor’s desk

By on May 9, 2019 with 3 Comments
New York’s pioneering bill to end giraffe trafficking now heads to governor’s desk

New York State is standing tall for giraffes. The state’s lawmakers recently passed a bill that would designate giraffes as a vulnerable species and ban trafficking in their body parts, thus leading the way toward saving this beleaguered species that is fast heading toward extinction. . . . 

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New York City pet store faces lawsuit following HSUS undercover investigation that exposed sick, mistreated puppies

By on May 8, 2019 with 1 Comment
New York City pet store faces lawsuit following HSUS undercover investigation that exposed sick, mistreated puppies

A New York pet store that sold numerous sick puppy mill dogs to unsuspecting consumers now faces a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court for allegedly failing to give proper medical care to sick puppies and deceiving buyers about their health. The store’s former owner may . . . 

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