Americans kill 80 percent of trophy-hunted primates – more than 800 each year

By on November 2, 2018 with 7 Comments

Last month, Americans reacted with horror and outrage when an Idaho game commission official, Blake Fischer, circulated a photo that showed him smiling next to a family of baboons, including youngsters, he had killed on a hunting trip in Namibia. To most of us, it was unfathomable that anyone could mercilessly hunt down a family of animals simply to impress his wife, as Fischer boasted in his email, which was sent to more than 100 recipients. But shocking as Fischer’s trophy hunt of those primates was, it is by no means an isolated event when it comes to American trophy hunters, according to a new analysis from Humane Society International.

Between 2007 and 2016, the United States imported a lion’s share — 80 percent or 8,896 — of the 11,205 primate hunting trophies that were traded internationally. Other countries that imported primate trophies over the nine-year period were Spain with 490 trophies, South Africa with 401, Germany with 322 and Denmark with 310, according to our analysis of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species data that was covered today by the National Geographic.

On an average, Americans imported more than 800 primate trophies each year, including Chacma baboons – the species Fischer hunted — vervet monkeys, yellow baboons and African green monkeys.

Primates are easy targets for trophy hunters because unlike highly-sought-after species like elephants and rhinos, the cost of trophy hunting primates is often nominal or even non-existent. Chacma baboons are the most hunted of the primate species. They are one of the largest monkey species, with males reaching up to five feet from head to tail. The animals have striking golden eyes and long noses, not unlike dogs.

Primates are a highly social species who often live in complex groups and individuals support their social groups and often bark to alert others if they perceive a threat. But when they are up against a trophy hunter with a weapon, they do not stand a chance.

After the story of Fischer’s killing spree went public, we wrote to the Namibian government to ask that it ban primate trophy hunting, even as we demanded Fischer’s resignation or dismissal. And with this new information in hand, we are exploring legal action to prohibit the import of primate trophies to the United States. Fischer’s heartless action gives us an opportunity to shine a red-hot spotlight on the problem of international primate trophy hunting – a problem, as our analysis shows, that American trophy hunters are exacerbating. The anger that followed Fischer’s hunt – leading to Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho asking for his resignation – is proof that most Americans do not support such killing. Primates are our closet cousins in the animal kingdom, and these intelligent, beautiful and sometimes mischievous animals deserve to be celebrated and protected, not hunted to death.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Fran Leard says:

    This just makes me sick so why do we keep signing petitions and sending money to stop these sick low life cowards who have nothing better to do with their time then destroy innocent animals. Where are the laws to protect our wildlife?

    • Margot B. says:

      I agree. Trophy hunters are encouraged to kill all over the world so they can look like the top asshole in their elitist trophy hunting organizations. Take a look at Boone and Crockett’s website. These disgusting trophy hunters get points for each and every kill! This is insane and inhumane.
      Evil does not even begin to describe these sick men and women!

      • Lynne Sutcliffe says:

        Can you look this animal in the eye. And then put a bullet through its heart.You are not the man or woman I thought you were

      • Pamela K says:

        Trophy hunting is an obscenity perpetuated by egomaniacal rich White Americans and Brits! One does not have to murder innocent wildlife verging on extinction to help African economies! That debate is pure idiocy! Instead of thousands of dollars spent on hunting licenses, put that money in foundation funds to help the less fortunate rise above their stations in life! THESE PRECIOUS CREATURES DESERVE LIFE AND A PLACE ON MOTHER EARTH TO GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY IN PEACE!

    • Lisa K Rigdon says:

      I think its a shame tbat there are so many abused animals that why can’t it be stopped. And killing animals such as these monkeys, lions, tigers
      Thats a prestige thing a see what i did thing. It sucks.

  2. Patricia Lamonica says:

    Stop and think about this what kind of person gets off on killing a life!!!!!!!!

  3. Cheryle says:

    Trophy hunters are cowards. Anyone who kills a family of baboons (including the babies) is a totally disgusting individual. This slaughtering of any animal for trophy purposes MUST STOP!! Please, HSUS, get more involved in stopping these horrible people from killing innocent animals for “fun”. Thank you.

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