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

By on May 15, 2019 with 22 Comments

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 most endangered and at-risk animals, an American who killed a cheetah in Namibia has applied to import trophy parts from his kill into the United States.

If approved, it would be the first time on record that the U.S. government would have authorized the import of a cheetah trophy under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). This could set a terrible precedent and very possibly encourage more trophy hunters to go after cheetahs, exacerbating their tragic fate.

We recently learned that another American has also applied to import the trophy of a black rhino, also killed in Namibia. There are now just 5,500 black rhinos remaining in the wild.

It defies understanding that our government would even allow trophy hunters to apply for permits to import animals fast disappearing from earth and protected under the ESA. Both black rhinos and cheetahs are listed as endangered under ESA and can only be imported if the FWS finds that hunting the animal would enhance the survival of the species. A trophy hunter killing an animal for thrills and bragging rights clearly does not meet that standard.

Sadly, in recent years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, instead of doing its job of protecting animals listed under the ESA, has enabled an escalation of attacks against them. Beginning in 2017, the FWS reversed more enlightened policies, making it easier for American trophy hunters to import trophies of endangered and threatened animals. The agency also established the International Wildlife Conservation Council, a body stocked with trophy hunters and firearms dealers, tasked to advise on federal wildlife policy decisions – a decision we’ve challenged in court. And last year, the FWS proposed changes to weaken the ESA, which is the bedrock law that protects endangered and threatened animal species and their habitats. Those harmful changes could be finalized any day now.

Late last year, despite our objections, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service granted an import permit to an American hunter who paid $400,000 to kill a 35-year-old male black rhino in Namibia in 2017.

Scientists warn that at the rate black rhinos and cheetahs are disappearing, they could be lost forever. Like rhinos, cheetahs face a number of threats, including massive habitat loss and degradation. These distinctive, spotted animals, known as the fastest land mammals, have already lost 91% of their historic range and 77% of their remaining habitat is not in protected areas, leaving them open to attack. Cheetahs also become victims of retaliation killings by humans due to conflict with livestock and game farmers, and trafficking of live cheetahs for the illegal pet trade. The last thing they need is to be shot for fun by a trophy hunter.

For trophy hunters, the rarer the animal, the more valuable the trophy is, and the greater the prestige and thrill of killing it. But most Americans know better and oppose trophy hunting, as we’ve seen from the backlash against trophy hunters that usually follows when they post their conquests on social media. With so few cheetahs and black rhinos left in the world, every animal counts. Please join us and urge the FWS to do the right thing by rejecting these two applications.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Oppose the import of cheetah and black rhino hunting trophies

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

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  1. Jean Blodgett says:

    It’s scary to think some people think killing is fun. This is a sick, sick fantasy which makes me believe trophy hunters are serial killers. At least deer hunters eat their kill! Trophy hunters are as close to serial killers you can get without being one! It’s sick!

    • Angel Weber says:

      I agree with your sentiments entirely. Trophy hunters get sick joy from ending the life of animal so they can stuff it or hang it on their wall. You can’t rationalize with these people. They are sociopaths and stop at nothing to feed their selfish happiness.

      They need to be locked up.

  2. Margaret Chappell tterb says:

    Absolutely unacceptable to allow these killers to be allowed to murder these beautiful, healthy animals and then bring parts back to the USA to show off and brag about it. They should take their blood money and donate it to protecting these animals.

  3. Phoebe says:

    Let’s guess, is that trophy hunter a member of an elite hunting organization? And how many of these sickos sit on the IWCC? Conservation does not equal killing. That committee is a farce and shame on the USFW!

    Bragging rights of these types of uber-wealthy trophy hunters come in the form of not just pictures but of disturbing menageries of dead animals in their homes. The elitist member only hunting organizations socialize with each other at semi-annual dinners in homes of their regional leaders and it is here, these hard-to-get imported dead carcasses are shown off. All the sycophant dinner guests know the absurd amount of money it takes to get that animal back to the US to be placed in that dumb-ass menagerie . And that it part of what makes these sickos tick -it’s not just the killing, but the boost to their narcissistic egos they have the finances from start to finish to bring that endangered species back into their home. Oh, the subtlety of it all, right? These are the folks who sit on the IWCC and it’s “extended arm.” They lobby and socialize with gov’t officials to ultimately boost their insecure egos.

    These applications must be rejected!!

    It’s insane humanity is lost on so many. Keep up the amazing work, Kitty and team!

  4. Akbar Hussain says:

    All trophy hunters who get their thrills from there bloodthirsty hobby,have earned there rights to look at there inhumanism for the rest of there lives …

  5. Irene sung says:


  6. J. M. says:

    There are only 7100 of these gorgeous cheetahs left in the world and people in other countries along with volunteers are doing all they can to combat poaching and illegal trafficking or make them pets. They are the most beautiful animals and the U.S. should not allow them to be treated as a trophy in our country. I am urging you not to let this happen. Our obsession with guns and killing innocent animals for sport is unconscionable, especially when they are on the brink of extinction. Please don’t let this happen.

  7. Cheryl Jennings says:

    I say no to Trophy hunting of our Wildlife. Do everything to save them. I am staying up BOLDLY for these animals. I will go out into their space to save them. They are my creator ‘s animals and we share the planet with them. Please put a ban on any kind of hunting.

  8. Michael Nush says:

    Some people are just heartless and full of greed, nothing more! Ridiculous killing something for sport. They get excited to kill, then join the military and defend our country! My bad these people are too scared, rather kill a defenseless animal!

  9. Kellyanna says:

    Trophy hunters are useless scum.

  10. Patricia Lankester says:

    Please do the right thing and do not allow these blood-thirsty hunters to kill off the remaining cheetahs to satisfy their own vanity. What legacy are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Teaching them to take what they want from the world without consideration of the consequences.
    Please, please do not assist these people to take our animals to a state of extinction.

  11. Ann Beatty says:

    How about posting some useful links to organisations that are on the ground in Africa actively working to protect these animals and provide much needed habitat? It’s so frustrating reading about all the terrible things that are happening to our world and I think a lot of us want to try to do something. Eg This group seems to be worthwhile And no I am not associated with them – perhaps your web site could link up to NGOs and groups that are actively supporting projects that are saving habitat, fighting poaching, encouraging community support for conservation etc? Also what about a concerted effort to use funds you receive from donors to perhaps bid against hunters when those auctions of trophy shoots take place? Would this be feasible? I think it would be great publicity and would also silence your detractors who accuse you of misusing donations. Eg a couple of years ago a rhino shoot was auctioned by the Dallas safari club. Anyone could have bid on this- I think it would have been wonderful to be able to save the poor rhino with a bigger bid from an organisation such as yours. Also maybe you could set up special fund raising projects – eg saving a nominated area for habitat restoration. Perhaps this is already happening? I would love to see more posts about positive campaigns

  12. Rocsand Bateman says:

    This is disgusting. He has destroyed a creature that will now no longer be able to contribute to future generations. He or others like him should never be allowed to bring any part of this trophy back with them. I would include photos or film in this. And should be prosecuted once they get home.

  13. Emma guard says:

    Stop this barbarism

  14. Donald F Smith says:

    Where are the names? His name is part of the public record. That was one of the decisions Nick Jans made in his “Romeo…” book which I applauded, not just the name of the man who illegally shot the wolf, but also his photo. Outside of his small circle of like-minded trophy people, his name would be scorned as it should be, perhaps even act as a deterrent. Is there a legal, defensible reason not to publish?

  15. Sheryl Schroeder says:

    What a heinous vile disgusting disregard for wildlife, for everything sacred, for even God himself! When these brainless killers do this it makes me want to vomit. This one is even worse, because I was under the impression that cheetahs were protected from being imported as “trophies” because of their endangered species status. It is clear from the get-go that the trump administration is hellbent on dismantling the Endangered Species Act and ruining all of our hard work. We must fight to protect these animals at ALL costs or our children and grandchildren will live in a world where these animals only exist in books or maybe zoos. Pure EVIL.

  16. Paula says:

    Leave him alone he is a beautiful animal he deserves to be loved not die he is so beautiful

  17. colleen freymuth says:

    We must learn to have compassion for living creatures….who are we to wantonly kill? If one of those gorgeous creatures kills us, we would kill it. Fair play I say so let us hang the killers out to dry…….post their names and faces all over the internet if we can not put them in jail…jail is where they belong, with one hell of a hefty fine!

  18. Lynn Quamme says:

    We must stop these egomaniacs from killing these beautiful animals, don’t allow them to bring these so called trophies home

  19. Antonieta M says:

    He’s a Murderer and should be punished for killing an Endangered Species! He has no rights as far as I’m concerned since he murdered a Beautiful Innocent Animal Who was helpless against this trophy hunter when had a rifle or whatever sort of gun he used! Humans have no right to take another Species life!

  20. George Ouseb says:

    I wonder what the price is to make an entire species go extinct in Namibia.

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