Public disapproval of trophy hunting and the havoc trophy hunters wreak on the world’s endangered and threatened wildlife is on the rise, both here in the United States and around the globe. We recently saw a striking example of this in play when a Norwegian company with offices in the United States fired a high-level executive, after a website revealed he had trophy hunted a lion and posted a photo that showed him posing with a gun next to the dead animal.
The California-based Lost Coast Outpost reported that under an hour after they reached out to Nordic Aquafarms about the trophy hunt, which was revealed by a blog in 2015, executive vice president Marianne Naess emailed back announcing that the company was terminating their relationship with the trophy hunter, hired just a few days earlier.
“We take any concerns regarding our values or stewardship of natural resources very seriously and therefore we had no choice but to terminate our relationship,” Naess told the Outpost in an email.
Trophy hunters, although a small and declining group, have treated the world as their bloody playground for so long simply because they are typically wealthy and well-connected, with the ability and influence to affect political decisions on wildlife conservation, including here in the United States. Fortunately, the times are changing. In recent years we’ve seen other companies—such as Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, GoDaddy and Flagstar Bank—disassociate from executives whose “hobby” is to kill some of the world’s most prized wildlife.
Nations too are moving to crack down on trophy hunting. The Netherlands, Australia and France have in recent years prohibited the import of hunting trophies, and just last month, the United Kingdom government proposed a ban on all trophy imports. The House of Commons introduced a motion in support of the proposed ban, noting strong support across party lines as well as a whopping 86 percent support from the British public for an end to trophy hunting. If adopted, it would be the most progressive and comprehensive measure in the world to restrict the international trade in hunting trophies.
A growing number of scientists, economists and conservationists have raised their voices to both refute the outdated notion that trophy hunting is an acceptable and useful conservation tool and to call trophy hunting what it is: an immoral and unethical practice that is responsible for the population decline of many wild animals.
Taking a stand against trophy hunting is vital, because our planet is now in the midst of an unprecedented level of human-induced exploitation. Over one million species of wild animals and plants are inching toward extinction and the main driver is direct exploitation. We cannot, as a society, sanction and approve of a practice that is rooted in the desire to kill rare and vulnerable species for fun. There is cause to celebrate the progress made against trophy hunting, even as we keep up the momentum for the day when this practice is banned the world over.