Tag Archives: HSUS

U.S. hunters import 126,000 wildlife ‘trophies’ annually

U.S. hunters import about 126,000 “wildlife trophies” annually and killed about 1.26 million animals between 2005 and 2014, according to the Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States.

Trophy hunting is the killing of animals for body parts, such as the head and hide, for display or decor rather than for food and sustenance. A recent study examining the motivation for such hunts found that U.S. hunters glamorize the killing of an animal to demonstrate virility, prowess and dominance.

A report from Humane Society International/Humane Society of the United States titled Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: the United States’ Role in Global Trophy Hunting, uses an analysis of hunting trophy import data obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some findings:

• Trophies are primarily imported from Canada and South Africa, followed by Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia and Botswana.

• Trophy hunters most want to kill American black bears, impalas, common wildebeests, greater kudus, gemsboks, springboks and bonteboks.

• Trophy hunters highly covet the so-called “African big five” — lions, elephants, leopards, white rhinos and buffalo. All of these species, except the African buffalo, are classified as near threatened or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

• The U.S. ports of entry that received the most wildlife trophies in the past decade were New York City; Pembina, North Dakota; Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; and Portal, North Dakota.

“This report clearly shows the dire impact American trophy hunters are having on wildlife in other countries,” said Teresa M. Telecky, director of the wildlife department at HSI.

She continued, “It’s outrageous that every year hunters take the lives of thousands of animals, many threatened with extinction, just to win a prize and show off. These animals need protection, not to be mounted on a wall. The fact that rare, majestic species are entering the U.S. in large and small ports of entry should alarm lawmakers and the public concerned about trophy hunting.”

Hunting groups promote the hunts, offering accolades and awards to club members. The largest of these groups, Safari Club International, recently concluded its convention in Las Vegas, where more than 300 mammal hunts for more than 600 animals were auctioned off, and other hunts were arranged privately on the exhibit floor. An African lion trophy hunt can cost $13,500–$49,000. An African elephant hunt can cost $11,000–$70,000.

SCI often uses the revenue from hunt sales to lobby against wildlife protection measures.

U.S. “trophy hunters” highly covet the African big five. The import numbers for 2005–14 are 17,200 African buffalo, 5,600 African lions, 4,600 African elephants, 4,500 African leopards and 330 southern white rhinos. Photo: GraphicStock
U.S. “trophy hunters” highly covet the African big five. The import numbers for 2005–14 are 17,200 African buffalo, 5,600 African lions, 4,600 African elephants, 4,500 African leopards and 330 southern white rhinos. Photo: GraphicStock

For certain species, including lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos, the U.S. is the largest trophy-importing country.

HSI and The HSUS, in a statement on the report, pledged to continue to seek new protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act for species that meet the criteria for listing.

The African lion is the latest species to receive ESA protection, after a multi-year effort by animal protection organizations, including HSI and The HSUS.

The groups are seeking increased ESA protections for species currently listed in a lower category of protection, as was recently done for the African elephant. HSI and The HSUS are also urging corporations — such as Swarovski Optik  — to end sponsorship of trophy-hunting advocacy organizations.

At long last, cruel medical research on chimps will end

As of yesterday, Sept. 14, all chimps are listed as endangered under U.S. law — both wild and captive chimps. This day marks the official end of unrestricted invasive experiments on chimpanzees in this country — a milestone in our long-running Chimps Deserve Better campaign.

Our campaign has been multifaceted, pushing for the enactment of legislation in Congress, urging the National Institutes of Health to empanel an expert group to examine the usefulness of chimp research to the human condition, and pressuring pharmaceutical companies to significantly restrict chimpanzee research. The Human Society of the United States also led the effort to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list all chimps as endangered, including the ones living in laboratories.

There exists the possibility that a laboratory might seek to secure a permit from FWS in the future to conduct invasive research, but it is highly unlikely that labs would meet the legal requirements for such permits. Such experiments would have to demonstrate that they are benefitting chimpanzees in the wild, and we don’t see the labs motivated to reorient their work, given that they’ve been focused on human health and not chimpanzee conservation.

As a community and a nation we can now turn to the retirement of these animals who have endured so much over decades. Some of the chimpanzees were captured from the wild and are now in their late ’50s. During our Chimps Deserve Better campaign, we’ve already inspired a major transfer of chimpanzees to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. All 110 government-owned chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana were moved to sanctuary, which essentially doubled Chimp Haven’s population.

But it’s no time to shutter our Chimps Deserve Better campaign. More work remains.

Today there are approximately 745 chimpanzees living in five laboratories (Alamogordo Primate Facility, MD Anderson Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine, New Iberia Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center). Of those 745, approximately 330 are owned by the federal government and the remaining 415 are owned by the laboratories themselves.

Chimp Haven is hoping to expand but will be relying on donors to help with this effort, including the fundraising necessary to guarantee lifetime care of the animals. At The HSUS, our eyes in the very short run are set on the 20 government-owned chimpanzees at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a facility where we conducted an undercover investigation and that has been the site of unexpected animal deaths and various violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Every one of those 20 chimpanzees has been infected with disease and is unsuitable for any research the labs may be interested in trying to conduct.

Meanwhile, The HSUS continues to highlight the plight of more than 60 chimpanzees living in Liberia who were abandoned by the New York Blood Center. We have led a coalition of organizations and stepped in to fund continuing care for these animals, but this is a responsibility of the Blood Center, a wealthy non-profit organization, which used them in experiments for decades and then pledged to provide lifetime care after retiring them. Now it has reneged on that promise.

We hope to continue to share more news in the coming months as we roll up our sleeves and focus on achieving additional positive outcomes for chimps. If you’d like to contribute to this ongoing effort, consider donating to our Chimps Deserve Better Fund.

I look forward to the day when we can formally lay our Chimps Deserve Better campaign to rest. We’re not there yet, and we have more work ahead. But I’m confident we’ll get there if we stay focused on our goals of giving a good life to every one of these creatures.

The post Chimps Deserve Better — and Things Are Getting Better for Them appeared first on A Humane Nation.

Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.