British hunters ‘paying to kill endangered giraffes in Africa’, campaigners say

Countries across world meet to discuss proposals to protect threatened giants

Eleanor Busby
Saturday 17 August 2019 18:55 BST
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Giraffe numbers have fallen precipitously in recent decades
Giraffe numbers have fallen precipitously in recent decades

A growing number of British trophy hunters are paying to kill giraffes in Africa despite fears of extinction, campaigners say.

British-run companies are also selling package trips where hunters can shoot threatened animals.

It comes as 180 countries meet to consider proposals to protect giraffes and other threatened animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

There are currently no international trade rules that protect giraffes, meaning that trophies and body parts can be exported and imported without any checks or records.

But if a proposal from six African countries is approved, countries that export body parts from giraffes would have to keep records of the exports and trophy hunting would be regulated.

In what has been described as a “silent extinction”, giraffe numbers have fallen by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years due to threats including trade in their parts, as well as habitat loss, illegal hunting and civil war, conservationists said.

Despite these concerns, hunters can pay less than £2,000 to kill a giraffe.

Eduardo Goncalves, of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, told The Independent: “There is a greater number of British trophy hunters then there were a decade ago.

“There are also now British safari companies that organise hunting expeditions where you pay to shoot these things.”

He added: “The other thing is there is more and different species that trophy hunters are now going after.

“Traditionally people thought it was things like leopards, elephants, lions or zebra. Now you are looking at some really bizarre creatures that are on the menu – like giraffes and monkeys.

“There are actually quite a number of British trophy hunters out there.”

Hunters say that income generated by people paying to shoot animals helps protect the remainder, and that culling is an important part of conservation.

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Matt Collis, director of international policy at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), said: “It is important that giraffes are listed by Cites because currently we can’t say for certain how much of their huge population decline is due to trade.

“We do know it is a significant factor though as the only country that currently collects data on trade in giraffes, the US, has reported almost 40,000 giraffe items traded in a decade, from 2006 to 2015.”

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