The Mail on Sunday revealed that ministers will this week announce a ban on the import of trophy kills as figures show over 300 carcasses of endangered species have been shipped to the UK since 2019.
The announcement comes over two years since the Tories pledged to ban imports, which Boris Johnson has called a “disgusting trade”. His father Stanley Johnson has campaigned extensively in favour of the ban.
A source from Whitehall told the Mail on Sunday that this week the next steps will be outlined regarding the ban and they will be “comprehensive, robust and effective, delivering the promised change to help protect thousands of species.”
Claire Bass, executive director of campaign group Humane Society International (UK), told The Independent that while the ban is “extremely welcome”, the devil will be in the detail of the legislation.
“The government has been promising this ban since 2019 and has been dragging its heels a bit but they’ve taken their time to hopefully get the deal right and hopefully it isn’t a ban full of loopholes that will allow the hunters to carry on with business as usual,” Ms Bass said.
She added: “We want to make sure it is what government promised - which is the strongest trophy hunting ban in the world. To do that it’s got to be as comprehensive as possible in terms of the list of species.”
Dame Judi Dench, a supporter of the campaign to ban trophy hunting, said: “Having raised expectations, the government now has to deliver. It is a policy that has a lot of support.”
To apply pressure on MPs to enforce the ban, Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting will send out a book shaming 75 British hunters, some of whom boast of killing hundreds of animals, the newspaper reported.
Their names and photos were found on the website of Umlilo Safaris, a South African company that offers hunters more than 50 species to kill.
Among its offering, the website Umlilo charges £9,175 for a “combo package” to kill a lion and lioness and £18,750 for an elephant.
Eduardo Goncalves, founder of Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting told The Independent that while the development is welcome, he is also waiting to see the scope of the ban including details of species it covers.
“We want to know what the government intends in terms of enforcement and punitive measures. It’s our view that lawbreakers receive a jail sentence,” Mr Gonclaves said. He called on the government to bring the bill forward as soon as possible or to adopt MP John Spellar’s private member’s bill to ban trophy import bills.
“Every week that goes by without a ban means more animals, many of them endangered, are being shot by British trophy hunters and their head, bodies and skins are being brought back to decorate their living rooms - which is something the public finds repulsive,” Mr Gonclaves added.
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