Germany, Stop the Import of Hunting Trophies of Protected Animals

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The hunting tourism contributes significantly to the extermination of rare animal species in Africa. We can do something about it. Signing this petition, so that Germany henceforth refuses the import of trophies of endangered species.

The background

Hunting scandals like the cruel arrow hunting by an American dentist for the lion Cecil or the killing of Ncombo, Africa's largest elephant bull, by a Berlin real estate agent are not isolated cases. Year after year, about 600 lions, 800 leopards and 900 elephants are falling prey to hobby hunters. Here, the most beautiful and strongest animals are especially popular as a trophy, making the hunt for the already endangered species from poaching even more murderous. Precisely these animals are most important for conservation.

Whoever shoots an elephant with long tusks, robs the knowledge of an entire herd they need to survive, because only the old, experienced elephants know the migration routes and water points in drought times and know about the effect of healing plants. Whoever kills an imposing lion male, brings stress and rivalries into the pack, is responsible for the death of offspring and ensures genetic impoverishment.

The rarer an animal the more coveted and expensive hunting is. For killing an elephant hobby hunters pay 17,000-65,000 EUR. Even the few bulls of the 200 surviving desert elephants in Namibia are legally killed for appropriate charges. For 280,000 EUR, the last representatives of the black rhino may be shot.

Hunting providers claim the alleged sustainability of trophy hunting, the cash receipts for awarding shooting licenses would benefit the protection of species and the local people. Numerous scientific studies in recent years refute exactly that. The local communities in these countries get practically nothing from what the hunters pay in the hunting countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. On average, each inhabitant can hope to receive just 30 cents per year. Wildlife conservation benefits even less in those corruption-plagued hunting countries. In most hunting areas it is not only the wild animal population that declines rapidly, but also the local community becomes increasingly impoverished. Because there is a lack of alternative employment opportunities people will be forced to poaching to secure their existence. The biggest part of the profit on the sale of killing licenses ends up in the pockets of foreign providers of hunting safaris.

Countries such as Namibia and Tanzania lure hunting tourists in hope of foreign exchange. But alone in Tanzania the strategy of sustainable hunting failed completely. In the biggest hunting ground in Africa, the Selous Game Reserve and surrounding areas, poachers slaughtered 57,000 elephants in the past five years. For amateur hunters there is now nothing to shoot anymore. However, in 1977 Kenya prohibited hunting and Botswana in 2014, for good reasons. Economic studies have shown that photo tourism creates far more permanent jobs than hunting tourism and is much more lucrative. For example, an elephant contributes to the GDP into EUR converted 1.5 million, based on its entire live span of 70 years.

The EU has banned the import of trophies of slain elephants from Cameroon, Mozambique and Tanzania. Hunters may not bring lion trophies from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ethiopia. As a result hunting loses its charm. But from other countries where wildlife populations have plummeted dramatically in some cases, the import of game trophies or endangered species is still possible.

Germany, up to now, does not prevent the import, despite the fact that German hunters have a high proportion of hunting strictly protected African animal species. In the past decade, trophies of 417 leopards, 323 elephants, 195 lions, 24 white rhinos and 2 black rhinos have been imported to Germany. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, belonging to the Ministry of the Environment and Conservation, has approved 99.7% of all import applications for trophies of particularly sensitive animal species (as listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species CITES).

The EU Wildlife Trade Regulation 338/97 requires the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation to examine each import application relating to minimum requirements for the import of specimens of endangered species. In accordance with it, the import authorization shall not interfere with the area of the population or other aspects of species conservation and should serve to protect the species concerned.

The big game hunting is a relic of the colonial era, it is ethically unacceptable, impoverishes the local population and it stimulates poaching, it neither serves conservation nor is in the interest of the individual animal. It is high time that Germany fulfill its legal obligation.

References



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