Leading conservationists, stars and politicians have called for plans allowing trophy hunters to legally kill the world’s most important elephant population to be thrown out.
A protest in London against proposals by Botswana’s government to permit the resumption of elephant hunting marked the launch of a new campaign to make the bloodsport illegal.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bill Oddie, Peter Egan and Sir Ed Davey MP were among those who handed in a letter addressed to Botswana’s President that has also been signed by Nicky Campbell, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, Virginia McKenna, Chris Packham, Sara Pascoe and Carol Royle.
They also delivered petitions with over 350,000 signatures calling on President Masisi to keep the elephant trophy hunting ban in place.
The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting says nearly 2500 trophies have been brought back into Britain by hunters over the past decade, of which almost 700 were elephant body parts. As well as tusks, UK hunters have taken elephant feet, skins, bones, ears, and tails.
Other popular animal trophies for UK hunters were hippos, bears, baboons, leopards, zebras and lions, and included whole bodies, skins, tails, tusks, feet, skulls, teeth, and bones, as well as mounted trophies.
Campaigners say that plans to hunt elephants in Botswana could push the species further towards extinction. The country has the world’s largest population of African elephants – twice as many as any other nation – thanks largely to a hunting ban. However new President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who came into power in April 2018, wants to lift the ban.