Wildlife conservationists say the United Kingdom’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill will negatively affect trophy hunting in Africa as well as environmental and animal conservation.

The Bill will be debated in the House of Lords on 16 June after Conservative legislator Henry Smith introduced it and received support from the government in March.

If passed into law, it will effectively put a historic ban on trophy hunting imports into the UK.

The Bill seeks to protect animals listed by the internationally agreed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

But scientists, African conservationists, and community leaders have published a report ahead of the debate, detailing the negative impacts of the Bill.

They say it will “undermine critical revenue for conservation and African communities in its current form”.

The report, titled:  “The risks to conservation, rights, and livelihoods,” states that African communities accuse the UK government of hypocrisy and neo-colonialism, given that the UK exports thousands of hunting trophies itself every year from deer stalking but has no plans to abolish the practice domestically. Deer stalking is the licensed tracking of deer on foot to hunt for meat, leisure, or trophies.

It costs about R2 390 (£100) per stalk and R8 300 (£350) for mature non-medal bucks, including the carcass.

They also argue that the UK is “one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world,” partly because of its red deer exports from Scotland.

The report calls for an amendment to exempt imports with a proven benefit to conservation and communities in Africa.

It argues that trophy hunting has proven conservation advantages for a variety of hunted species, including threatened species, by lowering far greater dangers, such as habitat loss and poaching.

Source : News24.

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