UK outlines import ban on hunting trophies

London (AFP) – The British government on Friday detailed plans to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals, two years after it was first proposed.


Environment Secretary George Eustice said the ban will include the most frequently killed "Big Five" animals -- lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo.

In all, nearly 7,000 animals currently threatened by international trade will be protected, included more than 1,000 considered under threat, such as zebra and reindeer.

The proposed ban was an election commitment in 2019 and has the backing of the public and conservation groups, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Eustice said more species than ever were threatened with extinction and the government was "appalled at the thought of hunters bringing back trophies".

He called it "one of the toughest bans in the world", which would protect endangered animals and help to strengthen and support long-term conservation.

Animal protection charities welcomed the proposals as long overdue.

But the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting said some 300 trophies from endangered animals had been shipped to Britain since the proposal was first made.

The group's founder, Eduardo Goncalves, said the delay had led to many animals being "cruelly and needlessly killed in that time".

"It is really imperative for the government to bring the Bill to Parliament as quickly as possible," he added.

The ban would apply regardless of whether a trophy has been obtained from a wild animal or one bred in captivity for the purpose of trophy hunting.

Hunters risk up to five years in prison if they break the rules.

Britain first mooted a possible ban on hunting trophies after global outrage at the killing by an American dentist of a lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe in 2015.

No charges were brought and the hunt was found to be legal.