Sir Ranulph Fiennes has encouraged the international conservation nonprofit World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to end its support of trophy hunting. The group listened.
The British explorer led a group of donors to demand a refund, following the release of the exposé “Killing Game: The Extinction Industry.”
The book was released in July on the fifth anniversary of the killing of Cecil the Lion. American dentist Walter Palmer shot and killed Cecil outside of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
The book reveals how trophy hunting is putting a number of threatened species at risk of extinction. In it, the author, Eduardo Goncalves—founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting—exposes WWF’s connection to trophy hunting.
“I think a lot of people were shocked and dismayed when they read my book […] and [learned] that WWF has been supporting trophy hunting and indeed funding projects where hunters can shoot leopards, elephants and many of the animals which also appear in its fundraising appeals,” he told LIVEKINDLY.
‘Killing Game: The Extinction Industry’
According to The Times, the British section of WWF no longer backs trophy hunting.
It appears WWF hasn’t updated its website yet. It indicates that WWF “opposes any hunting that threatens species or habitat sustainability.” But it says that “WWF does not support trophy hunting unless it demonstrates both conservation and community benefits.”
Some hunters believe their activities support conservation efforts and help keep wildlife populations stable.
But Goncalves says trophy hunting actually puts many species on a fast-track to extinction. He also believes trophy hunting is “simply morally wrong.”
“All forms of animal cruelty, persecution, and murder are unjustifiable. But this is perhaps the most senseless and vile form of animal exploitation of all. It is people killing animals literally just to amuse themselves,” he said.
And Brits agree. Nearly nine in ten voters in Britain want a ban on trophy hunting, Goncalves explained. And the vast majority want a UK trophy ban to apply to all species, not just endangered animals.
“WWF’s support for polar bear and black rhino trophy hunting left people particularly angry. Not least because these are animals that are threatened with extinction,” he said.
But Goncalves says he’s happy WWF has changed its stance on trophy hunting. “This is a welcome turnaround.”