Debunking the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting – FieldsportsChannel Podcast, episode 41

Eduardo Gonçalves brought out three books in 2020 supporting his own Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and we have found someone who has read them. Charlie Jacoby talks to Jens Ulrik Høgh from the Nordic Safari Club #debunkingcbth


Here are the problems with just one of the books: Killing Game – The Extinction Industry


Page 11, introduction by Jane Goodall

‘Killing Game: The Extinction Industry is a meticulously researched account of the effects of this type of hunting on the population of the target species’

Jens says: I have not found a single meticulously researched account of the effects of trophy hunting on the population of the target species in this book. Nothing.


Page 12 by Jane Goodall

‘Trophy hunting is leading to the extinction of a number of species.’

Jens says: Name a few please


Page 13 by Jane Goodall

‘There are estimated to be only about 3,500 adult male lions left in the wild across Africa. Less than half in protected areas. The annual lion hunting quota is equivalent to one third of the males that can be hunted.’

Jens says: According to the book, the average export of dead lions as hunting trophies from Africa is 665 pr. year (Page 69). Of these around 73% are South African of which the vast majority are captive bred. Specifically the book metions that in a single year 581/620 South African lions (94%) exported as trophies were CBL. That means that out of a total of 665 lions killed by hunters only about 209 are wild lions

(665 – 665*0.73*0.94 = 209)

209 wild lions are 11.6% of the mentioned wild males that can be hunted. 11.6% does not equal one third.


Page 13 by Jane Goodall

‘The lure for the trophy hunter of ’bagging’ a lion, and the pursuit of the most impressive animals, has left the species’ gene pool ’shrinking’ by 15% in less than 100 years.’

Jens says: Is it even possible that ‘trophy hunting’ has caused the mentioned effect on the gene pool, unless trophy hunters have eradicated entire lion populations – including cubs, females and younger males – over large areas of land? Where is the documentation for the connection between shrinking gene pool and ‘trophy hunting’?


Page 15 by Jane Goodall

‘Trophy hunters have always valued – as well antelopes – goats and sheep with spectacular horns or antlers. Some, like the Arabian and Scimitar horned oryx, were hunted to extinction in the wild.’

Jens says: All the information that I have been able to find about the extinction in the wild of these species points to local meat hunters shooting the last specimens. Is there any documentation that trophy hunting played a significant role? The last entry of wild scimitar horned oryx (according to this book) in the SCI records is in 1974. In 1976 the IUCN classified the species as vulnerable. In 1977 the population in a single area in Chad is still estimated to be 4,000-6,000 individuals. The civil war in Chad from 1978 apparently wiped these animals out. Blaming western trophy hunters is far-fetched.


Page 15 by Jane Goodall

‘It was only recently that I realized that giraffe populations are plummeting – and one reason is that there are those who want to hunt them for ’sport’ and show off their trophies to their friends’

Jens says: The two southern sub-populations – which are intensively hunted – are both growing in numbers and have been doing so for decades. The Angolan giraffe is already listed by IUCN as ‘Least Concern’ and the South African giraffe is expected to be listed in the same category as soon as the scientists have finished assessing it. The two southern sub-species mainly live in hunting areas and their numbers have almost tripled over the last three decades.


Page 16 by Jane Goodall

‘And now I discover that there are ranches which breed baboons and monkeys (as they also breed lions) in order to provide hunters with easy to get trophies for their collections.’

Jens says: This claim is absurd. See my comments to this under page 161 below.


Page 17 by Jane Goodall

‘But Eduardo presents the hard facts, meticulously researched and providing compelling evidence that, for the good of conservation if nothing else, the days of the great white Hunter should be brought to a close.’

Jens says: Most of the referenced sources of this book are not scientific. They are mainly reports, articles and statements made by other anti-hunters and anti-hunting animal welfare organisations. The limited use of scientific data in this book is typically cherrypicked and used out of context, misinterpreted or deliberately warped. There are hardly any ‘hard facts’, superficial research and no ‘compelling evidence’.


Page 18 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Trophy hunting is not a tradition. It is not part of the culture of traditional societies’

Jens says: Not true. Recreational hunting was popular in ancient Egypt and among the Greeks, the Romans and in almost every other ancient culture before and after those. The hunters would keep trophies as mementos from the hunt, they would show them off and brag shamelessly, and they would depict hunting scenes. In many cases ancient cultures worshipped specific deities of hunting, such as Artemis/Diana. Archaeologists regularly find hunting trophies dating back to the stone age. There is also plenty of documentation of hunting trophies in primitive cultures: necklaces of bear claws displayed by native North American hunters, head-dresses made from the mane of lions slain by Maasai hunters, Boar tusk jewelry worn by Indonesian hunters


Pages 18-19 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Trophy hunting is an industry that was invented in recent times. And it is putting some of the world’s most iconic species at high risk of extinction’

Jens says: No. ‘Trophy hunting’ is not a recent invention (see comment above) and this book presents no evidence to suggest that hunting tourism in its present form is increasing the risk of extinction of any species.


Page 20 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Elephants, today’s favourite trophy for British hunters’

Jens says: Favourite trophy? How so? Does he mean most animals killed, the species representing the greatest total turnover, the species that Britisk hunters would rather hunt, than anything else? None of these claims would be true.


Page 22 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Unknown to those present, the hunt was to be the very last for the quagga. Once common throughout southern Africa, the last of these zebra-like creatures were shot during the princes hunting trip.’

Jens says: Gonçalves refers to a hunt that took place in 1860 with the Prince of Wales participating. The last wild quagga was however killed 18 years later by local hunters in the Orange Free State. The quagga is hardly a zebra-like creature. It is a zebra – a subspecies of the plains zebra. The quagga was never ‘common throughout southern Africa’ Its range was limited to the southern part of what is now South Africa.


Page 22 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The quagga was not alone in being consigned to history by the early trophy hunters. A few years previously the Bloubok disappeared for good when the last of these blue antelopes was shot by a hunter in South Africa’s Swellendam district’

Jens says: The bloubok was hunted to extinction by early settlers who shot the animals for food. The species was already on the brink of extinction for natural reasons when the first Dutch colonists arrived to the Cape in 1652. I have found no indication in available literature that the bloubok was hunting by anything resembling ‘trophy hunters’.


Page 27 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘CITES-listed species are by definition classed as threatened with extinction’

Jens says: No. CITES does not assess the conservation status of species. That is the task of the IUCN. CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. Several non-threatened species are monitored by CITES, for example American black bear, brown bear and wolf.


Page 28 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Scrutiny of CITES trade records from the past decade also reveal some extraordinary animals listed as hunting trophies, including chimpanzees, whales, eagles, and otters. Turtles, sloth bears, and even parrots and flamingos all feature too.’

Jens says: I doubt that Gonçalves has double-checked these records. I believe that most of them are the results of clerical errors. It is by far the most likely explanation. On page 120, Gonçalves notes about the CITES trade database that ‘In 2017, there were discrepancies in almost two-thirds of entries where both import and export declaraions are given’ and yet, if the resulting claims are juicy enough, he is willing to jump to conclusions without fact-checking.


Page 28 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Trophy hunters are now allowed to shoot twice as many black rhinos every year following a controversial vote at CITES’ 2019 conference’

Jens says: No. The hunting quota for South Africa was doubled from five to ten bulls. The Namibian hunting quota remains at five animals, so the total maximum hunting quota for black rhino was increased by 50%. Not doubled. The increase is the direct result of successful rhino conservation (mainly on hunting areas)


Page 29 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Once one of the most numerous animals on the African continent, the Cape Buffalo…’

Jens says: Even if you rewrite this claim to ‘the most numerous large mammal on the African continent’, doubt that buffaloes were ever in the top-10 of African mammals weighing more than 100kg on the hoof.


Page 29 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Zebras are classed as Vulnerable by IUCN’

Jens says: No. There are several species that are hunted. These are classed ‘Least concern’, ‘Near threatened’ and ‘Vulnerable’. The most commonly hunted – the plains zebra – is classed as ‘Near threatened’.


Page 30 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The ’Extinct in the Wild’ Pere David’s Deer can be shot in the US and South Africa, as well as Britain. As in the case of the puffin, this rare deer fails to feature in any CITES’ appendices. The result is that there are effectively no restrictions when it comes to hunting them for trophies.’

Jens says: Pere David’s deer only exists today because it was saved from extinction by a number of hunting parks led by Woburn Abbey. The CITES treaty is about protecting wild species and since all Pere David’s deer are in captivity (at least until recently) they are not monitored by CITES. The population of Pere David’s deer has grown so big in hunting parks that these are now supplying live deer for reintroduction to the wild in China.


Page 32 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Britons have acquired trophies of… the rare Hawksbill seaturtle and cheetahs’

Jens says: Yeah, right. See my page 28 comment.


Page 33 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Huge areas of Africa are currently set aside as hunting estates for the priviledged white foreigner’

Jens says: I have not experienced a hunting area that would deny a paying client access based on race, nationality, gender or political standpoint. Does Gonçalves have documentation for this?


Page 36 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The trophy hunting industry has long claimed it has never been responsible for a species extinction. However this book shows that, not only did it cause the extinction of species in the hey-days of the British Empire, but that some of the most famous award-winners and leading figures from Safari Club International helped drive a species to extinction in the wild at the end of the 20th century – and that have pushed several others to the very brink’

Jens says: No documentation. Whatsoever.


Page 40 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Perhaps he (Cecil the lion, red.) understood that people had come from all around the world to get photos of him an his famously lustrous black mane.’

Jens says: I doubt that a big cat understood that much about the world around him. But it is a cute little story.


Page 44 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘This was strange because the carcasses of animals shot for trophies are often simply dumped as they are not needed by the taxidermist’

Jens says: Why would anyone throw away edible food in Africa? Of course, most meat from hunted animals in Africa are eaten – just as it is in the rest of the world.


Page 48 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘There are several cases of iconic animals from other species being killed by hunters around the world. As with Cecil, they were killed illegally. They include Legolas, a radio-collared cheetah in Botswana whose body was found by a road with a shotgun cartridge next to it.’

Jens says: Iconic animals? Is that simply ‘animals with names’? The carcase of this cheetah was left intact by the roadside. The illegal killing was a poaching incident. Nothing suggests ‘trophy hunting’.


Page 48 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In November 2015, just a month after the killing of Legolas, a popular 27 year old bear known by locals as ‘scarface’ was killed by hunters just outPage the perimeter of Yellowstone National Park’

Jens says: There was an official investigation. The bear was killed in self-defence. The hunter didn’t get a trophy, nor was he aiming to get one. The killing was found to be justified and therefore not illegal. Nothing suggests ‘trophy hunting’


Page 63 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Lion trophy hunting is becoming increasingly popular in part due to the growth of lion ‘factory farm’.’ 

Jens says: In the CITES trade database there is no clear information about the number of animals traded. However this is the total number of lion trophy records in later years:
2015: 206
2016: 215
2017: 168
2018: 156
2019: 74
I would say the falling numbers indicates decreasing popularity. Not the opposite.


Page 63 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The number of lion trophies which left the country in 2017 represented 73% of the global total. Second placed Tanzania accounted for 12% Of the total of 620 lion trophies exported by South Africa, 581 came from captive-reared animals.’

Jens says: The number of trophies listed is not necessarily the same as the number of animals killed. Several trophies can be taken from the same animal. Therefor the CITES base is not a good source of information regarding the actual number of animals traded.


Page 66 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Lion trophy hunting began with the arrival of the British in Africa. ‘

Jens says: Alexander the Great and his contemporaries would strongly disagree


Page 120 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In 2017, there were discrepancies in almost two-thirds of entries where both import and export declaraions are given’

Jens says: Yes. There are a lot of errors and discrepancies in the CITES database. And yet Gonçalves is not afraid to use single records to jump to very dubious conclusions without further fact-checking.


Page 121 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Zambia once had one of the largest populations of any African nation – as recently as the 1970s its population was estimated to be over 200,000. Now there are thought to be fewer than 10,000.’

Jens says: According to the latest aerial survey I could find the total number is estimated to be 21,760.


Page 122 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In October 2017, the African Wildlife Foundation published startling figures about the rate of elephant trophy hunting. It said that between 2001 and 2015, an estimated 81,572 African elephants had been killed for trophies’

Jens says: That is 5,438 every year for 15 years. In 2015, the total CITES hunting quota for elephants was 1,500. In 2014 it was 1,420. Gonçalves seems to claim, that ‘trophy hunters’ kill more than three times as many elephants as the quotas allow. Where is the documentation?


Page 124 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In reality, trophy hunting and poaching are two Pages of the same coin. The trophy hunting permit system is used by poachers to acquire animal body parts legally’

Jens says: Acquiring animal carcase parts legally is – by definition – not poaching.


Pages 133-134 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘It is not just lions that are victims of canned hunting. CITES permits show a number of bears recently shot by trophy hunters had been bred in captivity. Indeed, records confirm that canned bear hunting has taken place every year sinse 2014. Hunters from the US, South Africa, Denmark, Mexico, Canada and Britain are among those to have shot ‘canned bears’. Most were killed in Canada, but some were shot in Russia and the US. The trophies taken home by these hunters included skulls, whole bodies, plus 80kg of bears’ skins’

Jens says: From 2010 there is a total of five records of captive bred bears being exported from Canada to the US as hunting trophies. With around 50,000 black bears legally hunted every year five cases of supposedly captive bred bears in ten years is about 0.001% of the legally harvested bears. Where is the evidence that bears are captive bred in Canada for hunting? I believe clerical errors to be the most likely explanation of these odd CITES records. I have asked Canadian authorities for clarification.


Page 136 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Contrary to suggestions by some supporters of trophy hunting, polar bears have rarely been killed by Innuits in Canada as part of their culture, and never for ‘sport’’

Jens says: Indigenous hunters have hunted the vast majority of polar bears hunted during the last 50 years. The Inuit have a long tradition of polar bear hunting. Gonçalves mentions that around 50,000 polar bears have been killed since the 1960s. He also mentions that from 1980 until 2010 around 4,500 polar bear trophies (not individuals) have been exported as hunting trophies. So ‘trophy hunters’ have killed fewer than 4,500 bears. That leaves 45,000+ polar bears killed by Innuits who, according to Gonçalves, rarely kill these bears.


Page 139 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Of all the threatened species shot by big game hunters, 7 times more black bears are killed than zebras which occupy second place on the list’

Jens says: Black bears are not threatened. IUCN list their conservation status as ‘Least concern’. Zebras are many different species. The most hunted of them – Plains Zebra – is not threatened and it is not a CITES species. The ratio 1:7 is therefore certainly wrong.


Page 147 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Between 2007-2017, over 4,000 white rhinoceros were legally shot by trophy hunters – one fifth of the remaining population’

Jens says: In any given year, the number of legally killed white rhinos is thus about 2% of the population and it does not lead to population declines.


Page 147 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Legal and illegal hunting have combined to leave the species at grave risk of extinction’

Jens says: No. Legal hunting brought the numbers of white rhino from a few hundred to about 20,000 animals. ‘Trophy hunting’ literally saved the species from extinction.


Page 158 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The popularity of ‘plains game’ trophy hunting of species such as impalas and small antelopes may be having a harmful impact on cheetahs. Not only does it mean there is less food for cheetahs: it means they may be increasingly forced to prey on livestock’

Jens says: The hunting tourism industry have increased the prey base of cheetahs many fold in Southern Africa – especially in Namibia and South Africa. Furthermore, the cheetah is much less persecuted in hunting areas than on farmland. More food for cheetahs, more habitat for cheetahs. Not the other way around.


Page 161 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In one year alone, no fewer than 79 chimpanzee hunting trophies came from Cameroon into the US. Gorilla trophies have come from the Central African Republic, from where some chimpanzee trophies were also acquired.’

Jens says: There is a single record in the CITES trade database of 79 chimpanzee ‘hunting trophies’ going from Cameroon to the US in 2007, three specimens from Central African Republic to South Africa in 2010 and one skull from Tanzania to the US in 2014. None in the years before or after and none from any other countries between 2000 and 2021. In total three records of chimpanzees as ‘hunting trophies’. My gut feeling screams ’clerical errors’. I don’t believe that US hunters were allowed to go on a chimp-shooting spree in 2007. I have contacted the USFW for clarification. I found no other hominidae listed as hunting trophies after 2000 in the CITES database.


Page 161 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Over the last 10 years, over 3,700 of these monkeys have been shot by trophy hunters. Some were bred in captivity, including on monkey ‘ranches’ in Zambia’ (the quote is about vervet monkeys)

Jens says: Although Gonçalves cites the CITES trade database as the source of this information there are no records of any captive bred vervet monkeys being exported as hunting trophies from Zambia. There is however a single entry from 2014 concerning one supposedly captive bred vervet monkey being exported to the US from South Africa (Countrycode ‘ZA’ – which is not Zambia) as a hunting trophy. There is nothing to imply Zambia, there is nothing that points to ‘monkey ranches’. Everything points to yet another clerical error.


Page 166 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Hunting is cited as a leading cause of their [puffins’] decline’

Jens says: The source of this information is an article titled ‘Puffins overhunted In Vestmanneyjar’ from 2013. It is about the local situation on a small group of islands on the coast of Iceland. It does not refer to the entire puffin population.


Page 166 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In much of Iceland, breeding has generally failed every year since 2003’

Jens says: No. According to the author of the article Gonçalves refers to, puffins had a good breeding year in Iceland in 2015. It also states that the reason behind falling populations over the last few years is a lack of herring due to cyclical weather.


Page 173 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘South African firms were among those taking part in a new mega-hunting exhibition in Shanghai, China, in June 2019’

Jens says: The total number of visitors during the four day show was about 2,500. It was cosy, not mega as Fieldsports Channel’s film about the event shows. By comparison, the Danish hunting shows – which are among the very smallest in Europe – typically draws an audience of 10,000-15,000 people over three days. The term ‘Mega-hunting exhibition’ is very far from reality.


Page 175 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Giraffe populations have been in sharp decline in recent years. Two of its nine sub-populations are listed as Endangered, and another two as Critically Endangered’

Jens says: For some reason Gonçalves omits the fact that the two southern sub-populations – which are intensively hunted – are both growing in numbers and have been doing so for decades. The Angolan giraffe is already listed by IUCN as ‘Least Concern’ and the South African giraffe is expected to be listed in the same category. The two southern sub-species mainly live in hunting areas and their numbers have almost tripled over the last three decades.


Page 176 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘It is difficult to kill them quickly or relatively painlessly because of the thickness of their skin’

Jens says: A brain-shot on a giraffe is not very difficult and kills the animal instantly. It is true that a shot to the shoulder of a giraffe is not effective in terms of swift and humane killing, but that has nothing to do with the thickness of its skin. It is rather a consequence of the unique blood pressure regulation in a giraffe that prevents a sudden drop of blood pressure in the brain when it lift its head from the ground. A side effect of this enabled the animal to run long distances with a perfect heart shot.


Page 178 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘There are only 1,700 Cape Mountain Zebras remaining. The Grevy’s zebra is endangered with fewer than 2,000 individuals left. The Hartmann’s zebra – the species most commonly killed by trophy hunters – is classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN’

Jens says: The population of Cape Mountain Zebras is increasing – partly due to breeding programs funded by hunting- and the species is classified as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN.

Only three hunting trophies of Grevy’s zebra can be found in the CITES database 2000-now. All records are from 2002. This species is not currently legally hunted. It has not been for almost two decades. Most Grevy’s live in Kenya and their numbers have been decreasing dramatically over the last decades. Kenya banned big game hunting in 1977.

The number of Hartmann’s Zebras is increasing. The species mainly lives in Namibian hunting areas. It is not as Gonçalves writes the zebra species most commonly killed by trophy hunters. That title undoubtedly goes to the Plains Zebra – Equus Quagga – a species not regulated by CITES.


Page 179 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Top five zebra importing nations – 2017
US: 749
Germany: 367
Austria: 107
Sweden: 83
Hungary: 79’

Jens says: This list makes no sense since it’s a list of trophies – not necessarily the same as individual animals – and it doesn’t include plains zebras because they are not monitored by CITES.


Page 187 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Other South African game ranches offer golden wildebeest and white lions with pale blue eyes. Such niche trophies command high prices. A golden wildebeest trophy hunt can cost US $50,000 – one hundred times as much as it’s more common cousin’

Jens says: The market for colour variation breeding animals collapsed in 2016 due to lack of interest from hunters. Prices dropped more than 80% for the breeding animals and more for the animals in hunting areas. There is no demand for these animals and a ‘golden wildebeest trophy’ will be hard to sell to anyone for even US$2,000.


Page 188 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The trend in breeding exotic species on private ranches in part reflects the fact that many animals popular with trophy hunters are dying out, or have already disappeared from the wild’

Jens says: I cannot think of a single animal popular with ‘trophy hunters’ that have died out, nor disappeared from the wild.


Page 207 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Evidence of artificial selection can now be seen in a number of species popular with trophy hunters around the world. Roe bucks in Latvia and Estonia are hunted before they reach maturity: in Lithauania, were this is not the case, antlers are 40% larger by weight and volume’

Jens says: Yes. Roebuck statistically carry the biggest/heaviest antlers when they are five or six years old. If they are shot at a younger age, the antlers are smaller. This is common knowledge among European hunters. I do however fail to see what this proves regarding the influence on the gene pool resulting from ‘artificial selection’.


Page 208 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Trophy hunters are fast running out of big impressive animals to shoot’

Jens says: There is considerably more game in Southern Africa now, than there has been at any time during the last century, so I would claim that with rising populations there will be plenty of mature bulls to hunt in the future. That’s thanks to hunting.


Page 209 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Contrary to industry claims, though, little if any of this money appears to be going into conservation or to local communities as a way to incentivize them to protect wildlife habitat.’

Jens says: In relation to conservation the money flow is less important than the actual conservation results. The distribution of income from hunting tourism depends entirely on the ownership model and local legislation. In South Africa and Namibia were many hunting areas are privately owned, 100% of the money payed by hunters to hunt animals goes to the local landowner as a very strong incentive to reserve the land for wildlife rather than use it for traditional farming. There are more than 20 million large wild animals living in these private nature reserves funded by hunting tourism in South Africa and Namibia and these areas hosts more than 80% of all hunting tourists in Africa. In both Namibia and to a lesser degree South Africa, land is also owned by indigenous communities which also receive 100% of the proceeds from their land (like any other landowner). In other countries, land may predominantly be owned by the government and leased to hunting organisers. In most cases, local communities are more or less involved financially. The actual arrangements differ – there is no international standard model.


Page 212 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘If there is little evidence of trophy fee money going into conservation, there is even less of measureable conservation benefits or outcomes’

Jens says: The short answer is on the IUCN website.


Page 216 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Few rural people … find employment as trackers, skinners and domestic workers on game farms’

Jens says: According to my information collected over the years in Southern Africa, a game farm typically employs three or four times as many people as a livestock farm of similar size.


Page 217 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘However there is no evidence of trophy hunting delivering improved conservation outcomes that would not have occurred without it’

Jens says: A number of species have benefited greatly from recreational hunting: markhor, urial, Pere David’s deer, Alpine ibex, Iberian ibex, Hartmann’s zebra, Cape mountain zebra, Angolan giraffe, South African giraffe, white rhino, black rhino, black wildebesst, blesbok, bontebok, southern roan, sable, vaal rhebok, nyala, scimitar horned oryx, arabian oryx, darma gazelle, addax, European bison, American bison, pronghorn antelope, elk, whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkeys. There are many North American, European, and Southern African species that could be added to that list including all the species that share habitat with these game species.


Page 219 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘‘Big game hunting, in terms of conservation, does not work’ – IUCN report [360]’

Jens says: The reference numbered 360 is: ‘Big game hunting in west Africa – what is its contribution to conservation?’ IUCN, PAPACO STUDIES no. 2, 2009.

There is some controversy about this report. Is it an official IUCN document? On page 2 of this report you find the following statement: ‘The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the IUCN.’


Page 221 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The scientific evidence consistently indicates that trophy hunting has negative consequences. During the days of the British Empire, trophy hunting led directly to the extinction of the quagga and the bloubok’

Jens says: The scientific evidence suggests the opposite. Bloubok and quagga were killed for meat to eat and hides to sell as well as for clearing the land for livestock. There is no indication of ‘trophy hunting’ or even recreational hunting.

During the 148-year period between the foundation of the Dutch foundation of the Cape Colony and the day the last bloubok was killed, the British Empire held the area (with a small military force) for about five years – about 3.5% of the time in which the small bloubok population was continuously shot. The last wild quagga was killed in the Orange Free State in 1878. This area was not part of the British Empire until the Boers were defeated in 1902. You can blame the British Empire for a lot of things. But not for the extinction of the bloubok and the quagga.


Page 221 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘The species favoured by hunters are almost uniformly in decline’

Jens says: The species favored by recreational hunters are almost uniformly increasing or stable in numbers. This goes for virtually all European and North American big game species, and the vast majority of species hunted in Southern Africa.


Page 221 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Virtually all the trophies currently coming into countries such as Britain are from species classed by CITES as being at threat of extinction’

Jens says: Most hunting trophies are not even from CITES species. CITES does not classify species as threatened. IUCN does that.


Page 222 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘Kenya banned all trophy hunting in 1977 because of the devastating consequences of the sport in their country’

Jens says: And since then they lost most of their wildlife – without ‘trophy hunting’


Page 225 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘In Kenya we believe a live animal is worth more over its lifetime than a one off killing. Elephant hunting was made illegal in 1973, followed by a ban on all animal hunting in 1977. Since then our elephant population has been growing steadily, and our rhino breeding programme has been successful’

Jens says: According to my sources the population of black rhinos in Kenya in 1970 was 18,000-20,000 animals. It fell to an all-time low of fewer than 400 at the beginning of the 1990s. According to WWF, the decline was due to poaching. The bulk of poaching took place after the 1977 ban on legal big game hunting. The northern white rhinos is now functionally extinct. In Kenya. And that is how successful the Kenyan rhino conservation has been since the hunting ban.

Between 1977-1980 and 2011-2013 the elephant population in Kenya has declined with more than 40%. It has NOT been growing steadily since 1977.


Page 251 by Eduardo Gonçalves

‘We (the Maasai, red) have certain products that come from wildlife but we do not hunt the animals for them’

Jens says: So the traditional Massai head-dresses made from lion manes are taken from lions that died from old age in the bush?


Page 269 by Eduardo Gonçalves


Jens says: The last 25 pages of the book is an impressive list of no less than 444 references. A lot of them are however, the same sources listed repeatedly. Few of them are unbiased scientific facts. Most of them are opinionated articles and books written by anti-hunting groups and individuals. There are also sources from the hunting media used to cherry-pick juicy/gory quotes.

Very Best of Enemies – Man, Lion and their Eternal Conflict, BB Slatr, 2017 – cited at least 14 times

Overkill – the race to save Africa’s wildlife, James Clarke, 2017 – cited at least 12 times

Killing for trophies – an analysis of global trophy hunting, IFAW – cited at least 9 times.

The effects of trophy hunting on five of Africa’s iconic wild animal populations in 6 countries – analysis, Adam Cruise, Conservation Action January 2016 – cited at least 25 times

Cuddle Me, Kill Me a true account of South Africa’s captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry, Richard Peirce, Struik Nature, 2018 – cited at least 12 times


Other ways to listen to our podcasts:

Feel free to share this story with the these buttons


Was that story useful?
Please support our work. Fieldsports Nation is the collective name for members of the countrysports community who have banded together to support our work promoting hunting, shooting and fishing.
We make an impact by funding a movement that informs the public and government policies.
Please click here.


Free weekly newsletter