Amid pressure from animal welfare groups and protestors, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has canceled plans to auction off an African elephant hunt after the donor for the hunt withdrew his donation. The club had initially planned to auction the hunt at its annual convention and expo last weekend.
The club, which last year auctioned off a black rhino hunt, came under harsh criticism from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “Elephants are in enough danger as it is, with one being killed every 15 minutes for its ivory tusks,” Jeffrey Flocken, IFAW North American regional director, said in a statement. The $350,000 in proceeds from last year’s auction were given to the Namibian government to fund conservation efforts; a similar donation plan was initially in place for this year’s money. But Flocken says the donation isn’t a sufficient offset to the hunt. “To offer a wealthy trophy hunter the chance to kill an elephant and then call it conservation really is beyond baffling,” he said.
The World Wildlife Fund lists African elephants as vulnerable and facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, according to the AP. The IFAW’s press release says that the African elephant population has dropped as much as 95 percent in the past century, with about 420,000 left in the wild.
In a statement to the AP, DSC executive director Ben Carter said that “elephants, lions, and leopards are not listed as endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, in fact, are overpopulated in certain areas of Africa. These species are commonly hunted where legal, sustainable, and where populations need to be managed.”
Protestors demonstrated across the street from the hotel where the DSC’s convention was taking place, the AP reports, and Angela Antonisse-Oxley of the Black Rhino Project said that trophy hunts hinder conservation more than help it. “A bullet is not going to save them,” she said.