A number of British trophy hunters have been rebuked online after sharing photographs of themselves alongside recently shot animals. The pictures, which feature a variety of African wildlife such as the “vulnerable” plains zebra, have gone viral after appearing on a series of Facebook posts, as well as several safari websites.
According to multiple reports, the hunters featured in the photographs include 55-year-old Andy Denson, who is currently listed as the UK agent for Thaba Thala Safaris. As stated in The Mirror, Mr Denson is also one of the UK’s top taxidermists, having regularly visited Southern Africa since early 80s. His website states:
“My auntie was a manager on one of the biggest privately owned game reserves in South Africa and for the past 20 years I have spent most of my time studying and hunting there. I have been glad to see my son follow in my footsteps to become a very well respected professional hunter and fisherman taking clients out to fulfil their African dreams.”Watch as Hunters High-Five Each Other After Shooting A Lion:
Hunting in Africa is extremely controversial. Many participants claim that the practice, which is especially prevalent in South Africa, helps to encourage conservation, though experts often dispute this assertion.
What is clear, however, is that hunting holiday packages cost a premium and are only accessible for the super rich. The Mirror claim that Thaba Thala offer a list of over 40 animals that hunters can shoot from, with packages starting at around $4900 for a week.
Understandably, the shocking photos have prompted an angry reaction from the conservation community. Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting group stated:
"It is unbelievable there are hardly any legal restrictions on shooting zebras for fun. So many of Africa's greatest wild animals are already suffering thanks to the vile trophy hunting industry. Now zebras have joined the list. In April last year zebras were officially listed as vulnerable. The Grévy's zebra species are listed as endangered. What is it going to take to stop these killers from wiping out our wildlife completely?"
With wildlife populations in Africa under more pressure than ever before, it’s understandable that many see photos such as these as barbaric examples of our contempt for the natural world. If the reaction to this story is anything to go by, they may well become a thing of the past.