German trophy hunters shoot hundreds of wild animals of endangered species
German big game hunters kill polar bears, lions, or giraffes and bring the skins, teeth, and other parts home as a trophy.
In the past year, 2020, amateur hunters from Germany brought home hundreds of animals listed in the Washington Convention on Endangered Species as trophies.
They imported 543 hunting trophies from Africa, Canada, Argentina, the USA, Namibia, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Russia, and Mongolia, according to a response from the Federal Environment Ministry to a request from Green MP Steffi Lemke.
“It is completely absurd, while more and more animal species are facing extinction, parts of protected animals are still being brought to Germany as hunting trophies – quite legally,” said Lemke, the nature conservation spokeswoman for the Greens.
“The destruction of their habitat, the climate crisis, illegal and also legal trade put entire animal populations under pressure.”
Among the trophies: 164 zebras, 109 baboons, eight elephants, 14 lions, three white rhinos, one polar bear – and 40 giraffes that have just been protected in the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wildlife (Cites).
According to Cites, endangered animals are also hunted. In 2020, for example, a white rhinoceros from Namibia, four saber antelopes, eleven leopards, and three cheetahs were introduced to Germany.
“In view of the dramatic situation with the loss of species, the federal government must act and stop the practice of hunting trophies for protected species,” demands Lemke.
“The Germans are the greatest big game hunters after the Americans and Spaniards,” said Daniela Freyer from Pro Wildlife.
“It has to do with the country’s hunting tradition, but also with its ability to pay.”
According to the species protection organization Pro Wildlife, the giraffe populations alone shrank by 36 to 40 percent between 1985 and 2015. It is estimated that there are less than 100,000 giraffes across Africa. Habitat loss, poaching, and legal hunting threaten the animals, criticizes Pro Wildlife.
German hunters are among the leaders in trophy hunting after the Americans and Spaniards.
Some European countries have already banned the import of hunting trophies of certain species or are preparing corresponding laws.
The German government, on the other hand, is sticking to the approval of the import of hunting trophies and claims that these would provide a financial incentive to preserve hunted species.
In addition, The German government is currently funding development projects in Africa that “have points of contact with countries and areas with hunting components” with around 140 million euros.