WARNING: The following story contains graphic content.
Want to kill a majestic big cat but are pressed for time? It helps to remove chance from the equation. And the vendors at the Safari Club International convention can help you do just that. “We pre-bait for people, if you want,” says a safari operator, caught on video during an HSI/HSUS undercover investigation. “We’ll go ahead and put up the baits for that leopard, or that lion. It can save time.” Dead zebras will be hoisted in trees, and when a leopard comes to feed on one, you, the lucky trophy hunter, will sit comfortably hidden behind a blind. The task of finding and killing an elusive leopard won’t be a challenge at all.
Inside SCI’s annual convention in February in Las Vegas, the more than 500 hunting outfitters offering trophy hunting packages for tens of thousands of dollars weren’t selling chances to conserve leopards or other threatened or endangered species, as SCI’s media statements suggest. Instead, the investigator’s conversations with safari operators revealed vendors offering the lives of animals like merchandise. Safari operators promoted hunting tours that are anything but fair chase, offering hunts on fenced properties, guaranteeing kills and using dead animals for bait and hounds for tracking and cornering.