WASHINGTON —Thousands of wildlife trophy hunters from around the world will gather in Reno, Nevada, for the annual Safari Club International convention January 9 through 12 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. At the event, they will have access to nearly 900 exhibitors, including companies that sell the experience of killing the world’s most iconic animals — African elephants, lions and leopards, and North American cougars, bears and wolves, among others — for their heads, hides, and other body parts.
Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and president of Humane Society International, said, “The SCI convention is a huge gathering of people in the business of buying, selling and auctioning off dead animal parts and opportunities to slay wild animals for fun or bragging rights. SCI’s claim of concern for wildlife conservation is greatly undercut by its agenda of advocating and celebrating the killing of the planet’s most threatened species.”
Hundreds of hunts on every continent except Antarctica will be auctioned off at the convention to benefit SCI. In 2016, according to federal tax filings, the convention raised more than $7.7 million in net revenue for SCI. The annual convention is a major funding source for SCI’s operations and agenda to influence pro-trophy hunting government policy. SCI’s political action committee, the Hunter Defense Fund, works to elect pro-trophy hunting politicians.
The SCI Record Book belies its claim that it is a conservation organization, offering members the opportunity to compete to win nearly 50 awards for killing elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, bears, wolves, antelopes and other animals. In 2015, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International analyzed the SCI books and found that since 1959, SCI members have killed at least 2,007 African lions, 1,888 African leopards, 791 African elephants, and 572 rhinos, including 93 critically endangered black rhinos as of that publication date, with more animals killed since then. The most prolific trophy hunters are awarded the World Hunting Award ring, which some have called the “Super Bowl ring of hunting.”
Block added: “We urge everyone, including government decision-makers, to challenge the conservation claims made by SCI and call them out as an industry group with a product to sell that is not beneficial to anyone, least of all imperiled wildlife.”
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International urge the public to speak out against trophy hunting.
- Rodi Rosensweig
- Nancy Hwa