The US Imports Of "Big Five" Trophies By Country Of Origin

The largest number of Big Five trophies were imported by the US from South Africa, followed by Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Between 2005 and 2014, the US imported the largest number of Big Five trophies from South Africa (3,999), followed by Tanzania (663), and Zimbabwe (411). On many occasions, the term "Big Five" surfaces while referring to tourism or the wilderness in Africa. Their prestigious species are the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. The royalty attached to the animals’ products like the elephant tusks and the lion skin fuel the killing of these animals. Poachers also take advantage of their living environments while hunting. Most of the animals like the lion and the leopard live in the open grasslands and rocky areas where they are easily tracked and killed.

The US Imports Of "Big Five" Trophies By Country Of Origin

Sports Hunting

Apart from the trade in the body parts of the animals, the Big Five are hunted for the prestige associated with them. If you travel around into some affluent places like big hotels, governmental institutions, and even people’s homes, you will come across walls, major entries and floors adorned with the body parts of these animals like the elephant tusks. The trophy displays are a sign of the success of the hunt as the animals are termed to be ferocious and difficult to hunt on foot.

Poaching Reasons

Illegal hunting is the primary reasons as to why these creatures are on the decrease. It is due to the high demand of their body parts on the international markets like China. Many organized trophy hunt tours raise a lot of money at an average of almost $71000. The funds include charges incurred on accommodation, transportation, tour guides as well as the price of the trophy itself.

By practice, only the lion has the male member of the family hunted more than the female one. The male lions are killed more because of the pricey mane. In comparison to the lioness, the male is much larger and has a bigger, fluffy head. As for the elephants, both males and females are hunted almost equally because of their tusks. The horns of the rhinos place them on the high market demand. Their horns are widely used to craft daggers in South East Asian countries like Yemen. The dangerous buffaloes and the stealth leopards are hunted for their tusks and skins respectively.

The Banning Of Trophy Hunting

The killing of the lion named Cecil in 2005 by an American dentist at close range added to the uproar to ban sports hunting. Before this, Kenya was already leading on banning trophy hunting in 1977 with Botswana following on recently. Other countries that have prohibited the reckless activity in Africa is Zambia. Contrary to the heinous act, South Africa still supports sport hunting of these species mostly the lion but on controlled measures. The cats are bred in cages then later killed.

Animal Welfare Concerns

Other countries that the US imported the trophies of the big five include Zambia (283), Mozambique (74), Namibia (74), and Botswana (60). There are disputes concerning the hunting with proposers arguing that the funds collected can develop the community. Other supporters also credit the action by noting that the initiative helps in reducing human animal conflict. Animal rights practitioners issue stern warnings to stop the killings so as to spare the remaining species. There is a need to curb the sport hunting activity to prevent the extinction of these wild beasts

The US Imports Of "Big Five" Trophies By Country Of Origin

RankAfrican CountryTotal imports of "Big Five" Trophies to the US
by country of origin, 2005-2014
1South Africa3,999

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