A pile of tusks are captured as a product of trophy hunting.

Trophy hunting


With our eye-opening findings, there is an urgent call to action to phasing out this blood sport once and for all. Wildlife deserves the right to a wild life.

The Issue


Trophy hunting treats wild animals as commodities, fuelling an unsustainable and cruel industry. There is a lack of evidence to show that trophy hunting has real conservation benefits. And while conserving wildlife and wild habitats is vital, how we conserve them matters. It is morally unacceptable to kill sentient wild animals for pleasure in the name of conservation.

Our research findings

Trophy hunting treats wild animals as commodities, fuelling a cruel industry which is not equitable or economically justified. World Animal Protection commissioned extensive research, surveying 10,900 people worldwide, including international tourists and South African citizens.

The findings demonstrate overwhelming opposition to trophy hunting and a desire to prioritize non-lethal alternatives such as wildlife-friendly tourism:

  • 84% of international tourists and 88% of UK tourists believe wildlife-friendly tourism should be prioritized over trophy hunting.
  • 74% of international tourists and 79% of UK tourists agree that trophy hunting as a policy damages South Africa's reputation, with 72% (UK 77%) stating it would deter them from visiting the country.
  • Approximately 70% of South African citizens believe that banning trophy hunting would make their country a more attractive tourist destination, and 74% agree that trophy hunting is unacceptable when wildlife-friendly tourism alternatives have not been fully utilized.

Trophy hunting is a pressing global issue that demands urgent attention from governments, organizations and the wider public.

Photo depicting trophy hunting

Wildlife should be protected properly, in a humane and ethical manner. 

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 There is strong public opposition to trophy hunting. South Africa is starving the oxygen from creative thinking to identify, incentivize and implement non-lethal alternatives to conserve Africa’s iconic wildlife.

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Canned hunting in South Africa

In South Africa, lion farming is big business. Lions – and other big cats – are bred for a number of tourist activities such as cub-petting or ‘walking with lions’. Once they are big enough, tourists can pay to shoot them within a fenced-off area where they have no chance of escape.

Even in death, these animals are exploited with their skulls, skins and, bones, claws and teeth being sold into local markets and for illegal international trade. 

Despite positive developments announced in May 2021 by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in South Africa to curb captive lion breeding and phase out the commercial captive lion industry, progress has so far been slow. 

Our role

Governments play a crucial role in addressing trophy hunting. While progress varies, World Animal Protection has been actively working to raise awareness, advocate for change and protect wildlife everywhere.

The life of a wild animal is worth so much more than a trophy it is too often reduced to. Amongst our initiatives, we continue to research, campaign, educate to shift public opinion and engage governments to implement more equitable, humane, and wildlife-friendly alternative practices through lobbying efforts.

Government action in the UK

World Animal Protection has called upon the UK government to fulfil its manifesto pledge and support John Spellar MP's Private Members Bill, which seeks to ban the import of hunting trophies into the UK. The overwhelming majority of the British public supports this measure, emphasizing the need for immediate action.

Whilst we cannot stop other countries from permitting trophy hunting, we can play our part by stopping hunters returning to the UK with their trophies.

This Bill is currently making its way through the Houses of Parliament and has overwhelming support from all political parties . We will continue to pressure the government to introduce this important piece of legislation. 

The path to change

Public sentiment, as highlighted by research, underscores the urgency to address trophy hunting. There is a need for international policy forums, national governments, and businesses to end the inherently cruel commercial trophy hunting of wildlife, by implementing an effective time-bound phase-out strategy.

As a first step, making an initial public commitment to end trophy hunting is vital. We can protect wildlife and transform our approach to wildlife management for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

The research findings, coupled with World Animal Protection's dedicated efforts and public support, emphasize the need for governments to prioritize wildlife-friendly practices and end the exploitation of wild animals for sport. Trophy hunting stands as a globally condemned practice that demands swift action.

Through our collective action, we can make significant strides towards protecting wildlife and fostering a world where animals are respected, valued and conserved for generations to come. 

Let’s make this the last generation of wild animals cruelly exploited as shoot-to-kill targets by the commercial trophy hunting industry.

Join us to end trophy hunting for good

Dolphin pod swimming in the wild

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