The Dallas Safari Club has not made a good name for itself in the animal welfare and conservation world. This club has faced international criticism over the years for auctioning off exotic animal hunts. Last year one of the auctions included a hunt for an endangered Black Rhino. That hunt has been postponed until the winner receives permission to import the animal’s body from Namibia to the U.S., but it is still likely that the hunt will occur.

As a species becomes more endangered, there is less and less genetic variation available for the success of the species. Taking just one individual from a species, especially one as endangered as the black rhino, can have detrimental effects on the future resilience and potential success of the species.

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This year, the Dallas Safari Club is at it again with ridiculous auction items. Along with a 14-day trophy hunt in Mozambique for an adult male leopard, they were planning on auctioning a hunt for a wild elephant. Considering the elephant’s fast decline in numbers, this hunt obviously caused an uproar in the animal welfare community.

The African elephant is the world’s largest land animal, and although it is not listed as endangered, it has been listed as “vulnerable.” This listing is one step below an endangered listing and is defined by the World Wildlife Fund as species who is “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.” This comes as no surprise seeing how up to 50,000 African elephants are poached from the wild every year.

Yet, for some reason, the Dallas Safari Club feels it is justified to kill these magnificent and intelligent animals …

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Thankfully, however, this elephant hunt has been cancelled! According the the Dallas Safari Club, the donation of the hunt was withdrawn for and unknown reason. We would like to think that this hunt was withdrawn for being incredibly unethical and irresponsible to this species.

Ben Carter of the Dallas Safari Club told The Associated Press that “elephants, lions and leopards are not listed as endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, in fact, are overpopulated in certain areas of Africa.”

Considering that many of these animals are suffering from habitat loss, poaching and declining populations, we find this statement irresponsible and wildly misleading.

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The idea that a vulnerable species is overpopulated makes absolutely no sense, and proves the Dallas Safari Club is just adding to the loss of species our world is currently suffering from.

Some argue that trophy hunts help to maintain healthy population numbers, but as Angela Antonisse-Oxley of the Dallas-based Black Rhino Project says, “A bullet is not going to save them.” Trophy hunts aggravate the serious problem of big game poaching in Africa.

The cancellation of the elephant hunt is one small success that will HOPEFULLY one day lead to the end of practices like this.

According the Jeffrey Flocker of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, “anytime someone is killing an endangered species for sport – needlessly killing it – they should be stopped.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Lead image source: DianaRobinson/Flickr