Trophy hunting ‘shooting bonanza’ feared as firms tempt with ‘corona specials’

Marauding trophy hunting firms have been accused of cashing in on Covid-19 by offering ‘corona special’ deals.

They are offering cut-price packages as they seek to lure back customers for when travel bans are lifted.

Countries around the world have closed their borders and introduced strict restrictions on movement as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Campaigners say they fear trophy hunting will “surge” after restrictions are lifted there will be slaughter on an “unimaginable scale”.

Eduardo Goncalves, from the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said: “There’s a lot of companies offering special coronavirus deals.

“Hunting companies are trying to cash in on the coronavirus crisis.

"They are flogging special offers on rare and endangered animals for hunters to kill for thrills.

“They’re trying to make even more money from the suffering of innocent animals. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

The packages are being advertised on the website bookyourhunt.com, although it does not reveal the name of the firms.

One firm is offering a package to shoot zebra, warthog and antelope in South Africa, slashed from £14,000 to just under £6,000.

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Another ‘corona special’ deal cut from £10,000 to just £3,600 offers the chance to shoot different types of antelope in Free State, South Africa.

The operator says it will involve “testing your inner strength and rising to the challenges that only big game can offer”.

Another firm is offering a 10-day polar bear hunt in Nunavut, Canada, reduced from more than £76,000 to £68,000.

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Mr Goncalves said: “When travel restrictions are lifted there’s going to be a shooting bonanza in Africa and places like Canada where trophy hunters kill polar bears for kicks.

“It’s going to be slaughter on an unimaginable scale.

“It’s going to be a disaster for wildlife.”

He said the campaign is calling for a trophy import ban to be implemented in Britain “before hunters are allowed to go marauding around Africa again”.

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The industry says income from trophy hunting helps to pay for conservation efforts.

A spokesman for the Bookyourhunt website said: "Bookyourhunt.com brings together local hunting organizers with traveling hunters from all over the world.

"It is up to every traveller to take the necessary precautions and follow national and international rules concerning COVID-19.

"Laws and recommendations are different in every country.

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"We cannot and will not interfere with that, but try to provide up to date information on the latest travel restrictions and recommendations and advise all travellers to follow these protocols."

In a statement, the spokesman continued: "However, it is essential to us to represent our partners – the hunting outfitters – as well as possible. In these times more than ever.

"Of course, our partners worldwide are struggling just as much as any other tourism-related businesses during this pandemic. However, they are still managing and protecting huge areas of habitat with an abundance of species entirely dependent on hunting tourism.

"They need all the clients we can help them find.”

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