The UK government has announced plans to ban the import of trophies from hunting.
Around 7,000 animal species will be protected by the new bill. This includes lions, leopards, polar bears, rhinos and elephants.
The bill covers both wild animals and those bred specifically for hunting.
The new bill is set to be tough on trophy hunting, with violators getting up to five years in prison.
A long time coming
In 2015, the death of Cecil the lion, who was shot by a British trophy hunter in Zimbabwe, sparked outrage nationwide.
Four years later, in 2019, the ban on trophy imports was first proposed, but it would be deliberated for another two years.
According to the campaign group Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, as many as 300 trophies could have been bought into the UK during that two years.
Eduardo Gonçalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, expressed disappointment at the time taken over the bill.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said, “The bill, as far as we’ve seen, looks to be in pretty good shape, but it has been two years since it was originally announced in the Queen’s speech, and many animals have been cruelly and needlessly killed in that time.
“So it is really imperative for the government to bring the bill to parliament as quickly as possible.”
Gonçalves said he had heard from ministers that the bill could come to parliament next spring or summer, by which time “potentially another 100 or more animals will be killed and their trophies brought back to Britain”.
He said, “Delay costs lives: every week that goes by without this ban means more animals, including endangered species, are being shot by British hunters, and their trophies brought back to the country.
“Some of these species are careering towards extinction, and certainly the British public are very strongly opposed to trophy hunting.”