The species conservation organization Pro Wildlife welcomes the fact that the German government’s Agricultural ministry (led by the Greens) has terminated the Country’s membership in the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), because the organisation promotes trophy hunting of protected species and has criticized import bans for hunting trophies in European countries. “The withdrawal is a long overdue step – it is unacceptable that Germany is a member of an association that propagates trophy hunting and takes positions that are detrimental to nature and species conservation and thus diametrically opposed to government policies,” says Daniela Freyer of Pro Wildlife. “The CIC is at the forefront of putting a bounty on rare animals of protected and endangered species. It is propagating the shooting of elephants, polar bears, lions, leopards and other species – even though killing of animals for trophies violates requirements of Animal Welfare Legislation, scientific studies prove its negative effects and this unacceptable practice is increasingly criticized in the public and by politicians.”
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) describes itself as a “is a politically independent, international, non-governmental advisory body that advocates for wildlife conservation through the principles of sustainable use.” In reality, the association, whose membership includes states as well as hunting organizations, lobbies for trophy hunting and commercial trade in endangered species. Most recently, it criticized a call by the European Parliament for an EU-wide ban on imports of hunting trophies of protected species and plans in an increasing number of European countries for national import bans on. At CITES conferences, the CIC regularly campaigns against proposals to protect hunted species such as polar bears, giraffes and hippos from international trade and promotes the trade in elephant ivory. The association awards prizes and issues an evaluation system for hunting trophies. In Germany, it is a partner of Europe’s largest hunting fair, “Jagd und Hund,” held annually in the city of Dortmund, and defends controversial sales of hunting safaris to shoot endangered and protected species. In the 2021 German federal election campaign the CIC had criticized the Green Party because it called for a ban on trophy imports in its party manifesto and election programs. After elections, the Green led German environment ministry had declared it would consider import restrictions for hunting trophies.
“CIC and other hunting associations pretend to represent the voices of African local communities, when in reality promoting hunters’ interests. It is downright cynical to imply that trophy hunting would serve to secure the livelihoods and food security of millions of poor people in Africa, when in actual fact it is first and foremost hunters, private landowners and hunting outfitters that are profiting,” says Freyer. In Namibia – the primary destination for German hunting tourists in Africa – over 97% of animals are hunted on private game farms*.
Germany is the largest importer of hunting trophies of species protected under CITES after the USA. Between 2014 and 2018, trophies of at least 15,000 protected mammals were legally imported into the EU. A large alliance of some 170 conservation and animal welfare organizations, including many from Africa, recently called for a ban on trophy imports in a joint position paper. According to surveys, in South Africa, the major African exporter of hunting trophies, 68% of people surveyed reject trophy hunting; in Germany 89% of the population support a ban on the import of hunting trophies. As of 2022, policy options for import and export bans of certain hunting trophies are being considered in Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK. The Netherlands and France have already enacted import bans for certainCITES protected species.
Report by Pro Wildlife, HSI, Born Free, Eurogroup for Animals, PASA: For a revision of the trophy hunting regime in the European Union
* MacLaren, C., Perche, J. and Middleton, A. (2022). “Discussion Paper: The value of hunting for conservation in the context of the biodiversity economy.” Namibia’s National TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity). Ministry of Environmentand Tourism, Windhoek, Namibia.