By Nada Farhoud & Adam Aspinall – The Mirror
EXCLUSIVE: Ex gamekeeper Derek Stocker’s ProStalk company specialises in trophy hunts to South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe killing baboons, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and zebras
Grinning Brits pose behind the body of defenceless animals shot dead on African trophy hunts, in images which will yet again sicken animal lovers.
Emily Padfield and Les Baker are two of many UK visitors having souvenir pictures taken of them with their prizes, parts of which they can bring home.
And a UK former gamekeeper is cashing in on the lust for blood by offering trips to slaughter threatened big game, under the “conservation” label.
Derek Stocker’s ProStalk specialises in trophy hunts to South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. They include killing baboons, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and zebras on “adventures of a lifetime”.
And wealthy customers have bragged about their cruel exploits during the trips, which start at £1,050 for five days.
Hunters can add more animals to kill from a list of 65 species, including £1,666 extra to shoot a giraffe, £6,422 for a hippo or just £47 for monkeys.
Experts believe ProStalk is the last remaining major UK company organising big game hunts in Africa.
Ms Padfield told how the trip was “truly the stuff dreams are made of”.
But the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting’s Eduardo Goncalve branded the safaris “a festival of cruelty”.
He said of shooting monkeys: “Many of these animals live in close proximity to humans and are used to people.
“It makes it even easier to shoot them. This is as cowardly as it is disgusting.”
Eduardo added: “ProStalk boasts about the ‘thrill’ of killing animals. It may be a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ for a hunter, but it’s hell for the animal killed to satisfy their sick bloodlust.
“Trophy hunting isn’t an ‘adventure’, it’s an abomination, and it needs to be abolished. The Government should implement an immediate moratorium on all hunting trophy hunting imports.
“This is the last remaining major UK company organising big game hunts in Africa. It’s a stain on our country’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers.
“It also has almost every iconic African animal on its hunting ‘menu’ including elephants, giraffes and zebras. All are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
“Britain has some of the laxest laws on trophy hunting. We allow hunters to kill and bring home the heads and body parts of practically any animal, including some of the most endangered wildlife.
“Trophy hunting is a horror show, where cheap bounties are placed on the heads of animals for fun. Britain needs to show it plans to lead the way in abolishing this abomination by acting now before it’s too late.”
The Mirror is calling for a ban on trophy hunting.
ProStalk insists it plays a “pivotal role” in conservation. It says: “Hunting is such a controversial issue and unfortunately the uninformed public and animal rights activists are unaware of how much it contributes to conservation.”
It also argues the growth of hunting since the 1960s has placed a value on wildlife and created a direct incentive to own, purchase, protect and conserve it. The firm says the establishment of private game ranches has helped some species recover in South Africa.
ProStalk is based in Baltonsborough, six miles from Glastonbury in Somerset. It offers hunts on a number of game reserves and concessions across Africa. On its website it boasts: “Why not build your own Safari? You can choose the required animals from the trophy list.”
The creatures also include elephants for £20,000 in Zimbabwe. Its website adds: “Still reminiscent of the ‘wild Africa’ of a bygone era, game is plentiful. Lion and leopard hunting is still open here. Cheetah can also be taken. If you come to hunt Zimbabwe for hippo or croc, you will not be disappointed.”
Ms Padfield, who took a trip with partner Mark Warner, was among the customers posting testimonials of a trip with ProStalk. The 36-year-old, from Warwickshire, wrote: “We travelled to South Africa for a cull package. It exceeded our expectations. Truly the stuff dreams are made of.”
Another, Les Baker, told how he shot “springbok, impala and warthog”.
Steve Bull, of New Haw, Surrey, added: “I arranged with Derek to take me on a trip of a lifetime to Africa to hunt and what a trip. We hunted all the species that I had asked him to arrange trophies.
“My wife Lynn shot her first ever springbok. I have to say I will no doubt be returning for another great trip soon.”
Mr Stocker, 62, who claims he has killed more than 5,000 deer in Britain as part of culls, refused to comment.