5th Global March for Elephants & Rhinos, London – Apr 2019
At the end of the march we delivered our open letter to Prime Minister May; left to right, Denise Dresner (AFE), John Stevenson (Stop Ivory), Peter Egan, Cordelia Britton (Four Paws), Mark Jones (Born Free Foundation), Eduardo Goncalves (Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting), joined by Palmerston the cat. Credit: Paul Nicholls
The 5th Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) in April 2019 saw over 60 events around the world join in a huge day of action for endangered wildlife. In London,hundreds of people joined the March Against Extinction to call for a ban on the import of hunting trophies to the UK. Though this government claims that saving endangered wildlife is a key priority, it remains complicit in this ‘slaughter for sport’ by allowing British hunters to bring home the body parts of these animals. If trophy hunters could no longer brag about or display their kills, or receive special awards and recognition from their fellow hunters, there would be little motivation for them to hunt.
Around 2,500 body parts of animals killed for ‘sport’ were brought home by British hunters over the previous decade, including hundreds from endangered species such as elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes, and leopards. This cruel practice continues to decimate already threatened species and drive them closer to extinction. Trophy hunters maintain that hunting actually helps conservation and also brings significant benefits to local communities, however this is not substantiated by the evidence; furthermore, the sport’s economic contribution is virtually nil. But although approved in the House of Commons, the bill was later killed in the House of Lords in September 2023.
The broader theme of GMFER 2019 was Save Our Wild World. Wild animals everywhere are under increasing threat with every passing year – habitat loss, conflict with humans, depletion of food sources, and the effects of climate change are now their gravest threats, along with poaching. For many of them, extinction in the wild is not far off. Without maximum protection and coordinated strategies by the global community and CITES, elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, and all endangered megafauna could meet that fate, and much sooner than we think.
The collective message from our inspiring speakers on the day was that time is running out for the already threatened species that hunters most like to kill – elephant, lion, rhino, giraffe – and, far from helping their conservation, trophy hunting is one of the drivers pushing them towards extinction in the wild.
At the end of the march we delivered our open letter to Prime Minister May, signed by conservationists, NGOs, MPs, animal welfare groups, and celebrities, pressing the government to ban hunting trophies from entering the UK.