Hunters are starting to realize that killing an elephant is a very unpopular move.
The Dallas Safari Club, the same big game hunting organization that auctioned off the opportunity to shoot and kill an endangered black rhino last year, announced another controversial target last week. This time it was an African elephant, a species that conservationists have warned could be extinct by 2020.
But as animal activists picketed the club's headquarters in Dallas, the hunt was abruptly cancelled, the Associated Press reports. The hunter reportedly withdrew his bid.
While the Dallas Safari Club claims that profits made from trophy hunts often go to funding conservation efforts, many conservationists are adamantly against elephant trophy hunting. Jeff Flocken, North America's regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, told The Dodo that hunting elephants plays no role in their conservation.
"Elephants are an intelligent animal species with tight family units and an understanding of death. They are also in the midst of an extinction crisis right now," he said. "The unnecessary killing of these iconic animals for sport is just one more threat elephants don't need."
Believe it or not, this auction is far from the only one of its kind. Every year, the U.S. allows some 400 elephant trophies to be legally imported from African countries. While some 100 elephants are killed by poachers every single day and certain populations remain endangered, any elephant hunting is too much hunting.