While there's little that can be done abroad to stop these hunts, Environmental Minister Greg Hunt says Australia will remove a key incentive for them by making it illegal for hunters to return home with their bloody trophies. Rhino parts are the first to be banned, though this will soon be followed by other game animals as well.
"I've signed an order, we're taking action - it's going to stop," Hunt told Australian Broadcasting. "The process of really capturing or raising animals and then having them in a compound where they can't run they can't hide, they don't have a fair chance, doesn't really fit with the fair go ethos of this country let alone the broader issues of humane treatment of animals."
Parliament Member Jason Wood, who had been pushing for the ban, says these trophy hunting expeditions amount to little more than "killing sprees," something most Australians weren't aware was going on.
"I don't even call it hunting, most of the time they have bait there. There's this very graphic video I've seen where you have a lion just lying under its food and it just gets shot. And the very distressing thing is the lion is perplexed as to what is going on – why, because it is used to interaction with humans," says Wood.
"If you take away the incentive, if an Australian is going overseas, paying $40,000 for a lion and then they can't bring it back to Australia to put above their mantelpiece that takes the incentive away and that's why it's so important to change the laws."
In the United States, trophy hunters are still allowed to return home with rhino parts with permission from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Trophy hunting advocates tout the activity as a key form of conservation -- but in reality, it merely contributes to the gradual decimation of endangered species around the world. Join us in pledging never to support big game hunting of any form, and to stand with governments that ban the sale of imported animal "trophies."