A disturbing online video that shows a trophy hunter ineptly wounding and eventually killing two Cape buffaloes—members of a near-threatened species—at Woodlands Safari Estate in South Africa last month shows everything wrong with the trophy hunting industry.
The footage, shot by hunting outfitter John X Safaris, shows the buffaloes writhing and stumbling in agony before slowly dying. The hunter claims to have intentionally killed both animals, even though he apparently only secured advance permission to kill one and did so in defiance of the guide’s instructions to shoot only one buffalo.
In the video, the guide yells, “No!” as the hunter appears to shoot the wrong buffalo. Afterward, the hunter dismisses his guide’s concern over the extra kill, saying, “I guess I got $32,000,” which is double the original fee he had paid. He also states, “I’m gonna be honest with ya—I saw him in the scope, and I took ’em both.”
Despite the hunter’s admission as well as his complete disregard for protocol and the animals’ suffering, John X Safaris excused his killing of the second buffalo as a mistake and wrote in a social media post online, “[S]ome impressive shooting resulted in two awesome old bulls and an experience that will never be forgotten!”
After seeing the horrific footage, PETA rushed a letter to the head of the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, urging them to launch an immediate investigation into the hunt and the outfitter’s subsequent endorsement of the hunter’s actions.
South Africa Must Ban Trophy Hunting
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Cape buffalo as a near-threatened species with declining population numbers and cites hunting as one of the principal threats facing the species, as predicted rates of further decline place this animal at the threshold of threatened status. Cape buffaloes are complex animals who communicate via vocalizations, establish social hierarchies, and have even been shown to “vote” on herd movement.
However, hunters view them as mere trophies, since they are one of Safari Club International’s “African Big 5,” valued purely for the size of their horns and the perverse thrill of killing them.
Trophy hunting is a huge and dirty business in the country. PETA’s latest undercover exposé in South Africa revealed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ties to the trophy hunting industry, which include owning a 50% stake in a hunting company, owning a hunting property, and breeding animals at his ranch to be killed by trophy hunters.
What You Can Do
Animals shot by trophy hunters often endure a prolonged and painful death—simply so that hunters can chop off their heads and other body parts as trophies and politicians and businesses can make a profit.
Please urge South Africa’s Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to ban trophy hunting in South Africa immediately.