A CAMPAIGN started in an activist’s living room to ban trophy hunting imports in the UK has achieved its goal.
The Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting, spearheaded by 51-year-old Eduardo Goncalves, has received attention from national media and celebrity endorsement from the likes of Ricky Gervais and Leonardo di Caprio.
Now, the government’s minister for international wildlife, Zac Goldsmith, has announced that the hunters will no longer be allowed to bring home trophies from endangered animals.
The ban is expected to pass through parliament after the Conservative Party Conference, which started yesterday.
On Saturday, prime minster Boris Johnson also tweeted: ‘We must end this barbaric practice.’
The Labour Party had also previously adopted the policy.
Mr Goncalves, who lives in Gosport, said: ‘When I saw the tweet from Mr Johnson I really didn’t know what to do with myself.
‘It’s an amazing result, and the UK companies that offered these safari hunting trips are already shutting down.
‘The net has closed in and we’re finally resigning trophy hunting to our past.’
Mr Goncalves, who previously worked for the World Wildlife Fund, says 1.7m animals have been killed by trophy hunters in the past 10 years.
Of that figure, he claims, it is the largest animals – which subsequently make for the most impressive trophies – which are targeted by hunters.
He said: ‘It’s the larger animals that get these hunters into the record books, but also means the strongest and fittest animals are being taken out of the gene pool.
‘I would hope people see sense, that it’s an unacceptable thing to do.
‘We got rid of bear-baiting and dog-fighting hundreds of years ago, but somehow it’s taken us this long to decide that killing an endangered animal is wrong.’
Having now seen success in the UK, Mr Goncalves plans to take his campaign to the world stage, cutting out loopholes in international trade law.
Tonight, he will also be presented with a Services to Wildlife award at this year’s star-studded Mirror Animal Hero Awards.
‘Hopefully from Gosport we can end up changing the world,’ he said.
‘This award is a celebration for the whole campaign team and shows just how far we’ve come – but this is just the beginning.’