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Trophy Leaks: A Behind the Scenes Exposé of Killing For Fun

Eduardo Gonçalves' data expose the shocking killing ways of top trophy hunters.

In his latest book called Trophy Leaks: Trophy Hunters and Industry Secrets Revealed, the third in a series focusing on the violent sport of trophy hunting, award-winning author and Animal Hero Awards winner Eduardo Gonçalves "exposes the incredible kill scores of the world’s top trophy hunters and the astonishing 'covert operations' funded by the industry to prevent their sick sport from being banned."1 Eduardo's highly respected trilogy has been recognized as the most thorough detailed data-driven exposé of this wide-ranging brutal industry. The group who hunt for sport include many medical doctors, dentists (one of whom, an American, killed Cecil the lion, a reprehensible murder that went viral globally), lawyers, educators, executives, and "conservationists". Abigail Day, a Cambridge educated lawyer, has killed more than 200 "trophy animals" and has been recognized as a top trophy hunter and has won more than 20 awards from Safari Club International (SCI) who support this egregious activity. "She is one of only two living British hunters known to have won SCI’s 'African Big 5' award for shooting a lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, and cape buffalo."2

In two previous interviews with Mr. Gonçalves, the world's leading authority on recreational killing, he covered many other aspects of the "extinction industry" and "gratuitous killing for fun."3

Here's what he had to say about his new riveting game-changing book that is receiving high praise from conservative as well as progressive media.

Why did you write Trophy Leaks?

We need to understand the devastating impact of trophy hunting on the world’s wildlife. Astonishing numbers of animals are killed by trophy hunters every year. Trophy Leaks reveals how hunters are encouraged by the industry to kill more and more animals by a "ladder" system of awards.

Eduardo Gonçalves, with permission
Source: Eduardo Gonçalves, with permission

Safari Club International has ‘starter’ awards which get the hunter ‘hooked’–rather like how a drug dealer operates. Once the hunter has developed a ‘taste’ for it, they’re encouraged to take more and more. The system also operates quite like an arcade game. In order to complete a level you have to kill a certain number of animals. You can then move onto the next level, and the next level after that, but only once you’ve killed even more animals.

At the bottom end are Safari Club International’s "Continental Awards"and "Milestone Awards". The "African 15" is an example of a Continental Award. To win this, you have to shoot 15 different species of African wild animal. Safari Club International provides a "menu" of eligible animals. They include Lions, Leopards, African elephants, Black or White rhinoceroses, and Hippopotamuses.

The "Bears of the World" prize is an example of a "Milestone Award". To win it, you have to shoot several different types of bear from around the world. The list of eligible bears includes the Polar bear, Grizzly bear, Eurasian brown bear, and the Asian black bear (or Moon Bear).

The next "level" are the Masonic-sounding "Inner Circle" awards. These have tiers ranging from Copper to Diamond. The Hunting Achievement Inner Circle Award requires you to kill animals from at least 10 different species at "Copper" level. To win Gold, you have to shoot at least 100 species. The figure is 125 or more species in order to receive the award at Diamond level. Over 250 hunters have won the prize at Gold or Diamond level.

Once you’ve completed enough Inner Circles and Milestone Awards, you’re eligible for the Cumulative Awards. The requirements here are huge. To receive Safari Club International’s ironically named World Conservation and Hunting Award hunters must have done all 15 Milestone Awards, completed at least 25 of the Inner Circles at Diamond level, and have also completed a series of other levels with names such as the Fourth Pinnacle of Achievement, the Zenith Award and the Crowning Achievement Award.

At this stage you are talking about individuals who have single-handedly shot hundreds of animals. An astonishing 20,000 prizes have been handed out by Safari Club International in the last few years.

Safari Club International also has a “Record Book”. This lists the biggest animals shot by trophy hunters. There are a staggering 892 species categories. The book currently holds details of 200,000 animals shot and recorded as "world-beating’" trophies.

Who is your intended audience?

One of the prime audiences is the UK Government’s environment industry, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs). One of the big stories I tell in my book is the extraordinary ‘cyber warfare’ campaign directed at DEFRA by the hunting industry.

The UK government has pledged to introduce a ban on hunting trophy imports. DEFRA is the ministry responsible for drafting this legislation. At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 it held a 4-month long public consultation on different proposals.

Safari Club International has a pot of money called the Hunter Legacy 100 Fund ("HLF100"). It was set up by 100 of America’s richest men and women, each of whom have put at least $100,000 into the fund. The money was used to hire contractors who created a phony "African conservation group" purporting to be opposed to a UK ban. They used Artificial Intelligence technology to create fake social media profiles to promote “non-branded pro-hunting emotionally charged content” which used “the exact words and facts from the SCI web pages and simply present it through an African’s voice”. An accompanying presentation spells out its approach: “SHAPE, INFORM, INFLUENCE, MANIPULATE, MISLEAD, EXPOSE, DIMINISH, PROMOTE, DECEIVE, COERCE, DETER, MOBILIZE, CONVINCE”.

What are some of the topics that are woven into your book and what are some of your major messages?

The book looks at the 25 men and women who are arguably today’s top trophy hunters, the awards they have won, and the animals they killed to win them. There are boasts about their staggering hauls, revealing passages where hunters talk about what motivates them to go trophy hunting, and descriptions of their favourite hunting expeditions and the kill.

There’s also a chapter about a shocking new "fad"—shooting pigs from helicopters using AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. One hunter describes the experience as follows: “There's nothing quite like buzzing over droves of hogs from only a few dozen feet above, speeding along at interstate speeds while cutting loose with your itchy trigger finger.”

Is there anything else you'd like to tell readers?

The foreword comes from Ian Khama, Botswana’s President from 2008-2014 and who banned trophy hunting while he was in office. He compares trophy hunting to how ISIS terrorists display the severed heads of their victims. He goes on to say: “With the decline of wildlife worldwide, and many species approaching extinction, how can there be justification in hunting? How can any government say they are fighting poaching whilst allowing hunting at the same time? What a contradiction—what hypocrisy.”

References

Notes

1) The book's description reads: Eduardo Gonçalves - award-winning campaigner, conservationist and journalist - is revealing the industry’s secrets like never before. In his most devastating investigation to date, he exposes the incredible kill scores of the world’s top trophy hunters … and the astonishing ‘covert operations’ funded by the industry to prevent their sick sport from being banned. Learn how British hunters have shot rhinos and other endangered animals, and about the UK companies who are selling sick hunting holidays. In his foreword, former Botswana President Ian Khama blasts trophy hunting as “sadistic”, says it’s “hypocrisy” to fight a war against poaching while allowing the same animals to be killed by trophy hunters, and makes an impassioned plea to the leaders of Western governments to ban trophy imports NOW...before it's too late.

2) Cambridge-educated female lawyer is revealed as top trophy hunter. YouTube, December 6, 2020; Gatten, Emma, and Jamie Johnson. Cambridge-educated lawyer revealed as top trophy hunter. The Telegraph, December 6, 2020; Wynne, Amelia. Cambridge-educated female lawyer is revealed as top trophy hunter 'who has slaughtered dozens of African wild animals' - as campaigners slam Thames Water manager who posted selfies with at least 50 kills. Daily Mail, December 6, 2020.

3) See Trophy Hunting: A Detailed Exposé of the Extinction Industry and Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry.

Batavia, Chelsea. Trophy hunting ethics: right/wrong and residue.

Bekoff, Marc. Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry.

_____. Trophy Hunting: A Detailed Exposé of the Extinction Industry,

_____. Trophy Hunters Pay More to Kill Larger-Bodied Carnivores.

_____. Trophy Hunting: Confronting the Elephant (Head) in the Room. (Trophy hunting is an immoral and inappropriate conservation practice.)

_____. Why Men Trophy Hunt: Showing Off and the Psychology of Shame.

_____. Should Grizzlies in the Yellowstone Area Be Trophy Hunted?

_____. Trophy Hunters' Smiles Show How Much They Like to Kill.

_____. The Psychology and Thrill of Trophy Hunting: Is it Criminal? (Trophy hunting is gratuitous violence that can justifiably be called murder.)

_____. Trumping Wildlife: Heinous Trophy Hunting, Not Conservation.

_____. Hunting Grizzlies For Fun is Unscientific and Unethical.

_____. Compassionate Conservation Meets Cecil the Slain Lion.

_____. Cecil the Lion: His Life, Death, and Effects on Conservation.

_____. Compassionate Conservation, Sentience, and Personhood. (Conservation efforts should be guided by compassion rather than by killing. Numerous references to compassionate conservation can be found in this essay.)

_____. Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age.

Bigby, Kevin. Why Hunting Isn’t Conservation, and Why It Matters. Rewilding Earth.

Cambridge-educated female lawyer is revealed as top trophy hunter. YouTube, December 6, 2020

Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

Gatten, Emma, and Jamie Johnson. Cambridge-educated lawyer revealed as top trophy hunter. The Telegraph, December 6, 2020.

Keeling, Tracy. Trophy hunters’ core argument for killing is laid to waste in a staggering new book. The Canary.

Kennedy, Dominic. WWF changes stance on trophy hunting after Times exposé. The Times (UK)

Nikela. Poaching and trophy hunting endanger Afr.ica’s fragile giraffe populations.

_____. Canned Lion Hunting – Mass Commercialization of Trophy Hunting in Africa.

Wallach, Arian. Trophy hunting: Rants and rambles.

Wynne, Amelia. Cambridge-educated female lawyer is revealed as top trophy hunter 'who has slaughtered dozens of African wild animals' - as campaigners slam Thames Water manager who posted selfies with at least 50 kills. Daily Mail, December 6, 2020.

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