Elephant skin furniture, a hippo skull table, and stingray belts were just some of the items for sale at the Safari Club International annual convention this month.
These items, illegal under Nevada state law, were sold by vendors along with cruel big game hunting trips, weapons, and hunting equipment.
The Humane Society of the United States discovered these horrific pieces during an undercover investigation at the convention in Reno, Nevada. Photos and videos taken exposed the threatened species’ body parts for sale and have prompted an investigation by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
The Humane Society provided a list of items found at the convention:
- Paintings on elephant ears and skins;
- An elephant skin bench;
- Elephant leather boots, shoes, chaps, belts, and saddles;
- Bracelets made from elephant hair;
- An entire mammoth tusk;
- Mammoth tusk carvings;
- Stingray skin boots, shoes, belts and purses;
- Boxes of hippo teeth;
- A hippo skull table;
- Hippo leather belts and boots;
- Shark skin belts;
- A knife with a handle made of narwhal tusk.
Nevada State law makes it illegal for anyone to purchase, sell or possess with intent to sell any item that contains the body parts of elephant, lion, rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, hippopotamus and other imperiled wildlife. The evidence gathered by the Humane Society was submitted to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, which has now opened an investigation.
If found guilty, the persons responsible face up to $6,500 in civil penalties and could be charged with a gross misdemeanor for the first offense, a category E felony for a second offense, and a category D felony for a third offense. Safari Club has stated it is also conducting an internal investigation, but did not respond to the Associated Press’ question about how they control for legal trade at their convention. The club also refused a request of a reporter from the Associated Press to attend the conference.
Safari Club International is infamous for promoting big game hunting and trade in animal trophies. Though the organization’s code of ethics states a commitment to making a positive contribution to wildlife, they have been criticized for encouraging and awarding trophies for the killing of threatened species like elephants, rhinos, bighorn sheep, and leopards.
The Humane Society also discovered vendors selling canned hunting trips, an especially cruel and immoral “sport.” Safari Club previously stated that it would not support these captive-bred lion hunts. In canned hunting, lions are bred specifically to be murdered and taken as a trophy. These animals are often baited and trapped in a fenced area with no chance of escape.