UK to ban trophy hunting souvenirs from slaughtered animals being brought into the country

Cecil the lion’s killing sparked what’s been called the biggest global response to a wildlife story ever.

Britain is set to ban the import of trophy hunting souvenirs as part of wide-ranging legislation amid strong public backlash to the bloodsport.

The move, announced by the Minister for International Wildlife Zac Goldsmith, could see the lives of hundreds of elephants, lions and other endangered species saved following decades of campaigning by animal rights groups.

The policy is said to have been supported by No 10; Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds has been campaigning against the issue for some time.

Under the new policy, people from the UK will no longer be able bring heads, skins, or other body parts of wild animals from Africa.

Carrie Symonds, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, gives a speech at Birdfair, an environmental awareness conference, at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve in Egleton, England, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. (Joe Giddens/Pool via AP)

Ms Symonds said in her first speech to the public as "First Lady" earlier this year: "A trophy is meant to be a prize. Something you’re awarded if you’ve achieved something of merit that requires great skill and talent.

"Trophy hunting is not that. It is the opposite of that. It is cruel, it is sick, it is cowardly and I will never, ever understand the motivation to do it.

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According to Metro Online, the UK was the destination of some 2,242 ‘trophies’ from killed animals – 15% of which were from endangered species in the past decade.

The move, announced today by the Minister for International Wildlife Zac Goldsmith, could see the lives of endangered species saved following decades of campaigning by animal rights groups. (AP)

These include including heads, feet, tails, tusks and horns. Among these were the remains of 80 lions, with 48 declared as “captive bred”, meaning they are likely to have come from canned hunts in South Africa.

As an animal rights campaigner, Mr Goldsmith's appointment by Boris Johnson was seen by those who oppose trophy hunting as significant.

The news comes amid another Conservative proposal to ban long journeys to slaughter houses for animals after Brexit.

The Conservatives will consult on recommendations that animals should be sent to the closest available abattoir, effectively banning most live exports.

The Tories say previous attempts to restrict the trade have been inhibited by EU single market rules.