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These majestic beasts are slain for 'sport' BRITS IN SLAUGHTER OF THREATENED ZEBRAS.

Byline: Nada Farhoud ENVIRONMENT EDITOR EXCLUSIVE

POSING up for sickening photos, here are the Brits who slay zebras for cheap thrills on South African safari holidays.

One of the tour operators, Andy Denson, posted his vile snap as a souvenir of a hunt on his Facebook page.

Thrill-seeker Pete Livesey smiles beside his bleeding "trophy" in another picture that will horrify animal lovers.

On the website of the popular Huntershill Safaris, Livesey says of his experience of killing an animal: "Never had so much fun with my pants on."

Six other British tourists, including a woman, also grin after gunning down zebras for trophies on the website of another company called Umlilo Safaris.

The zebra is classified as vulnerable on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species.

Yet the creatures are one of the most popular trophies for UK hunters - with hundreds of body parts hauled back here in recent years.

They are hunted on the South African plains, where it is not illegal.

In the UK a ban on the import of sick souvenirs from trophy-hunters such as Denson and Livesey is now being urgently considered by government ministers.

Zac Goldsmith, animal welfare minister, told the Sunday People this week: "I look at the photos and it turns my stomach."

Slaughter

Mr Goldsmith pledged a consultation on stopping the imports of trophy hunt parts with view to stopping this vile trade.

Hunter Denson is one of the country's top taxidermists - turning murdered animals into ghoulish figures to be hung on walls. He is also cashing in by helping to set up trips to slaughter big game, claiming it is for conservation.

The 55-year-old from Padiham, Lancs, is listed as the UK agent for Thaba Thala Safaris - popular with hunters from the UK.

Wealthy Brits have bragged about their cruel exploits during the trips, which start at PS4,340 for seven days.

Hunters can add animals to kill from a list of 44 species, including PS500 to add a zebra and PS900 taxidermy fees.

But Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting branded the safaris as evil.

He said: "So many of Africa's greatest wild animals are already suffering thanks to the vile trophy hunting industry.

"Now zebras have joined the list. In April last year zebras were officially listed as vulnerable. The Grevy's zebra species is listed as endangered. What is it going to take to stop these killers from wiping out our wildlife completely? "Unbelievably, there are hardly any legal restrictions on shooting zebras for fun." Denson, who has been a taxidermist for 25 years, boasts how he has slaughtered "every species in the eastern Cape" of South Africa and how he "love hunting but love hunting alongside my son even more".

On his website he adds: "I was born and bred in the countryside and feel I understand country life and the wildlife that lives within it.

"For the past 25 years I've provided a full taxidermy service mounting birds, mammals and specialising in deer, African and exotic shoulder and pedestal mounts from my studio in Padiham, Lancashire. In the early 1980s my family relocated to the eastern cape of South Africa where they have lived ever since.

"My auntie was a manager on one of the biggest privately owned game reserves in South Africa and for the past 20 years I have spent most of my time studying and hunting there.

"I have been glad to see my son follow in my footsteps to become a very well respected professional hunter and fisherman taking clients out to fulfil their African dreams." Mr Goncalves said: "No wonder our wildlife is in the terrible situation that it's in. There needs to be an immediate moratorium on the sport-hunting of all threatened animals.

"The Government should ban imports of hunting trophies and call on other countries to join it. It's the only way to end this evil trade."

Latest estimates put the remaining population of zebras at 34,979 - less than one-tenth the number of African elephants.

And the zebra's popularity among British trophy hunters is making the picture worse, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Between 1998-2007 UK hunters brought in 111 zebra trophies. In the following decade, 2008-2017, the number jumped to 159 zebra trophies, up 43 per cent.

Zebra are legal to hunt in South Africa and hunt organisers charge cheaper fees for them.

By contrast it costs tens of thousands of pounds to hunt lions and elephants.

Another firm attracting Brits is Huntershill in South Africa. Pete Livesey is pictured on the Huntershill site next to a slaughtered zebra with his boast about how much fun he is having with his pants on.

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has said: "Zebras are being killed in their hundreds for their skins and to turn into rugs. This is a crime against nature. It's about time it was a crime in law too. Our government needs to ban hunters from bringing home these stomach-churning souvenirs of dead animals."

Actor and animal activist Peter Egan said: "These docile, defenceless creatures are seen as nothing more than just another target by despicable trophy hunters. People will be horrified at the scale of the slaughter, and the fact that so many British trophy hunters are callously shooting them just for entertainment.

It is utterly sick and monstrous."

This week Andy Denson told us: "I promote my deep-sea fishing business in South Africa through Thaba Thala Safaris.

"I do not hunt endangered animals and never will."

He has since deleted his website and removed all hunting images from his Facebook page.

Thaba Thala, Umilio and Huntershill Safaris did not comment.

nada.farhoud@people.co.uk

Voice of the Sunday People: Page 14

We need to take stand against stomach-churning souvenirs

CAPTION(S):

SICKENING: Popular safari websites

CLAMPDOWN: Welfare minister Zac Goldsmith

PROUD: A British woman with shot animal

TRIUMPH: Another Brit and a targeted zebra
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Nada Farhoud ENVIRONMENT EDITOR EXCLUSIVE
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 29, 2019
Words:995
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