Killing Game: The Extinction Industry | New book on 5th Anniversary of slaying of Cecil the Lion

A new book – written by Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and released on the 5th anniversary of the killing of Cecil the Lion by American dentist Walter Palmer – produces startling new evidence showing trophy hunting is putting lions and African elephants on a “fast-track to extinction“.

“KILLING GAME: The Extinction Industry” reveals:

  1. The British government promised to ban lion trophies after the killing of Cecil, but then changed their mind. British hunters have killed another 50 lions since then.
  2. 6,000 lions have been killed by hunters since the shooting of Cecil in 2015. The current lion population is estimated to be just 13-20,000. There were 450,000 in the 1950s. US officials fear the lion could be extinct in the wild by 2050. This would be the world’s first big cat extinction since the sabre tooth tiger in prehistoric times.
  3. Lions’ heads and elephants’ tusks are getting dramatically smaller, according to internal hunting industry records which are revealed for the first time. These are indicators of ‘artificial selection’ which could significantly increase their chances of extinction.
  4. Of the ‘record-sized’ lions shot by Safari Club International members, just 6% were killed in the last decade. The 1980s and 1990s together account for 78%. The lions’ gene pool has shrunk by 15%. Killing just 5% of remaining adult males may push lions past the point of no return.
  5. Over the last 50 years, African elephant trophy tusks have ‘shrunk’ by as much as 25%. There are many more tusk-less elephants. More elephants are today shot than are born. There were 10 million elephants at the start of the 20th century. Today there are only 415,000.
  6. Huge numbers of rhino horns and body parts are currently entering China using CITES trophy hunting permits.
  7. Polar bears shot as ‘hunting trophies’ have had their penises and gall bladders removed for use in traditional Chinese ‘medicines’.
  8. Polar bear numbers today are just 23,000-26,000. Around 50,000 polar bears have been shot for skins and ‘sport’ since the 1960s.
  9. Trophy hunters have already helped drive several wildlife species to extinction. Leading members of Safari Club International shot some of the last Scimitar horned oryxes. The animal went extinct in the wild in the 1980s. They have recently started shooting Arabian Oryxes, which were hunted to extinction in the 1970s – animals bred in captivity are currently being shot in Abu Dhabi.
  10. Safari companies are currently selling captive tiger and jaguar hunts in South Africa.

The book is written by Eduardo Goncalves, author of “TROPHY HUNTERS EXPOSED: Inside the Big Game Industry” (which we reviewed here) which named Britain and the world’s top trophy hunters, some of whom have single-handedly killed thousands of ‘big game’ animals, and British companies involved in lion hunting:


Jane Goodall has written a foreword strongly condemning the trophy hunting industry’s role in driving species to the brink of extinction. She says:

“We are in the midst of the 6th great extinction of life on Planet Earth. Yet despite this some of the most endangered animals on the planet continue to be relentlessly persecuted by trophy hunters.

“Scientific studies have demonstrated the links between trophy hunting and population declines. They also point to how wildlife populations have recovered when local moratoria on trophy hunting have been implemented. Yet the exports of hunting trophies continue to increase.

“The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) inexplicably allows the most vulnerable animals, such as Appendix I species cheetahs and leopards, to be hunted for ‘sport’. This directly contradicts the CITES statement that Appendix I species cannot be traded in any form save in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

“’Killing Game’ provides compelling evidence that, for the good of conservation if nothing else, the days of the ‘great White Hunter’ should be brought to a close.”

In 2019, a promise to ban trophy imports was included in the Queen’s Speech and the Conservative election manifesto. In February, Boris Johnson told Parliament he would deliver a ban. However, in the past few weeks, Ministers have refused to give MPs a timeline for legislation.


The book’s author, Eduardo Goncalves, today called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘Get the ban done’:

“The government promised to ban lion trophies after the killing of Cecil. Then it changed its mind. As a result, British hunters shot another 50 ‘Cecils’. Now it’s saying again that it wants to ban hunting trophies. We cannot have any more dithering or delay. Nine out of 10 voters want this stopped. Wildlife is on the brink. Let’s get the ban done.

“There is a roaring trade in lion trophies. The furore around the killing of Cecil has done little to deter lion hunters. There is now a real prospect of lions becoming extinct in the wild.

“Trophy hunting is putting lions and elephants on a fast track to extinction. It has played a major role in the decline of many other species. It has already driven some animals to extinction. Yet trophy hunters are still allowed to shoot threatened wildlife, and are doing so in very large numbers.

“They are deliberately shooting the biggest animals to get into Safari Club International’s Record Book. This is ‘artificial selection’. African elephants’ tusks are getting shorter, and many adult elephants now have no tusks at all. This means more elephants will die as they won’t be able to access water from underneath river-beds during drought periods. African elephants may thus become the first big mammal to fall victim to climate change.”


Joanna Lumley is among those to have endorsed the book:

“Trophy hunting is wicked, and must be banned at once, everywhere, and that’s it. This powerful book confirms our darkest suspicions about this unforgivable trade. The worst thing we can do is turn a blind eye.”

Over a dozen conservation and animal welfare groups have written to Defra Minister George Eustice demanding that the government set out a timeline for implementing a ban. The coalition includes: Animal Aid, Animal Defenders International, Born Free, the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, Four Paws, Humane Society International, International Wildlife Bond, LionAid, OneKind, Protecting Africa’s Lions, the RSPCA, Voice4Lions, World Animal Protection, and the Zimbabwe Elephant Foundation.


The launch of the book has been covered in numeoous UK newspapers including The Independent, The Mirror, The Sun, and The Daily Star,

Royalties from the sale of “KILLING GAME: The Extinction Industry – will be donated to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting