Around this time last year, the League was contacted by The Sun newspaper about an article they were writing about trophy hunting in Africa. I remember reading the article and the image on the page jumping out at me - a dead giraffe being posed with by a family holding their guns. Why was this beautiful animal shot? There is no valid reason apart from in my eyes, their sadistic pleasure and bloodlust!
The image disturbed me for several reasons; the fact that people were willing to pay money to kill a beautiful animal; to then pose with it dead, and take parts of its corpse home as a trophy; the fact that the children in the family will grow up thinking this behaviour is normal, and lastly the fact that in countries such as Zambia, animals which I have and would again pay too see in the wild, are continually being used as nothing more than commodities to generate income from blood sport enthusiasts willing to pay.
Giraffe are not the only African animals coveted by trophy hunters. Unfortunately lions and leopards are also popular targets falling into the so-called "Big 5" group also consisting of elephants, rhino and Cape buffalo.
This month, however there is good news from Zambia, with the announcement that the country has banned the hunting of lions and other endangered wild cats, such as leopards, because of the rapid decline in their numbers.
Thought to be no more than about 4,500 lions left in Zambia, the country’s tourism minister, Sylvia Masebo said that there was more value in game-viewing tourism than blood sport, which brought in just $3m (£1.9m) last year, too little to merit the continued depletion of wildlife.
"Tourists come to Zambia to see the lion and if we lose the lion we will be killing our tourism industry," she told Reuters.
Whilst the reasoning is a little confused, the League welcomes these measures as a step in the right direction, as the country starts to realise that the majority of people want the opportunity to see these magnificent animals in the wild not kill them!
Trophy hunting and poaching will continue to remain big threats to wildlife across the globe until more is done. Without change we will unfortunately witness many animal species being left extinct or being brought to the very brink of extinction. LionAid estimates the big cat to be extinct in 25 African countries and virtually extinct in ten.
Zambia like many other African countries continues to face corruption when dealing with the issue of hunting. At the start of the year, Zambia suspended 19 hunting concessions and fired the top management at the Zambia Wildlife Authority because of corruption allegations and a lack of transparency.
Zambia's announcement follows that of neighbouring Botswana, which will ban sport hunting from 2014, as it also works to promote itself as a big game viewing destination. Wildlife-rich Kenya halted trophy and sport hunting decades ago.
An Early Day Motion (EDM) has now been tabled in support of Zambia's decision to ban hunting of lions and leopards, so please ask your MP to also show their support by signing their name to the EDM. A link to the EDM can be found here http://bit.ly/VlmbBr.
Lastly before going away on holiday, please be sure to visit Right Tourism and do your research to ensure you book your travels with responsible and humane organisations. The website is also great for lots of travel Do's and Don'ts specific to your destination.