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Ban on trophy hunting imports from endangered animals to be introduced in UK

Importing hunting trophies from endangered animals is set to be banned under long-awaited plans announced by the government.

The proposed law would stop big game hunters bringing back body parts from 7,000 species, including rhinos, lions, elephants and polar bears.

It is set to apply to both wild animals and those bred specifically for trophy hunting, and breaking the law could mean up to five years in jail.

The government pledged to bring in the ban two years ago and campaigners say about 300 trophies have been imported since then.

Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said the proposed law “looks to be in pretty good shape”.

“But it has been two years since it was originally announced in the Queen’s Speech, and many animals have been cruelly and needlessly killed in that time,” he said.

“There is sometimes a misperception that trophy hunting is what Americans do,” Mr Goncalves added.

“The reality is that British trophy hunters are among the world’s most notorious elephant hunters.”

He said he had been told the bill would could come to parliament next “spring or summer”, but that potentially another 100 animals could be killed by then.

Plans for the law began after an outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion by a US dentist in 2015.

Dr Mark Jones, from animal charity Born Free, also stressed the need not to delay.

“This announcement is long overdue, and we urge the government to introduce and implement the legislation as quickly as possible,” he said.

The bill will be among the toughest in the world, according to Environment Secretary George Eustice. He said it would include near-threatened and threatened species, as well as endangered ones.

“We will be leading the way in protecting endangered animals and helping to strengthen and support long-term conservation,” said Mr Eustice.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called a trophy hunting a “disgusting trade” and his father has also campaigned for a ban.

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