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Endangered Species

Volume 536: debated on Thursday 24 November 2011

No native endangered species can be legally hunted in England. Although we cannot intervene directly in legal hunts of endangered species allowed by foreign Governments, the UK pushes for international co-operation through the convention on international trade in endangered species—CITES—in order to ensure that any trade in endangered species is sustainable. The UK also strongly supports the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling.

Will the Minister therefore join me in condemning the trophy hunting of endangered and vulnerable species such as that carried out by the millionaire banker and Tory donor, Sir David Scholey, who was pictured in The Sun recently, posing by the bloody corpse of a lion under the headline “Who’s the bigger beast?”? Does the Minister condemn that?

We recently had a debate in Westminster Hall about lion trophies and importation to the UK. There are certain areas of Africa where lion populations give real cause for concern, and we are working through colleagues in CITES to ensure that the concerns in that debate and throughout the House are raised. Yes, I will condemn any hunting of an endangered species, for whatever reason, if it puts that species at risk, and this Government have responsibility for—

Does the Minister not agree that one of the best ways to prevent the illegal hunting of endangered species overseas is ever tougher controls on the illegal import of bush meat to the UK? What is he going to do to take that forward?

We are very concerned about bush meat and importation, and that is why we have protected funding for the work taking place at ports and airports, and for the expertise that we have, on the matter. There is also a very good case, which we have made in Britain, for being much stronger on the export or import of rhino horn which, as we know, is putting that species at very severe risk of extinction.