Video: South African President Exposed as Knee-Deep in Trophy Hunting Profits

PETA Calls On UPS to Stop Shipping Thrill-Kill Trophies

For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2020

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – PETA has uncovered South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hidden connections to and investments in the trophy hunting industry. The revelations come after the group’s release of video footage of an American tourist who ineptly shoots and kills a young elephant on a nature reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park.

PETA’s recordings of Ramaphosa’s managers reveal that he is quietly developing and expanding a trophy hunting property called Diepdrift—stocking it with animals from his personal wildlife-breeding operation, Phala Phala—and that he owns a 50% stake in Tsala Hunting Safaris. The group recorded conversations in which Ramaphosa’s staff members admit that he shares equally in the profits from all hunts conducted through Tsala and spoke of the importance of concealing his involvement. One said, “We try to keep the president’s name actually out of the hunting thing …. So [Ramaphosa] wanna spare himself this, how can I say, bad publicity and all of that. So … we gotta do it under a different name brand, where none of my name or his name are connected to it.”

“President Ramaphosa is lining his pockets through the cold-blooded murder of gentle, curious elephants and other wildlife, who deserve protection, not exploitation,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “The majority of South Africans will not applaud their president for auctioning off the country’s wildlife to overseas trophy hunters for personal profit.”

PETA’s video shows an elephant peacefully wandering out of the bush as an American trophy hunter and his guides lie in wait. The American then shoots the elephant in the head and watches as he falls to his knees. The suffering animal looks at the shooting party as the man—who paid $30,000 to kill him—is given instructions from his guides on how to shoot more accurately. He finally shoots him four more times, causing him to rumble in distress or to warn others.

The shooter later paid nearly $20,000 to have the elephant’s body parts preserved for shipment to the United States, prompting PETA to renew its call for UPS to enact a ban on transporting wildlife trophies. More than 40 airlines have banned the transport of wildlife trophies since 2015. UPS has already banned the transport of shark fins, certain live animals, and ivory—but it is still enabling the trophy hunting industry.

Broadcast-quality video footage is available here, and photos are available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist view that animals are nothing more than trophies or commodities. For more information, visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind