Hunter offering 'plentiful' endangered animals to kill in South Africa

Brit who runs a big game trophy hunting in South Africa is offering deals to shoot endangered animals that he insists have become ‘plentiful’ during Covid pandemic

  • Carl Knight, 46, from Epsom, Surrey, runs Take Aim Safaris in Johannesburg
  • In an email newsletter last week he offered trophy elephants and hippos to shoot
  • Offer, sent to 3,000 clients across the globe, encouraged travel to South Africa 
  • In UK travel for leisure is banned, with South African Covid variant posing threat

A British trophy-hunting boss has encouraged clients to travel to South Africa during the Covid-19 crisis to shoot endangered animals he says are ‘plentiful’.  

Carl Knight, 46, from Epsom, Surrey, who runs Take Aim Safaris in Johannesburg and Zimbabwe, sent out an email newsletter to 3,000 clients across the globe encouraging them to travel to take part in the blood sport, reports Sunday People.

In the email, sent last weekend and seen by the Sunday People, Mr Knight wrote: ‘Big elephant and trophy buffalo + hippo, croc are plentiful. The areas are well rested, the animal movement is fantastic.

‘I have quota available on the big cats: leopard and lion plus elephant bulls at unbeatable prices.’

Carl Knight, 46, from Epsom, Surrey, (right) who runs Take Aim Safaris in Johannesburg and Zimbabwe, pictured with a dead leopard

Despite Mr Knight’s claims the animals are ‘plentiful’ after being ‘rested’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, there are currently an estimated 415,000 African Elephants in the wild and the species is at risk of extinction.

There are only 20,000 African Lions left in the wild, with numbers plummeting by over 40 per cent in the last three generations due to hunting, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. 

The email also contained photographs of hunters proudly posing with their kills. 

Clients of the hunting firm are charged £10,000 to slay an elephant, and £14,500 to slaughter a lion, plus hunting fees, reports Sunday People. 

Mr Knight pictured with his clients after shooting an elephant. Despite Mr Knight’s claims the animals are ‘plentiful’ there are currently 415,000 African Elephants in the wild

Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting, tweeted: ‘Carl Knight is selling lucrative hunts in endangered animals to make money for himself and put a sick smile on the face of those who enjoy killing animals just for fun.’ 

On his website Mr Knight, who set up his ‘big game’ firm in 2008, writes: ‘I am a British National that lives in Johannesburg South Africa and have done so almost all my life. I have hunted South Africa and Zimbabwe extensively over the last 38 years as I write this in July 2019 I am 45 years of age.

Mr Knight set up his ‘big game’ firm in 2008 (pictured with a slaughtered elephant)

‘Take Aim Safaris is a safari industry market leader with a track record that spans over 11 years of full time work in the hunting industry having booked and/or conducted over 400 big game hunts to date.’  

Mr Knight told the MailOnline: ‘I am a licensed professional hunter, this is my work.

‘This is Africa, I grew up here, this is what I know, hunting is my qualification.’ 

He added: ‘In all my life I have only ever hunted with one British client. Sorry that you don’t like my work.

‘We eat what we hunt, we love and conserve animals. I have broken no laws.’

It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. Direct travel from South Africa to the UK is banned and only British and Irish citizens are permitted entry into the UK via indirect routes from South Africa – they must then isolate for ten days.

Labour MP Rupa Huq told the publication: ‘This is the height of irresponsibility during a pandemic and when a South African variant is being surge tested. It’s wrong on so many levels.’ 

The news of Mr Knight’s animal exploits comes five years after the killing of Cecil the lion by US dentist Walter Palmer in Zimbabwe in 2015 which sparked public backlash to the wild practice, with the UK government announcing its plans to ban the import of hunting souvenirs in September 2019. A ban is not yet in place. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated last year: ‘We are reviewing our current controls on the import and export of hunting trophies to understand whether further action is required to address these concerns.’

MailOnline has contacted Carl Knight for comment.   

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