10 Most Hunted Animals
From the majestic Lion, to the precious Minke whale, these are the 10 most hunted animals in the world.
Japanese Whaling/Minke Whales — This picture by Toru Hanai shows the crew of a Japanese fishing vessel butchering a Baird’s Beaked whale at Wada port, southeast of Tokyo in 2014. In march of that year, the International Court of Justice found Japan’s antarctic whale hunt was illegal under international law. Japanese whalers killed 30 minke whales after they were banned from doing so.
As of March 2016, Japan had killed 333 minke whales, 200 of them pregnant females during this year’s Antarctic whale hunt. What happened? Japan did comply with the court order in 2014 and briefly halted whaling efforts.
Revising its program to be more scientific, its quota of whales was decreased by a third. Japan rejects international order to cease its whaling activities on the basis that it’s vital to scientific research, which is exempted from the 1986 ban on commercial whaling. The expedition that returned to Tokyo in March 2016 from the Antarctic was part of a 12-year program expected to kill 4000 minke whales.
Cheetah — Racing at speeds up to 75 mph, this is the world’s fastest land animal. Even though Cheetahs view humans as prey and keep their distance, they’re still hunted down for their pelt, a highly prized trophy. The King Cheetah pattern in particular is especially sought after. It’s estimated that around 12,400 cheetahs live in the wild today. Unfortunately, some hunters see the cheetah’s natural shyness as a challenge. The animals prove attractive targets because the license to hunt them is cheaper than the license required to hunt lions or elephants.
Chinese Salamander — The world’s largest amphibian has seen its populations fall precipitously over the past three decades. Like the sea cucumber, the salamander is sought for its use in traditional medicines. Also decreasing their numbers were loss of habitat, and poaching for food. In China, thousands of salamanders are raised in captive breeding programs.
African Bush Elephant — In 1900, there were approximately 10 million of these animals. Today, their total number is estimated at around 300,000. Most of these elephants killed today are linked to illegal poaching. Ivory trade is banned internationally, but poachers can reap big profits from selling pairs of the elephants’ tusks. The feet are also highly valued, and are often hollowed out into trash containers. Elephants can be legally hunted in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania, provided the animal meets certain criteria: It must be a single elephant, either old, sick, or display rogue behavior that threatens humans. Or it must be unable to mate or serve no use in its herd
The king of the jungle has seen its numbers decrease significantly over the past 2 decades, with populations dropping up to 50% thanks largely to hunting, poaching and encroachment. Their numbers are estimated at around 30,000, although some estimates are lower at around 20,000.
Thanks to their majestic appearance, lions are always sought after as trophies, and are one of Africa’s Big Five game animals … along with the African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard and rhino. These big cats can be legally hunted in Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. These hunting safaris often take place on privately owned fenced grounds that comprise at least 20,000 acres.
Great White Shark
You wouldn’t think of one of the world’s most fearsome predators as being vulnerable, would you? Yet, the Great White, arguably the most famous shark of all is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list. At least that’s better than ‘endangered.’
Including the Great white, hundreds of shark species are hunted and slaughtered yearly by nations that depend on commercial fishing to make a substantial living. The shark’s fin is considered a delicacy and is a highly sought after item. As you might expect, it’s a key ingredient in shark-fin soup, although the fin is used to add texture, not flavor. In the Far East, the soup is consumed in mass quantities, placing a demand on shark populations.
Another factor impacting the Great White is the implementation of designated ‘kill zones’ approved by Australia. Due to numerous fatal shark attacks off the country’s west coast, two marine monitored areas were put in place to allow legal hunting or fishing of the animals. There’s a lot of controversy over the program … The government says the measures are necessary to protect human lives … Opponents see it as an excuse to kill shark and shrink their populations. Got any thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
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