The controversial sport of big game hunting is becoming popular among Chinese tycoons, with the country’s rich joining hunting expeditions in Africa and Canada in increasing numbers. At least 100 Chinese tycoons have hunted overseas, with the number increasing and the range of hunting expanding as well, according to a report from Guangzhou Daily.
The tycoons are almost businessmen who enjoy outdoor sports, aged between 40 to 50.
W. Scott Lupien, an American lives in China, founded I Love Hunting Club in Beijing. He led the first hunting group to South Africa in 2009, and hunting became his career since then. At that time he said the opportunity to develop the overseas hunting industry was open to China. Lupien claims to be the first one to introduce the sport to China, and many of his hunting photos and videos are posted on his website.
In Lupien’s office, he displays various kinds of specimens, including a head of gazelle and zebra feather hunted by himself. An experienced hunter, the American began to hunt in 1982, when he was 14. His club is the most professional international hunting consultancy in China, with many travel agencies and hunting consultancies sending their clients to foreign countries through Lupien.
Although this group is expanding, it is still a small minority, composed of multiple hunters who have hunted overseas several times.
Full service provided
On the website of Lupien’s club are the details and prices of hunting trips, ranging from about 60,000 yuan to as high as 500,000. Their service covers five continents, and the prices covers the cost of whole journey, including luxury facilities, as well as having translators and local guides included on expeditions.
Distinct from normal travel groups, the most substantial cost of the trip is the fee attached to various prey. For example, the most expensive journey is a Canadian expedition which includes the opportunity to hunt male polar bears.
Lupien says there are two kinds of clients, with one type being hunting enthusiast and the other being tycoons who have never hunted. Lupien’s clients covers some executives of Fortune Global 500 as well as government officials.
Lupien has also signed contract with more than 10 hunting grounds in South Africa, and says the hunting licenses are restricted. “The most protected animals require advance booking.”, Lupien says. The price for hunting is astonishing, with a male lion costing $50 thousand US dollars, while a female one costs a mere $15 dollars. Rhino is more expensive, and costs over $100 thousand dollars.
Hunting animals preserves nature?
Though hunting is criticized by environmental organizations, Lupien defines hunting as “hunters and the government jointly protecting animals .” Lupien says, “When people see foreigners spending money to buy prey, the owners of hunting grounds don’t raise cows any more, and they’re willing to provide habitat for lions, which means the government earns money too.”
However, Feng Yongfeng, a researcher from an NGO says, “Chinese people don’t have ability to hunt, they cannot learn how to protect nature through hunting neither. Although a group of people have gone abroad and learn about nature, most of them still seek novelty and covet blood after return. It is impossible to gain benefits for the environment.”
Recent news about a scientific study demonstrating that the rich are lacking in ethics seems quite apt when it comes to rich Chinese tourists adding killing to their list of holiday activities.