Shocking Undercover Investigation Exposes Auction House Of Horrors Where Over 550 Hunting Trophies Are Sold To The Highest Bidder

Photos By HSUS/HSI

A shocking undercover investigation recently conducted in Iowa by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI) found what can only be described as a massive graveyard of the trophy hunting industry.

A four-day event where thousands of animals, including at least 557 hunting “trophies” of mammals no longer wanted by the people who killed them, were sold to the highest bidders.

Shelves and bins were packed with discarded so-called “trophies,” including threatened and endangered species such as elephants and polar bears. There were also other imperiled foreign species including giraffes and hippos, and countless other “trophies” of American wildlife such as grizzly bears, black bears, and mountain lions.

Shockingly, auction items also included grotesque home décor such as tables and lamps made from giraffe legs and feet, tables made from African elephant feet, and a juvenile giraffe taxidermy.

At least 50 rugs that were made from animals including black bears, grizzly bears, zebras, wolves, and mountain lions were at the auction. Horrifically, the investigator also noticed piles of giraffe leg bones, sets of hippo teeth, and a dusty box labeled elephant ears and skin.”

Some of the other appalling trophies at the auction included:

  • Two giraffe skulls and three full giraffe bodies (listed as vulnerable species by the IUCN), including a baby giraffe promoted as “the perfect size that can go in about any room in the house,” sold for $6,200.

  • A hippo skull and two hippos (listed as vulnerable by the IUCN), shoulder mounts, including their heads and necks, and two sets of hippo teeth.

  • Baby zebra taxidermy, six zebra skins and rugs, including one from a calf, and several zebra heads for “tabletop display.”

  • Six monkeys, including a stuffed vervet holding a beer bottle.

  • Two baby and one adult baboons.

  • 49 bears, including five cubs and a mother-cub pair.

  • 18 rugs made from grizzly bears or black bears.

  • Bear claws promoted as “great for jewelry or crafts.”

  • Seven bobcats, including two rugs.

  • Four wolves, including two rugs.

  • Eight mountain lions, including two rugs.

Shockingly, a polar bear with a ringed seal was sold for $26,000, the highest price of the trophies sold at the auction.

“It is deeply saddening to witness this final stage of the trophy hunting industry where these majestic species are relegated to an auction house floor instead of fulfilling their role in their respective populations and ecosystems,” said Jeffrey Flocken, President of Humane Society International, in a statement. “This massive display of animal death is a devastating snapshot of what it looks like when species are being pushed to the brink of extinction.”

The undercover investigator learned that most of the trophies are the result of trophy hunters tiring of their collections, downsizing or dying and leaving these items to family members who do not want them. One auction staffer said, “Realtors tell homeowners to get rid of those dead critters,” when staging their houses for sale.

“The United States is the world’s number one importer of hunting trophies and should move swiftly to cast off that gruesome distinction,” stated Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Passage of the ProTECT Act in Congress is the most decisive pathway, as it would prohibit trophies of any species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act from importation into the United States. The Fish and Wildlife Service should immediately revise its trophy import regulations to support the same conservation goal of ending such imports. No one’s desire for a rec room wall mount, or an elephant foot side table warrants such carnage and waste of animal life.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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