Foreigners banned from ibex trophy hunting

Some 6,000 of Switzerland's 17,000 Alpine ibex live in canton Valais. © Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Local authorities in southern Switzerland are ending the controversial practice of letting rich foreigners kill Alpine ibex for their heads and horns.

This content was published on August 29, 2020 - 12:20
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Starting in 2021, canton Valais will stop issuing day permits for foreign hunters to shoot ibex trophies. Currently, Valais earns about CHF650,000 ($719,000) per year selling permits and charging additional fees based on horn length. The longest horns, measuring about 110 centimetres, yield CHF20,000.

A report on Swiss public television, RTS, sparked an outcry over the practice last year – as well as a petition calling for a ban; over 70,000 people signed it. The trophy hunters come from as far away as the United States and South America.

As of next year, hunting to regulate the ibex population will be done only by hunters living in Valais or those with a local hunting licence, announced the authorities on Friday. The canton sets an annual quota for the number of animals to be culled; this year it’s 544, maximum.

Male and female animals of all ages are included on the shooting plan, but trophy hunters prefer males aged 11 and up. For 2020, the Valais authorities have issued 45 day permits to hunt such specimens – 25 of them to wealthy foreign hunters.

Shot to Swiss extinction by the end of the 19th century, today there are about 17,000 Alpine ibex in Switzerland thanks to reintroduction efforts.


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