08 October 2019

Animal Hero Awards 2019 Event Footage - Services to Wildlife Award: Eduardo Goncalves

Watch highlights from our fantastic Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards show held in London in September 2019. In partnership with Webbox Pet Food, People's ...

this year's animal issue that's perhaps

I I guess given the most universal revulsion is trophy hunting from polar bears being gunned down to order to within the last few weeks South Africa auctioning off the chance to shoot critically endangered black rhino which just completely blows my mind the carnage has hit the front pages including the mirror as part of a campaign to try and raise awareness of this appalling practice and power pressure on governments around the world to stamp it out and so much of it has been inspired by one man this is his story my name is Eduardo Gonsalves I'm the founder of the campaign to ban trophy hunting and we're trying to abolish this evil archaic barbaric sport if you can call it that and consign it to the history books forever one of the problems that we've got at the moment is that a huge number of wild animals are being shot every year so you look over the past decade something like 1.7 million animals have been killed just for sport this isn't to meet some kind of human need it is purely for entertainment and about a quarter a million of those animals were

endangered species so it's a huge impact is having on some of the world's rarest wildlife in the way that we're going we're going to lose some of these species is that the kind of legacy that we want to leave people we were seriously going to tell our kids or grandchildren look here's a picture of an elephant in the book I'm sorry I can't show you one in real life because they disappeared because we were stupid so I think it is something that is so so vital in what happens here in the UK and we need to be a leader he's such a fantastic campaigner is so passionate about what he does and and really I felt that it was when he pointed out to me just how important it was that it really hit me so hard and I knew that I had to help the really important thing is to remember that change can happen and the ordinary people can have an influence I mean the campaign to ban trophy hunting is only going a few months we're now on the verge of a ban on the hunting trophies coming into Britain okay now that is something that's happened in a very short period of time but the mirror it's been a great campaign to get involved with but the

ban on trophy hunting it's something that our readers are really passionate about they are very angry that this is still going on when trophy hunters start talking about trophy hunting being great for conservation you know my reaction is we'll hang on a second you have not decided to fly halfway around the world with your rifle to shoot a big animal because of conservation that isn't what motivated you at the moment you've got literally hundreds of factory farms in South Africa that are breeding lions and also tigers and cheetahs and jaguars and lepers so that those animals can be shot in an enclosed space just for sport I mean this is absolutely horrifying it's the most cowardly form of trophy hunting imaginable we're gonna win this we're definitely gonna win this and for all your campaigning Eduardo I think it's just amazing and I think you're a great person I think you're doing great work so congratulations on your award there have been some splendid victories this year the victory in societies which at last has put drops on the on the Society's list that is something but there are so many more victories still

to be won and I do very much hope that with people like Edward resolve is at the helm we will continue to make the progress we have made this year you have done so much despite great personal adversity and since establishing the campaign to bound trophy hunting you have lived and breathed for these incredible animals and are their loudest voice very well done Eduardo I think his most impressive quality is that he's very caring and also very tenacious he never gives up and he won't ever give up until true free hunting has been banned please raise the roof for the inspirational Eduardo Ponce Alvin [Applause] [Music] [Applause] there you are well I think Lorraine said it well they're tenacious is certainly the word can you explain for all of us what needs to be on sorry can happy in my house what needs to be done to make this barbaric trophy hunting a thing of the past we need to abolish it this is one of the great social moral evils of our time I see it up there with apartheid

with slavery and we have to get rid of it completely so we have to persuade obviously countries like Britain to stop importing the animals but we also have to change the law both here and abroad because at the moment we have international laws that allow trophy hunters to trade and to kill animals which are the most endangered species on earth it is absolute insanity and nuwell no wildlife is in real trouble right now you know we're talking about a million species potentially going extinct the last thing they need is for people to go around killing them just for entertainment for amusement in order to be able to brag about it and to stick something above the fireplace or to pose for a sick selfie you know every form of animal abuse cruelty persecution is wrong but there's something particularly perverse in my view about trophy hunting because it is just killing animals for pleasure there can be absolutely no justification on earth for that yeah I couldn't agree more and I'm sure everyone else here does too there have obviously been some some very high-profile headline-grabbing individual stories that have grabbed

people's attention but the scale of this is actually really important isn't it if we're talking about huge numbers we're also talking about species which are critically endangered they are listed in the IUCN Red List as endangered or critically endangered and of course what trophy hunters like to do they say they go for the old or the sick animal that's rubbish that's bogus what they do is they get the biggest the best the most beautiful animal and of course what they're doing is they're taking those valuable genes out of the species gene pool so you look at lions for example they've actually lost 15% of their gene pool in the last century because of persecution because the hunters are gone for the biggest and the best animals we are literally playing Jenga with nature with taking outs you know there's little building blocks of life the tower is wobbling and if we're not careful it's going to collapse and we're not going to be able to rebuild it it's kind of almost the exact opposite of evolution isn't it it's taking out the very best of the animals and when you're talking about lions they're if you take

out the leader of pride then you are going to completely change the dynamics of that group of animals totally and the same happens with elephants what we're now seeing for example is a growing trend of tuskless elephants and elephants tusks are now shorter today than they were a generation ago in other words there is a process a reverse evolution going on because animals are almost trying to avoid the persecution because of their you know their large traits and this is absolutely tragic we are in serious danger of actually losing the lion that would be the first big cat extinction in modern times since the saber-tooth Tiger disappeared and pre you know historic times well I'm sure that everyone who's out there right now is just dying to know having heard you speak so eloquently what can we do how can we get onside how can we help you're campaigning okay well you've seen in the newspapers and I actually spotted as I was walking up with a wonderful Allison Phillips before who's the editor of The Daily Mirror he's been giving us so much support and I really applaud the mirror for all the help and they've really shown leadership

as a judge as a newspaper on this and we are on the brink of securing a ban on imports into the UK well that's the first step right because we're going to take that we're going to go to the whole of Europe we're actually about to open our new European office and we've got together a bunch of lawyers we're actually going to take government's to court and we're going to test the slightest treaty as well because it's got this exemption that says you can't you can't shoot animals for you know for trade and fantastic us on but you can if your trophy hunter that is classed as a non-commercial activity trophy hunting is one of the biggest industries in the world it's a multi-million dollar industry so we're going to take them to court we're going to get to this band through we're gonna make this global we are going to abolish trophy hunting once and for all well that makes me want to take to my feet yeah and hearing Eduardo's words I have absolutely no doubt that that will be the case I'm delighted to say we have two acting legends to present your award they're both long-standing campaigners against animal cruelty please welcome

the queen of Coronation Street Born Free patron Helen worth and from Downton Abbey as well as everything from ever decreasing circles to unforgotten on ITV welfare campaigner and animal heroes and Buster is Peter Egan [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] I am so so honored to meet you I just can't tell you to have done what you've done throughout your life and now in your retirement for wild animals is just extraordinary and you've spoken so eloquently I don't think I need to add anything to that except to say that I have seen an elephant a close-quarters with its tusks ripped out of its head and I can tell you it's the most horrific thing I've ever seen the most horrific and the most pointless thing I've ever seen it's a battle that needs to be won and with people like you in our world I think you'll win that battle well down here duardo I I agree with everything that Helen has said and I can I just say isn't this the most

sensational evening to be here with so many like-minded people I it's also great to see all the darts being joined up animals cruelty veganism it makes such total sense I'm very proud to be a vegan the only thing I the only thing I'm sad about was it took me so long to get there I first met Eduardo when he was an excellent CEO of the league against cruel sports and he did a sensational job and sadly had to resign that position a couple of years ago because of a bad health period but I think I'm writing a saying that it was due to his work as CEO that proved the links between dog fighting and organized crime that led Michael Gove to increase the sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years that is right isn't it of course some I think we'd all agree that five years isn't long enough but it's a start on my way as I was on my way coming here tonight I left home I was watching the news and up came an advert from a international charity about elephants and it's talks about losing our grape friends and how elephants are in danger of becoming extinct and this international charity

was asking for donations to prevent that from happening and that great charity is being exposed by Eduardo as being a charity that supports trophy hunting and until those great charities actually join up their own dots they're going to work against the great campaign that Eduardo has started which today are you gov poll announced that 85% of the UK are trophy hunting and want it banned I think it's probably more than that but it's as a result of the work of this great man you do would deserve this award and I'm so proud to call you a friend well done thank you so much pizza Helen from bottom our hearts thank you Eduardo