12/17/2015 11:52 EST | Updated 12/17/2015 11:59 EST

Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Upset Saskatoon Hotel Cancelled Hunting Event

Shutterstock / Tom Reichner

SASKATOON — The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation has waded into a debate over an African Hunting Expo that has been pulled from the calendar of a Saskatoon hotel.

The expo by African Events Canada and African Hunting Gazette was to be held next month at the Saskatoon Inn and Conference Centre but the hotel has confirmed the event has been cancelled, though it has not said why.

Lana Stark, who started an online petition against the event, says it is unethical for hunters to target animals such as rhinos, lions, elephants, giraffes and hippos.

On Wednesday, the SWF said it would had planned to hold a national conference at the Saskatoon Inn in a few years but will look for another venue out of support for the hunting expo.

Executive director Darrell Crabbe says the hotel is painting all hunters with the same brush.

He says not all hunting in Africa, in Canada or anywhere is bad, adding that licence fees from hunters and anglers help fund Saskatchewan animal conservation and research efforts.

A Holiday Inn in Toronto last week cancelled its participation in a similar event after an animal justice lawyer organized an online petition.

Licence fees from hunters and anglers help fund Saskatchewan animal conservation and research efforts.

The killing of Cecil the lion by a U.S. big-game hunter in Zimbabwe last summer drew international condemnation and sparked outrage among animal conservationists and politicians.

"Trophy hunters say they are conservationists helping local communities. I don't think you are if you pay money to shoot an animal, and there must be less destructive ways to save a species,'' says Stark.

"If you're putting a price tag on their heads, make it about eco-tourism. Have safaris, tours and photography. People want to see these majestic animals.''

Crabbe says it is sad that negative stories about trophy hunting and poachers has painted all hunting as being a bad practice.

Crabbe invites all hunters and anglers in the province to follow SWF's lead and no longer support the Saskatoon Inn.


Also on HuffPost:

Cecil the Lion on the Empire State Building