A picture of a hunter grinning broadly with a dead snow leopard slung over his shoulders has prompted a now-viral online petition calling for him to be “brought to justice.”
American trophy hunter Hossein Golabchi, nicknamed “Soudy,” is seen in a photo that has been circulating on social media, posing with the dead endangered animal with two shots in its hind leg. Golabchi, who is originally from Iran, is believed to have killed the animal in central Asia.
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The online petition has drawn over 104,000 supporters since it was posted last week – only 6,000 away from its goal of 110,000 signatures.
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The Care2 petition was launched by Amanda W. of TERA International (Tiger Exotic Animal Ranger Awareness), an organization focusing on the preservation of exotic animals. Amanda started the petition on International Snow Leopard Day 2017 in hopes that “by International Snow Leopard Day 2018 [Golabchi] is brought to justice,” the petition says.
Amanda points out in the petition that, “There's nowhere in the entire Western Hemisphere (and the rest of the world) that allows anyone to go into Central Asia to 'trophy hunt' a snow leopard.”
"It is illegal to own their body parts or their beautiful fur and importing their remains into the United States is a federal offence,” the petition continues.
Golabchi has reportedly killed hundreds of animals across six continents. He also authored a book, “Obsessed!” in 2008, which details his snow leopard “single-minded obsession that took [him] more than four decades to fulfill.”
Amanda is aiming to make “an example of” the prolific rare cat trophy hunter and author for fear that “these magnificent cats will vanish forever," the petition reads.
The snow leopard has been on the endangered species list since 1972 because of over poaching. Only between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards are thought to be left in the wild, with the population decreasing. About 600 to 700 of the animals are in zoos around the world, according to Defenders of Wildlife statistics.
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The supporters mirror Amanda’s feelings, with one commenting, “He needs to be the example and needs to be in prison.”
However, in an update to the petition Amanda wrote that she has “been contacted with concerns that the hunt may have happened too long ago to be prosecutable.” The hunt reportedly happened sometime in the early 2000s or 1990s.
Though she refutes this concern saying, “to our knowledge there is no statute of limitations on international wildlife crime.”