In his appeal, which was issued March 29, 2002, the winner
of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize said, "I am deeply saddened
to learn that Mongolia encourages trophy hunting of rare
and endangered species for tourism. We all know that taking
others life in general is against Buddhist principles . . . It is
because of this that Tibet as a Buddhist country in the past
had banned hunting of animals of any form." He concluded,
"I therefore appeal to all concerned in Mongolia not to
indulge in trophy hunting of rare and endangered species. I
make this appeal as a Buddhist because of our respect and
compassion for all living beings."
An estimated 95% of Mongolia's population of 2.5 million are
practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama's appeal
was in response to a request from Norm Phelps, Spiritual
Outreach Director of The Fund for Animals.
To promote tourism, Mongolia encourages the trophy
hunting of rare and endangered species such as the argali,
the world's largest wild sheep, whose spectacular spiral
horns make them prime targets for hunters. The Fund for
Animals, along with other groups and two Mongolian
scientists, filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in April 2001 to prevent the import of sport hunted
argali trophies, and to list the argali population as
endangered throughout its entire range in Asia. That suit is
Noting that "The Dalai Lama is among the most respected
spiritual leaders in the world," Michael Markarian, Executive
Vice President of The Fund for Animals, said that, "His
unequivocal appeal for an end to the cruel and ecologically
dangerous practice of trophy hunting is an inspiring example
of the Dalai Lama's continuing leadership in the international
campaign to save the vanishing wildlife of Central Asia."
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