It was unusually quiet outside Calgary’s annual safari and hunting expo on Sunday.
The event is usually synonymous with protesters.
In January 2016 roughly three dozen protesters showed up at the Africa Show calling for a ban on trophy hunting and bringing animal parts back to Canada.
One year later, in January 2017, their numbers had more than tripled. Upwards of 100 protesters rallied outside the event, once again calling for an end to trophy hunting in Africa.
But this year, vendors at the event say the atmosphere was much different.
And not just because the event’s been renamed from the Africa Show to the Calgary International Hunting Expo.
“This year is a lot slower than it used to be, [than] the other years,” said Stephen Marais, who has been selling safari hunting trips at the expos in Calgary for the last few years.
His thoughts were echoed by fellow vendor Jan Taljaard.
“It’s slower than what it was previously, I must admit,” he said.
Event organizers weren’t able to provider CBC News with exact attendance numbers for this year’s show.
Both vendors said wonder if it’s Alberta’s economic hard times that are leading to less interest in the expo. But, the lack of protesters might have something to do with it too, they suspect.
“A lot of people didn’t know about the show, and they say the protesting going, and just kind of to support the hunting industry they showed up at the show,” said Marias.
Taljaard said in the past protesters have brought the event into the public eye.
“A lot of people picked it up quickly,” he said.
But, when asked if he’d like to see protesters at future events, Taljaard wouldn’t say.
“Don’t put me on the spot,” he joked. “I’ll get shot for that.”
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