Celebrity nature lover Bill Oddie and the district's MP have spoken out against trophy hunting.

As newly released figures show nearly 400 hunting trophies from endangered animals and almost one of elephant tusks were imported into the UK in recent years, Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has called on the government to ban the trade.

Her intervention comes amidst growing concern about the practice, with photos of big game hunters and their kills attracting widespread condemnation online.

An image of television presenter Larysa Switlyk with a gunned down sheep and goat went viral in October, with the American hunter attracting almost as much ire as dentist Watler Palmer, who infamously killed Cecil the Lion.

Dame Eleanor said: "The most popular trophies for British hunters include elephants, lions, hippopotamuses, leopards and rhinoceroses.

"Trophy hunting is having a direct impact on the conservation status of some of the world’s most endangered wildlife.

"Britain is a nation of animal lovers. The vast majority of constituents regard trophy hunting to be cruel, archaic and immoral.

"The UK should show global leadership in helping to stop trophy hunting.

"A ban on trophy imports is an important step to bringing trophy hunting to an end."

Conservationist and broadcaster Bill Oddie has backed the MP’s move, saying trophy hunting was putting pressure on vulnerable wildlife.

He said: “Elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs and rhinos are all fighting for their lives.

"We could see all of them go extinct within a generation.

"When you've got a scattered, dwindling population, the loss of a handful of animals doesn't just cause a ripple effect - it can be like a tsunami wave.

“Trophy hunting has always been senseless cruelty.

"Letting people kill them because they think it's entertaining is just insane, especially when you’re talking about wildlife with such a vulnerable status."