US Fish and Wildlife plans to allow imports of elephant trophies from Africa into the US – a move campaigners fear could damage global momentum on ending the ivory trade.

 In 2014, US big game hunters killing elephants in Zimbabwe were banned from bringing their trophies home, on the basis that the country had failed to show that it was taking elephant management seriously.

The decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reverse the ban, which will also apply to trophies from Zambia, follows moves in favour of the US hunting sector that are worrying some observers. Last week US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, a hunter himself and a keen supporter of hunting policies, established an International Wildlife Conservation Council It has a clear focus, the African Wildlife Foundation has pointed out, “on promoting the hunting industry, not conservation.

A huge outcry over the shooting of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer in 2015 led to calls for the dentist to be jailed, and trophy hunters are now regularly named and shamed by campaign groups. A petition to ban trophy hunting currently has 146,000 signatures.

The move from the US is seen by some as a step backwards from its strong stance against the illegal ivory trade; ivory poaching has led to a catastrophic drop in elephant populations around the world over the last 15 years.

“The US government has been a global leader in the fight to reverse the dangerous declines among Africa’s most iconic species such as elephant, rhino, and lion. It is unfortunate that the Trump administration is willing to sacrifice that leadership position,” said Jeff Chrisfield, African Wildlife Foundation’s chief operating officer. “Well-managed hunting can play a role in conservation. However, US policy on wildlife conservation should be informed by science, not by professional hunters and the gun lobby.”

“How someone could want to shoot such an intelligent, empathetic animal as an elephant is beyond me,” said Frank Pope, CEO of Save the Elephants. “But what is most concerning for elephants is that renewed imports of trophy ivory into the US might undermine the all-important ivory trade bans put in place by America and China.

 “China continues to show strong leadership and will close all ivory trade within her borders by the end of the year. Up to now American actions on elephants and ivory have been admirable. The fire of the ivory trade seems to be dying. The last thing we need is a sudden blast of oxygen from a misguided policy change.”

Responses to "US Fish and Wildlife Service to lift ban on importing elephant trophies from Africa"

  1. Unknown says:

    Trump and his policy makers strike again.. Let's hunt them and pull all their teeth!!

Write a comment