Elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia will now be able to be brought into the United States after the Trump administration reversed an Obama administration ban.
The import of these trophies will be allowed for any elephants killed between January 21 and the rest of 2018.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) believed that hunting elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.” Whether or not hunting practices will help a species is the basis that officials go by when deciding what is and isn’t illegal to import.
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” an FWS spokesman said after Safari Club International made the announcement.
The decision to lift the ban was lauded by some hunting and gun rights groups, while receiving criticism from animal rights activists.
The African elephant is a threatened species according to both the United States and International authorities. Those for the lifting of the ban believe proper management of the species will ensure its survival, and those against it believe it will only make matters worse for the species.
“By lifting the import ban on elephant trophies in Zimbabwe and Zambia the Trump Administration underscored, once again, the importance of sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting to the survival and enhancement of game species in this country and worldwide,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rife Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, was much less enthused about the decision.
“Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” he said.
“What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it’s just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?”
This is sure to be a much debated topic as we move into 2018. Share your thoughts!