US President Donald Trump is allowing legally hunted elephant trophies to be imported into America from two African countries.
Putting forward the argument that this will help boost conservation efforts, Donald Trump has reversed the previous ruling made by former president Barack Obama that banned the remains of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe from entering the US.
Under the US Endangered Species Act, African elephants are listed as ‘threatened’.
Due to poaching population figures have declined by a massive 111,000 in the last decade.
A provision in the Endangered Species Act means the government is able to give permits to those wanting to import trophies if they can provide evidence hunting helps with conservation efforts for the species in question.
An official from the US Fish and Wildlife Service told ABC News they had new information from officials in both Zambia and Zimbabwe that has enabled the reversal of the ban.
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.
Reprehensible behaviour by the Trump Admin. 100 elephants a day are already killed. This will lead to more poaching. https://t.co/rld67eM018
— The Elephant Project (@theelephantproj) November 16, 2017
Understandably this move is being met with much anger from several animal rights groups.
Wayne Parcell, the president of The Humane Society of the United States, wrote a blog post criticising the reversal of the ban which he called jarring.
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 US government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them.
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?
The anti-colonial revolution that Mugabe helped lead in 1980 is a distant memory, and a new form of colonialism has taken effect in the bowels of the Zimbabwean government – with rich, white trophy hunters allowed, for a fee, to plunder wildlife for personal benefit.
It’s time for the era of the trophy killing of Africa’s most majestic and endangered animals to come to a final close, and the United States should not be retreating from that commitment.
Although the government has not yet officially announced this change in policy, at a wildlife forum in South Africa earlier this week the reversal decision was revealed.
Due to be made on Friday, the official announcement will be posted in the Federal Register alongside new information which brought about the change.
The hunting of elephants has been banned in Zambia several times over the past few years due to declining numbers.
It was recently re-established in 2015 when a survey found that the population was larger than previously thought in certain areas.
Fees paid by hunters are reportedly reinvested to fund conservation efforts.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.