The US has moved further forward to allow imports of big-game trophies, including elephant tusks and lion hides, from certain African countries.
In November, suggesting the decision would help boost conservation efforts, Trump reversed the previous ruling made by former president Barack Obama, banning the remains of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe from entering the US.
Last week, however, a further ruling now ‘broadens’ this.
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The Endangered Species Act states, in order for such trophies to be approved, exporting countries must demonstrate hunting enhances survival of a particular species in the wild.
Essentially, by reinvesting the money into conservation efforts.
Under the US Endangered Species Act, African elephants are listed as ‘threatened’ and 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 which has enabled the reversal of the ban.
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, writing:
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 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.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is set to change how it evaluates imports for certain endangered species across Africa, according to The New York Times.
So rather than ‘evaluate lion, elephant and bontebok trophies on a nation-by-nation basis’, the agency will now consider imports of these animals from six African countries on ‘case-by-case basis’.
The six countries are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
According to officials, this doesn’t mean all trophies will be automatically permitted – applicants will have to meet the same conservation and sustainability requirements as before.