The Trump administration plans on allowing hunters to bring trophies of elephants they killed in Africa – Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa – back to the United States, reversing a ban put in place by President Obama in 2014 after finding the nation's management of legal hunting did not enhance the survival of the African elephant.
According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official, the agency received new information from the countries that the move would benefit conservation in the area.
"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."
Yeah, right. "Legal, well-regulated sport hunting" is just another name for poaching. So spare us that rubbish. Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import such trophies if there is evidence that the hunting benefits conservation for that species.
The official said the administration has new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban. Of course they do! Since when has anyone in power in Africa had the interests of the living things in Africa at heart?
The Trump administration actually argues that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill them will aid the vulnerable species. The new policy applies to the remains of African elephants killed between January 2016 and December 2018.
The move was quickly praised by groups that champion big-game trophy hunting, including Safari Club International and the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association. The two groups had in the past gone to court to challenge the ban.
The world's largest land mammal, the African elephant, has been classified as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act since 1979. Illicit demand for elephant ivory has led to devastating losses from illegal poaching as the natural habitat available for the animals to roam has also dwindled by more than half.
As a result, the number of African elephants has shrunk from about 5 million a century ago to about 400,000 remaining. That number continues to decline each year. According to the United Nations, as many as 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012. For forest elephants, the population declined by an estimated 62% between 2002 and 2011.