Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Trump to lift ban on import of elephant trophies from Africa

Trump puts big-game trophy decision on hold Mark Wilson Getty Images
Andrew Cummings | 17 November, 2017, 01:39

However, this can only take place if there is conclusive evidence that the hunting benefited the conservation for that species.

The finding applies to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, and elephants hunted in Zambia during 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.

Hunting elephants is legal under strict permit systems in several African countries, and the revenue is crucial, some argue, for supporting conservation efforts. For example, insurgent groups like Al-Shabab, the Lord's Resistance Army and Boko Haram buy weapons by handing in elephant tusks.

"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", Cox said.

To be clear, this is not just about hunting, this is about the despicable practice of trophy hunting, where cowardly and morally deficient trophy hunters travel to Africa to engage in canned hunts and collect "trophies" such as elephants, warthogs, zebras, lions, and even giraffes, with entire tour companies dedicated to the so-called "sport."The decision to reverse the Obama era ban on the importation of "trophies" was celebrated by some hunting and gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, America's premier terrorist organization".

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said that is now the case in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa from 2007 to 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census published a year ago, which put their remaining numbers at just over 350,000.

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"We can't control what happens in foreign countries, but what we can control is a restriction on imports on parts of the animals", said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Advocates for big-game hunting contend it can help preserve wildlife by generating income for poor countries that can promote conservation and improve the lives of impoverished people.

He added, "What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive can not 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?"

A notice regarding this change will be posted in the Federal Register on Friday with more specifics on what new information justifies the changes. For forest elephants, the population declined by an estimated 62 percent between 2002 and 2011. "Government officials allegedly have been involved in both poaching of elephants and illegal export of ivory tusks".

Tanya Sanerib, a lawyer with the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, called the timing of the Trump administration's announcement "bizarre".

The move came the same week Zimbabwe had a coup that left its president, Robert Mugabe, under house arrest.

"The conservation and long-term health of big game crosses worldwide boundaries", Zinke said in a statement announcing the group's creation.

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