USA TODAY – MATTHEW DIEBEL
Well, this is sure to send the fur flying.
The Trump administration is reversing an Obama-era ban on hunters importing trophies of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe during government-approved big-game expeditions.
The move was confirmed to ABC News by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday following a recent announcement at a wildlife forum in South Africa, according to Safari Club International, a hunters’ group that filed a lawsuit to block a 2014 ban imposed by the Obama administration. A notice regarding this change will be posted in the Federal Register on Friday with more specifics on what new information justifies the changes, ABC reported.
Though elephants are listed as endangered, a provision of the Endangered Species Act allows the government to give permits to import such trophies if there is evidence that the hunting benefits conservation for that species. Hunters typically pay hefty fees to local government agencies for permission to pursue the animals. The official told ABC that they have new information from Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban to allow trophy hunting permits.
Here is what the BBC had to say:
The Trump administration will allow American hunters to import elephant trophies to the US, reversing an Obama-era 2014 ban, US media report.
A federal government agency said imports could resume on Friday for elephants that are legally hunted only in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said hunting fees could aid conservation of the endangered animals.
Experts say that populations of African elephants are plummeting.
Their numbers dropped by about 30% from 2007-14, according to the 2016 Great Elephant Census.
The nonprofit group’s report found a population drop of 6% in Zimbabwe alone.
Despite their listing under the Endangered Species Act, there is a provision in US law that allows permits to import animal parts if there is sufficient evidence that the fees generated will actually benefit species conservation.
USFWS told US media outlets it had received new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia that supported reversing the ban.
There is currently an apparent military coup taking place in Zimbabwe.
USFWS argued that rather than depleting the elephant population, killing the animals “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild”.
The agency’s statement said: “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.”
Officials had announced the forthcoming policy change during a forum hosted this week by the pro-hunting Safari Club International Foundation, which partnered with the National Firearm Association to lobby for the rule change.
Every year since 2010, elephant populations in Africa have dropped by 7% on average – more than 30,000 deaths per year.
Here is what FOXNEWS thought about this…
Some even Laura Ingraham didn’t much care for this….
I don’t understand how this move by @realDonaldTrump Admin will not INCREASE the gruesome poaching of elephants. Stay tuned. https://t.co/KqizmlgaGg
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 16, 2017
The Trump administration on Wednesday announced that it will issue permits for elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, reversing a 2014 ban under President Obama.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official told ABC News that 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,” the FWS statement said.
The same department, under Obama, determined in 2015 that importing the trophies would not benefit the species in the area.
The National Rifle Association praised the FWS decision Wednesday, the New York Post reported. The paper reported that elephants — valued for their tusks — have been on the “threatened” species list since 1978.