In another reversal of an Obama policy, prohibiting the importation of endangered animals back to the United States, has been overturned by the Trump administration. The restrictions were put in place to discourage the hunting and poaching of animals that are on the threatened species and who have been targeted for their ivory. In 2015, the Fish and Wildlife Service suspended the import of trophy hunted elephants citing the lack of any statistics relevant to conservation efforts.
On Wednesday, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will allow trophy hunters to legally bring back their killed wildlife, which now removes restrictions on permits. In a newly created arm of the Department of the Interior, the International Wildlife Conservation Council states it wants to bring:
“…economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting.”
The IWCC contends overturning the previous rules will benefit “human populations.” There is no supporting research to accompany this latest “conservation” platitude, yet the council states that hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia will help their conservation efforts. In support of the latest policy is the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action executive director, Chris Cox:
“This is a significant step forward in having hunting receive the recognition it deserves as a tool of sound wildlife management, which has been all but buried in the previous administration.”
ABCNews reports the government has not actually announced the policy change yet, but it was announced at a wildlife forum in South Africa this week, according to Safari Club International, which filed a lawsuit to block the 2014 ban.
Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump are big game hunters and have posted many photos of their hunting exploits, including posing with an elephant’s severed tail and a leopard drawing the ire of animal advocates and humane organizations worldwide. The brothers continue to take hunting trips although they have not been posting their photos. According to Buzz Feed, Trump Jr. ditched his Secret Service protection in September to go hunting in the Canadian wilderness. He calls hunting “a great way to see the world,” and is pictured holding an elephant’s tail he had just severed.
And if you’re wondering where else all this is coming from, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department includes the Fish and Wildlife Service, he speaks of remembering the days he went on family hunting trips and now wants more families to experience. After installing the arcade game called “Big Buck Hunter” in the department’s cafeteria, he had this to say:
“Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That’s something I want more families to experience.”
For most Americans, it is hard to forget the Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer who shot Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, sparking an outrage for killing one of the most beloved African lion that some say his hunting group lured away from the sanctuary with food just so the lion could be shot; that safari hunt for Cecil cost Palmer $50,000 and months of ridicule and criticism.
As for the elephants in Zimbabwe, their population continues to decline, and in the past hunters have always chosen to chase the healthiest and the largest elephants to garner a more impressive trophy.
Most Americans oppose big game hunting and say it should be illegal. In response to this latest government reversal, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States responded with the following, citing Zimbabwe politics:
“This jarring announcement comes on the same day that global news sources report that Mr. Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s aging dictator, is under house arrest following a military coup. This fact in and of itself highlights the absurdity and illegal nature of the FWS decision to find that Zimbabwe is capable of ensuring that elephant conservation and trophy hunting are properly managed. During the last two years, poachers in the country have poisoned several dozen elephants, including young calves.”
“Government officials cash in by capturing elephant calves who are still dependent on their mothers and exporting them to China for use in zoos. Perhaps not surprisingly, a hunting outfitter advertised elephant hunts in Zimbabwe as soon as the SCI announcement was made public. It’s a venal and nefarious, pay-to-slay arrangement that Zimbabwe has set up with the trophy hunting industry.”
“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 U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them.”
Read the previous article about Cecil the Lion.
(Photo courtesy of Dan McBride)
(Additional photo of Trump holding tail via Facebook)
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