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US Will Allow Imports of African Elephant Trophies
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Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Summary: American big game hunters may now import elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The federal government is removing restrictions on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. According to CNN, this means Americans will soon be able to hunt the big game and bring the carcasses back to this country.


A spokesman for the US Fish and Wildlife Service said that the change will allow Zimbabwe and Zambia to receive needed revenue and put that money back into conservation.

“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,” a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said in a statement.

Critics of the sport said that the elephants are endangered and noted that the African elephant population has dropped. African elephants are listed as endangered species, and animals on this list are supposed to be protected by our government, no matter where they are located.

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Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society, told CNN that the US has a duty to restrict elephant imports. From 2007 to 2014, the elephant population dropped by 30% despite conservation efforts, and in some areas of Africa, the numbers fell by 75% due to ivory poaching.  In 2016, there were only 350,000 elephants alive, compared to millions in the early 20th century.

“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 Pacelle.

Pacelle continued that this new law will cause more innocent elephants to be “gunned down by rich Americans.”

While Pacelle was against the government’s recent decision, Safari Club International, a worldwide network of hunters, celebrated.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Service and the US Department of the Interior to remove barriers to sustainable use conservation for African wildlife,” SCI President Paul Babaz said.

The change will only apply to elephants in these two countries. According to ABC News, the reversal of the previous restrictions has not been formally announced by the government but it was revealed at a wildlife forum in South Africa this week.

Elephant hunting in Zambia was banned due to the declining population, but it was reallowed in 2015 after surveys found more animals in some areas. Now, tourists can hunt elephants on private ranches or specified areas. Fees paid to hunt are used by the Zambian government to fund conservation efforts.

Hunting in Africa is enjoyed mostly by wealthy people such as Donald Trump Jr. or Jimmy John’s founder Jimmy John Liautaud. The sport came under fire in 2015 when an American dentist, Walter Palmer, illegally killed Cecil the Lion, one of the world’s most famous animals at the Hwange National Park.

What do you think of big game hunting? Let us know in the comments below.


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