Washington, DC—In a letter issued today to President Donald Trump, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) president Cathy Liss advocated for a permanent ban on imports of trophies of elephants and other imperiled species from African nations. Today’s letter follows a letter submitted by AWI in November, which applauded the president for temporarily halting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to roll back a ban that had previously been in place.
Citing Trump’s strong recent comments made in opposition to trophy hunting, Liss agreed that killing imperiled species for sport is a “horror show” that does not help achieve conservation goals.
“Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are attempting to circumvent the president, despite his clearly stated position,” said Liss. “President Trump must remain strong on this issue and not allow his own agency to implement policies that contradict his wishes and only serve the interests of a very small group of trophy hunters.”
Since October 2017, the USFWS has tried to reverse the bans on importing African elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. On March 1, in apparent disregard for Trump’s negative comments regarding trophy hunting, the agency issued a memo announcing that decisions about whether to approve importation of sport-hunted elephant, lion, or bontebok trophies into the United States would be made on a “case-by-case basis,” rather than having rules that apply to specific species and countries of origin.
“It is crucial to maintain robust protections for threatened and endangered species,” stated Liss. “We call on President Trump to permanently ban trophy importation of sport-hunted elephants and other vulnerable species from African nations.”
Amey Owen, (202) 446-2128, firstname.lastname@example.org