Washington, DC—The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued today a notice in the Federal Register allowing hunters to bring trophies of elephants killed in Zimbabwe back to the United States, reversing a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014.
In reaction to this development, the Animal Welfare Institute issued the following statement:
Our organization is outraged and dismayed by the administration’s decision to facilitate the killing of African elephants, a threatened species. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s reversal of a ban on imports of sport-hunted African elephants from Zimbabwe poses an additional threat to the survival of an already imperiled species– a clear violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Further, the timing of this reversal is irresponsible, considering the current political tumult in Zimbabwe. The updated management plan was developed by a government that is no longer in power, and therefore the US cannot assume that it will be honored under the new leadership, once it is established.
The USFWS failed to provide any new or relevant scientific findings in today’s Federal Register notice to justify the reversal of the 2014 import ban, and we believe there is no credible science to support their reckless claim that this action will aid the conservation of elephants in the wild. Thus, there is no sound basis for this drastic reversal of policy. AWI remains committed to the protection of the majestic, threatened African elephant, and is reviewing our legal options.
Amey Owen, (202) 446-2128, firstname.lastname@example.org