US decided to remove all restrictions on importing African elephant trophies from both Zimbabwe and Zambia
The decision means that Americans will be able to hunt the endangered elephant, an activity that gathered worldwide attention at some point, when a dentist from Minnesota took Cecil, one of the world’s most famous lion, close to a wildlife park in Zimbabwe.
Even more, the move will allow both African countries to include US sport hunting as part of their management plans for the elephants, which will allow them to bring back “much-needed revenue back into conservation.”
On the other hand, critics of the decision remind that these restrictions were first put into place by the Obama administration in 2014 due to the fact that these activities led to a drop in the African elephant population. Even more, the animals are listen in the US Endangered Species Act, which requires that the US government protects the endangered species in other countries.
“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 Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society.
Sadly, the number of elephants dropped by 30% between 2007 and 2014, despite massive efforts. In some places, it has even dropped by more than 75% due to ivory poaching.
In 2016, there were just a little over 350,000 elephants alive in the wild, down from millions in the early 20th Century.
Pacelle, who strongly opposes the decision, told that this decision means that “elephants minding their business are going to be gunned down by rich Americans.” It is the cold truth, put into simple words.
On the other hand, the Safari Club International (a worldwide network of hunters) celebrated the announcement:
“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 in a statement.