Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A decision by the Trump administration will allow American hunters to import trophies of elephants they've poached in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Such trophies were banned by the Obama administration in 2014. (Photo: s.imeon/Flickr/cc)

Conservation Groups Slam Trump's 'Reprehensible' Reversal on Elephant Trophies Ban

The Interior Department said Wednesday it will allow hunters to import their elephant trophies from Africa

Julia Conley

Animal-protection advocates were outraged on Thursday over the Trump administration's decision to reverse a ban on imported elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Elephant Project called the move "reprehensible" and declared, "One hundred elephants a day are already killed. This will lead to more poaching."

Although elephants are endangered species, hunters can pay government agencies in the two countries for permits to kill the animals if their expeditions are deemed to "benefit the conservation of certain species," according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, which announced the change on Wednesday.

According to the agency and groups like Safari Club International, a hunters' lobbying group which filed a lawsuit in 2014 to block an Obama-era ban on elephant trophies, hunting regulated by permits provides incentives to local communities to conserve the species and puts revenue back into conservation efforts.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Human Society, called the permit system "a venal and nefarious pay-to-slay arrangement that Zimbabwe has set up with the trophy hunting industry" in a blog post, and noted conservationists' concerns over "lack of information about how money derived from trophy hunting by U.S. hunters is distributed within Zimbabwe." He argued that there is little evidence that so-called hunting regulations have a positive impact on conservation efforts.

"Zimbabwe's elephant population has declined six percent since 2001 and evidence shows that poaching has increased in areas where trophy hunting is permitted," Pacelle wrote, adding that if anyone should be able to hunt game in Africa, it should be the people who live there rather than wealthy Americans hunting for sport.

"What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it's just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?" wrote Pacelle.

The U.K.-based elephant-protection group Tusk Trust also drew attention to corruption in the system that allows permits for hunters. "Tusk continues to have major misgivings in the way trophy hunting is not properly regulated, and has been open to corrupt abuse of quota systems and unethical practices," said Charlie Mayhew, the group's chief executive, in a statement. "This is a setback in the fight to ban all illegal wildlife trade."

President Donald Trump's grown sons, Eric and Donald Jr., have both been roundly criticized for their enjoyment of trophy hunting over the years.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

WHO's New Air Pollution Guidelines Reflect Deadly Toll of Fossil Fuels

"What matters most is whether governments implement impactful policies to reduce pollutant emissions, such as ending investments in coal, oil, and gas and prioritizing the transition to clean energy," said a Greenpeace scientist.

Jessica Corbett ·

Letter Urges Progressives to Fight 'Wall Street Democrats' Holding Biden's Agenda Hostage

"The United States does not negotiate with terrorists. It's time for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to extend that principle to the legislative process."

Jake Johnson ·

Health Experts 'Speechless' as DeSantis Taps Anti-Mask Vaccine Skeptic for Florida Surgeon General

One Democratic U.S. congressman called the move "a complete slap in the face to the families of the more than 50,000 Floridians who have died from Covid."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Huge Step Forward': China Applauded for Pledge to Stop Building Overseas Coal Plants

"The writing is on the wall for coal power," said the president of upcoming climate summit COP26.

Julia Conley ·

Nearly 50 Groups Demand Passage of Amendments to Cut Pentagon Budget

"Pouring billions more into the military, far beyond even the level requested by President Biden, sends exactly the wrong message at this moment in history."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo