Elephant Trophies Allowed Again in U.S.

For the past five years, elephant trophies were not allowed to enter into the states. Last month the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will be approving six elephant trophies into the United States from Zimbabwe. In the upcoming months they will approve a lot more.

When Trump became president, the big game hunters thought it would be even easier to import game trophies. Unbeknown to them, Trump had his own views about big game hunting. In 2017, a week before Thanksgiving, the Fish and Wildlife Services reversed the Obama-era elephant trophies ban. This set of a huge debate between the game hunters and the animal activists. Former president Trump thought that this would allow for “gruesome poaching of elephants.” Within 24 hours, on November 17, 2017, he Tweeted “Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!”

Since then, elephant trophies were banned entrance to United States. In December of 2019, the Dallas Safari Club sued the Trump administration for pausing the trophy permit processing. In September of 2021, they won their case. The FWS had to process the permits for the 11 Dallas Safari Club members along with 73 other permit applications. This is why elephant trophies are allowed again in the states.

Beneficial or Harmful?

Do you think that big game hunting is beneficial or harmful to the wildlife? Biodiversity experts believe this is harmful and will cause more harm to the endangered African elephants. Animal activists also feel let down by the Biden administration. Instead of protecting the wildlife under the Endangered Species Act, they are ignoring it.

Game hunters such as Lane Easter, believe that by hunting these animals they are helping the community. They can pay upwards of $40,000 or more for these game hunting trips. Many hunters win the opportunity to go big game hunting  through Safari Club International’s annual convention. The money goes to the community and helps prevents poaching. They also believe that the herd can benefit as well, by them hunting big game such as lions and elephants.

Under the federal Endangered Species Act, game hunters must provide proof that their trophy killing left a “positive enhancement” of a species. So far, the wildlife services denied two of the eight permits. They have over 300 more elephant trophy permits to go through.

As for game hunters like Lae Easter, he can’t wait to go back for another trophy. He is waiting for his 2017 elephant tusks to finally arrive and has already booked another trophy hunt for August.

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