The Trump administration plans to reverse a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014 that will allow hunters to import trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the United States, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News today.
Elephants are currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, but a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import these trophies if there is evidence that the hunting actually benefits conservation for that species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official told ABC News they have new information from officials in Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban to allow trophy hunting permits.
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.
ABC News adds:
Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa from 2007 to 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census published last year, which put their remaining numbers at just over 350,000.
The elephant population declined 6 percent overall in Zimbabwe but dropped by 74 percent within one specific region. Elephants saw “substantial declines along the Zambezi River,” in Zambia while other areas of that country were stable, according to the census.