Lifting of import ban on elephant trophies halted

US President Donald Trump and his Department of Interior Affairs secretary Ryan Zinke have halted the reversal of a ban on importation of elephant hunt trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The sudden decision follows global outcry and protests from animal rights groups.

The United States’ Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lifted the ban just two days before, saying that they would expand efforts to promote trophy hunting as a form of conservation.

This reversal of ex-president Obama’s 2014 ban was criticised as “a backward step for ethical conservation efforts,” by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Global conservation authorities feared that it would damage the global momentum in ending the ivory trade and poaching. The announcement struck a nerve across the globe, with even celebrities speaking out.

The USFWS implemented the import ban in 2014 on the basis that Zimbabwe had failed to manage its elephant population sustainably. Its consideration to reverse the ban also applies to trophies from Zambia, where the elephant population allegedly dropped from more than 200 000 elephants in 1972 to just a little over 21 000 in 2016.

In Zimbabwe, the elephant population has declined 6% overall since 2001.


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