US to lift ban on import of elephant hunting trophies

Despite being listed as a vulnerable species, hunters that legally kill an elephant in Zimbabwe and Zambia could soon be able to obtain a permit to import their ‘trophy’ into the US. This is the prospect following news that the US Administration intends to reverse the trophy import ban imposed in 2014.

We strongly believe that no animal should be hunted for ‘sport’ in the name of conservation and lifting the import ban would be a backward step for ethical conservation efforts and one we are deeply disappointed to see.

What has been announced?

On Wednesday 15th November 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) confirmed that the US administration will reverse a ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia that was put in place in 2014 by the previous administration, after it determined that sport hunting in those countries will help conserve the species.  The announcement was made public in the first instance not by USFWS but Safari Club International, a pro-hunting group that hosts an annual auction of animal hunting permits and hunting trips.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that: “the hunting and management programs for African elephants in [Zimbabwe and Zambia] will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.”

“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,”

The findings will allow for anyone who legally kills an elephant in Zimbabwe from January. 21, 2016, to December. 31, 2018, or in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to obtain a permit to import their elephant trophy into the United States, according to USFWS.

Current reality for elephants

African elephants have been under siege for decades, targeted by ivory poachers and legal hunters, and in parts of the continent their numbers have dropped perilously.  According to the Great Elephant Census the elephant population dropped by 30% from 2007 to 2014, a loss of 144,000 elephants. Across Zimbabwe it fell 6% and substantial declines have been recorded along the Zambezi River in Zambia.

With the species in decline, every effort must be taken to protect those animals that remain. A concerted global effort has seen the closure of ivory markets, a decline in elephant poaching and an acceptance that ethical conservation practices, such as photography safaris and wildlife tourism are the way forward. Removing the ban on the import of elephant trophies is counter-intuitive to all that is being (and has been) achieved for the species and further stands against the wishes of the public.  In the US, 83% of those recently polled support the ban on elephant trophies (Source: IFAW).

Killing an elephant will not conserve the species. Lifting the import ban will act only to encourage hunters to secure permits to kill elephants in the knowledge they can bring their ‘trophy’ home to the US.


Every elephant is critical to the future of their species and ultimately our own future


How can you help?

Live in the USA?

1. Contact the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, imploring him to take a stand against reversing the ban. Whilst Mr Zinke appears to support hunting in various forms, it’s important to register your disappointment and show that citizens do not support the proposed changes. We have drafted a template letter here, which includes contacts details for where to send your message. (Template as a word document can be downloaded here)


2. Contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service to explain why reversing the ban is bad news for elephants. We have drafted a template letter here, which includes contacts details for where to send your message. (Template as a word document can be downloaded here)


Live outside the USA?

You can still contact Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, imploring him to take a stand against the policy reversal. The more voices we have, the louder our message. We have drafted a template letter here, which includes contact details for where to send your message. (Template as a word document can be downloaded here)

A further resource on why hunting should not be included in conservation policies can be found here.

With more names we can show governments that the world is watching and demanding action to save elephants.

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Every 20 minutes, an elephant is killed.
Help us educate and spread the word. You tell 15 friends > they tell 15 friends > together we make a difference.


Did you know one elephant is killed every 20 minutes for its ivory?
That’s 26,000 each year and at this rate, they could be extinct in the next 20 years.

Thought you might like to watch this video to find out what we can do to
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iworry is a campaign by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT who are best known for their pioneering efforts in rescuing and hand-rearing orphaned infant elephants, many the victims of ivory poaching.

To date DSWT have successfully rescued over 200 orphaned elephants to rehabilitate them back into the wild where they rightly belong. Foster an elephant today for $50 / £35 and help ensure the DSWT Keepers can provide the orphans with the love and care they desperately need to survive. With your fostering you will receive monthly updates on your chosen orphan from Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the DSWT.

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