Earlier this year, the Trump administration reversed efforts to reduce plastic bottles in National Parks and moved to allow the slaughter wild horses – and now, the administration is continuing their assault on the environment. The Trump Administration plans to ALLOW HUNTERS TO IMPORT TROPHIES of elephants killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the U.S.! This move signals a reversal of the ban put in place by the Obama administration back in 2014. We really can’t believe this…
Even though elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, there is a provision in the act that allows the government to give permits to important elephant trophies. Appallingly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is arguing that hunting African elephants “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.” Um, what?
The Trump administration hasn’t officially announced the policy change, but ABC News reports that the reversal will be announced at a wildlife forum in South Africa this week. The change would only apply to elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia, but still, this could prove disastrous for elephants.
“Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a blog post.
For decades, elephants have faced the looming threat of extinction having their tusks savagely ripped from their faces to satisfy the global demand for ivory. This illegal trade is fraught with corruption on every level, and profits often go towards funding dangerous terrorist groups. It is estimated that around one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for their tusks, totaling out to the loss of 100 elephants a day. Given the slow reproduction rates of elephants, many scientists believe they could be extinct from the wild within the next 20 years. And according to one census, the elephant population declined 6 percent overall in Zimbabwe and dropped 74 percent in one region.
When an elephant is killed for their ivory or to be a trophy, it affects not only the particular elephant involved but also their entire family. Baby elephants are cruelly deprived of their mothers while older elephants are deprived of their children, sisters, or brothers. The bond between elephant mothers and their babies is akin to that of human mothers and children. When adult elephants are killed for their tusks, the orphaned baby elephants are sometimes sold into a life of captivity. For instance, in 2015, a group of elephant calves was exported from Zimbabwe, months after they were captured from the wild for sale to zoos in China. More recently, in May of 2017, Namibia, sold five baby elephants to a zoo in Dubai for an undisclosed price.
Hunting supporters irrationally believe they are helping conserve a species when in reality, there are many other humane ways to support animals. We can make a real difference for these animals in the wild by concentrating our efforts – and donation dollars – on anti-poaching groups. To learn more about groups working to end poaching, click here. By spreading awareness about the plight of elephants and all of world’s endangered wildlife, we can help people see the consequences of their actions.
We must fight for elephants before it’s too late. For more information on how you can play your part in the fight to save elephants, check out some of the resources below:
- David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Elephant Conservation page
- World Elephant Day
- World Wildlife Fund’s African Elephant Program
- Save Elephant Foundation
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