Let's all pretend to be surprised as Donald Trump’s administration reverses the ban on importing elephant trophies (e.g. ivory) from two African nations. So much for the great land of the free, eh?
Just like every work from the Obama administration, the banning of this practice in 2014 has taken its U-turn. This includes the taxidermied heads and tusks of elephants from Zimbabwe killed from January 21, 2016 to December 31, 2018, as well as elephants taken in Zambia from 2016 to 2018.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service--the agency behind the regulation--explains that this move “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild” for some of the funds will be used for conservation. (More like 'go hunt wild African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia to save them!' How does that sound?) Oppositions, like The Humane Society, say that such lift of the ban encourages poaching which is already huge problem in Zimbabwe in recent years.
For those who still don't know, elephants are a threatened species, having only about 350,000 population in the wild. And based from the 2016 Great Elephant Census, savannah populations declined by 30 per cent all throughout 18 African nations from 2007 to 2014 and 74 per cent in Zambezi ecosystem!
Zimbabwe has now around 82,000 elephants while Zambia has only 22,000. The former country had a 500-elephant annual quotas for hunters and the latter previously banned the hunting due to falling numbers.
However, as the population resurged, so does Zambia's lifting of the hunting ban. Now, tourist can participate in private hunting game on ranches. With this, just last year, 30 elephants were already killed there.
Well, I don't think I can stress enough how debilitating this overturn can get. So, if no one gets to bat an eye and do something, perhaps we just have to wait and see where this "greatness" can lead to.
Get weekly science updates in your inbox!