Both sides weigh in on elephant trophy ban reversal

Elephant trophy importing ban reversed.

BOISE - For the last three years while it was legal to hunt elephants, it was illegal for hunters to bring the tusks or other body parts back home to the United States. 

Now because of the ban reversal announced by the Trump Administration that's not the case anymore. 

"This is a very devastating day for wildlife conservationists like myself and wildlife conservation in general," said Corbin Maxey a wildlife expert and biologist. 

The reversal will apply to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe from Jan. 21, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2018, and to elephants elephants hunted in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The reversal allows hunters to bring the trophy heads of elephants they've killed back to the states. 

"I can't wrap my brain around why we are still killing these majestic creatures," said Maxey.

One argument from pro-hunting organization Safari Club International is that this decision will help conservation efforts. 

In a statement, they say in part, "With this decision, FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) is affirming the benefits of hunting to the conservation of species and the management of wildlife worldwide."

"They tried trophy hunting in these countries and it didn't work and that's why the ban was put in place in 2014 so history is going to repeat itself," Maxey said. 

Many people across the nation have chimed in on social media voicing their approval or concern. 

On KTVB's Facebook page, one person said "They are legally killed, they are usually old, their death is a benefit for those local governments being able to stop poaching."

Another person says: "I think trophy hunting is wrong. But, that being said, if people want to spend thousands of dollars to hunt legally, following the laws of another country, the hunters should be allowed to bring their carcass home."

The African Bush elephant is currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, but a condition in the law allows for the import of trophies if it can be proved that hunting the animals helps to conserve the species. 

Several big-game hunters could benefit from the rule change, including President Donald Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric, who are both known big-game hunters.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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