U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Is Already Issuing Permits To Import Lion “Trophies” Into The U.S.

Appallingly, there is more than one elephant in the room today as details have emerged that U.S. wildlife officials began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe on October 20th of this year.

As per a report by ABC, new guidelines allowing hunters to bring “trophies” of animals killed in parts of Africa to the U.S. have sadly been updated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Unfathomably, using the same misguided claims that the regulated hunting of elephants will further benefit conservation efforts have already been applied to lions as well.

“Our nation has an obligation under the ESA to make sure U.S. hunters are contributing to the “Con” servation of lions in the wild by participating in hunting programs that provide a clear “Con” servation benefit and contribute to the long-term survival of the species in the wild,” states the document on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website.

What? Obligation?

Disgraceful, but it doesn’t stop there.

Trophies from wild and wild-managed lions from South Africa are also acceptable under the import rules, and hunts from Mozambique, Namibia, and Tanzania are currently under review.

Only trophies from captive lions in South Africa fall under the “not approved to date” section of the new guidelines. That is “until new information is received.”

Africa’s elephant population has declined by 30 percent in seven years according to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) which acknowledged that while well-managed hunting can play a role in financing conservation, they are “opposed to the hunting of elephants, lions, and rhinos due to the ongoing poaching crisis and plummeting population numbers.”

“This decision by the Trump administration forfeits the leadership role of the United States in the critical fight against illegal wildlife trafficking,” AWF noted in a statement. “Trophy hunting can only be an effective tool for conservation when associated decisions and financial flows are transparent. Unfortunately, this decision by the Trump administration has been anything but transparent and reinforces AWF’s stated concerns about the proposed International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC) recently announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

“With membership to be dominated by hunters and the U.S. gun lobby, the IWCC’s mandate is to promote hunting, expedite trophy permits, and weaken the Endangered Species Act,” according to the organization. “AWF renews its call for all responsible conservation organizations to exclude themselves from this council until such time that stakeholders with a commercial interest in loosening hunting restrictions are removed.”

Tragically, there is only an estimated 17,000 – 19,000 African lions remaining in the wild.

We must work together collectively to keep the ban on the import of elephants, lions, and other species who are hunted for so-called “trophies”.

Contact the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, imploring him to take a stand against reversing the ban. Please add Lions to the template & Click HERE!

Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and tell them that you support the ban on lion trophies imported into the U.S. Please add lions to the template & Click HERE! 

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