Keep the elephant trophy ban


The Mirror reporter

On Nov. 16 Donald Trump lifted an Obama administration ban on importing elephant trophies. The next day Trump put his decision “on hold.”

The original ban barred elephant trophies from certain African countries, namely Zimbabwe and Zambia, from being brought into the United States. Elephant trophies are generally considered the head, tusks, and other parts of an elephant shot for sport.

Repealing this ban would send a strong message that the United States is no longer opposed to hunting endangered animals by allowing the import of trophies. Lifting the ban is expected to increase the number of United States citizens hunting elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

One of the main arguments for the repeal is hunting helps conservation efforts and repealing the ban would support US hunters looking to pay to hunt, and that money will go to local communities and conservation efforts. The theory is similar to how deer hunting helps conservation efforts in the United States. However, this is simply not true. Legal hunting in the United States is completely different from hunting endangered species in countries that have little concern over conservation efforts.

Elephants are classified under the Endanger Species Act as a threatened species. The global population of elephants has fallen from 10 million since 1917 to the current population of 400,000 and continues declining around 30,000 elephants per year. This decline is mainly due to hunting, poaching, and habitat loss according to National Geographic. Encouraging hunting of an endangered animal is counterintuitive to any efforts to save them from dying out.

Part two of the argument against the ban is that all the money spent on elephant hunting fees go straight back to communities and conservation efforts. The reality is between the hunting companies and the notoriously corrupt governments in Zimbabwe and Zambia, communities see very little hunting money trickledown and conservation efforts see next to none.

President Trump promised to revisit repealing the ban after looking at the conservation facts. The facts are hunting a species in danger of going extinct is harmful to the cause of helping them survive. Repealing this ban would send a strong message that the United States is no longer opposed to hunting endangered animals by giving a pass to anybody looking to import trophies.