March 12, 2018. Less than six months ago under the director of the President, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reversed the previous administration’s ban on wildlife trophies that included elephants. Elephants got a bit of a reprieve from the relentless hunt to kill them for their tusks. In a legal battle between conservationists and wildlife supporters and the NRA and Safari International, the future of elephants and other wild game were batted back and forth like a shuttlecock in a badminton game that ended up in the D.C. Court of Appeals. The court ruled in favor of allowing hunters to bring their trophies into the U.S. and the U.S. Dept of Fish and Wildlife stated they would review permits on a case-by-case basis but according to Snopes.com (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/elephant-trophy-import-ban-lifted/) Note: It’s always good to check Snopes to verify the accuracy of any news. According to Snopes:
That ruling already a number affected other endangered species trophies. The Fish and Wildlife Service released a memo on 1 March 2018 in response to the ruling withdrawing Endangered Species Act findings from various years for trophies of elephants from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, and Namibia; lions from Zimbabwe and South Africa, and bontebok in South Africa. The memo added:
However, the Service intends to use the information cited in these findings and contained in its files as appropriate, in addition to the information it receives and has available when it receives each application, to evaluate individual permit applications.
Wildlife Service will now review permits on a case-by-case basis. The agency did not announce this change, however, and the memo only began receiving media attention when The Hill and other outlets reported on it on 6 March.
This reversal is bad news for all elephants and particularly the elephants in the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia. The elephants in this photo are regular visitors to Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park. They know they are much safer in the park, but the park is very about two and a half million acres large with an incredibly diverse and remote landscape ranging from rivers and grasslands to nearly impenetrable and remote bush. Poachers good at finding their way across borders and smuggling ivory are a very real threat to the elephants in the South Luangwa Valley. Our concern is that as bordering countries like Zimbabwe begin to run out of elephants, more poachers will overrun Zambia’s borders to make a few dollars for killing an elephant and taking its tusks, possibly leaving a young elephant like the one in this picture an orphan and unlikely to survive.
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