Agency Says It’ll Grant Elephant Trophy Import Permits On ‘Case-By-Case’ Basis

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in a memo late last week that it will grant hunters permits to import remains from elephants and other species from certain African nations on a “case-by-case” basis

On Thursday, as E&E News first reported, the Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within the Department of the Interior, announced its “Withdrawal of Certain Findings For [Endangered Species Act]-listed Species Taken as Sport-hunted Trophies.”

In a memo, the agency’s principal deputy director announced, “The service intends to grant permits to import a sport-hunted trophy on a case-by-case basis pursuant to its authorities under the ESA [Endangered Species Act] and CITES [the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora].”

The agency withdrew Endangered Species Act enhancement findings on the trophy hunting of African elephants, lions and bontebok in certain countries, which the agency claimed “are no longer effective for making individual permit determinations for imports.”

In the memo, the agency also cited a federal appeals court’s ruling in December 2017 that the Obama administration didn’t follow the proper protocol when it instituted a permit ban on the import of trophies from African elephants hunted in Zimbabwe.

While the agency did not go into detail about what criteria will be used to perform a “case-by-case” evaluation of permit applications, a spokesperson told HuffPost and NBC News“The President has been very clear in the direction that his administration will go.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2017 announced that it was rolling back Obama-era bans preventing the import of trophies from elephants hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe. After intense public backlash, however, President Donald Trump said that he would put the decision to do so “on hold.”