It’s unsurprising but Trump has done something terribly wrong. He has undone the work of former president Obama in restricting the importation of hunting trophies from Africa. Quietly the US Fish and Wildlife Service have lifted a ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia and they have also published new guidelines which tells us that lions shot in these two African countries will also be eligible to be imported into America to be stuffed as trophies to adorn the homes of the hunters who shot them. More backward steps by Trump.
The Trump administration is encouraging notorious sport hunters such as the infamous dentist from Minnesota, Walter Palmer, to travel to Africa to shoot the magnificent lion which is already suffering a rapid depletion in population numbers on that continent for various reasons including habitat loss. We know how corrupt Zimbabwe is so no doubt there will be little protection for lions and elephants even if they are in national parks where they are meant to be protected.
The Trump administration is peeling away the Obama legacy and it seems that they are doing it subtly. They announced the lifting of the elephant ban at the African Wildlife Consultative Forum. This is a pro-hunting event held in Tanzania. The event is cohosted by the Safari Club International which is a major and powerful American sport hunting association which lobbies against hunting restrictions.
Of course they will justify the lifting of these bans. For example Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action said that the Trump administration had backed sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting.
The world is trying to stop the decline in population numbers of lions and elephants in Africa and yet here we have Trump promoting trophy hunting of these iconic species. It is just another backward step by the Trump administration. Withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord is another. It’s dinosaur thinking.
The president of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, says that it is a farce that Zimbabwe is now considered to be a responsible steward for elephants especially when bearing in mind the recent military coup against Robert Mugabe. Apparently he celebrated his birthday in 2015 by feasting upon a baby elephant.
There is a debate, a fierce one between conservationists and hunting groups about whether sport hunting of iconic species improves the conservation of the species. I, for one, cannot see how it can improve their chance of survival and I think it is accepted actually that in Africa there is a clear and sharp downward trajectory in population numbers of wild animals including the iconic species because of huge human population growth on the continent and of course as mentioned people like Pres. Trump reinstating trophy hunting. The concept that trophy hunting improves conservation is that the big bucks for a licence to shoot a lion is fed back into conservation. But you don’t actually believe that do you? That money goes into the pockets of officials to buy mercedes cars, booze and a nice house in a good neighbourhood. It does not go into conservation.
Pres Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, is known to his friends as the “Fifth Avenue Redneck”. He loves hunting and he estimates that he has killed 15 or 16 species in Africa. I wonder whether his son had any influence over his father on lifting the trophy hunting ban. It is a farce.
Source: The Guardian.com