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Trump Administration Reverses Elephant Trophy Import Ban

During Zimbabwe's Coup, U.S. Claims Country Adequately Managing Elephant Population

WASHINGTON— Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today formally reversed an Obama administration ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. Making the announcement as a coup is going on in Zimbabwe, Zinke’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed that Zimbabwe can sufficiently manage its elephant population to enable U.S. hunters to resume importing trophies. 

“This is horrific news for Africa’s rapidly vanishing elephants, and the Trump administration’s timing couldn’t be more bizarre,” said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Corruption was already a huge concern in Zimbabwe, and it’s shocking that Zinke is lifting the trophy ban during a military coup. With tanks in the streets, whoever is actually running the Zimbabwe government just can’t be trusted to protect elephants from slaughter by poachers.”  

Poaching of elephants for their ivory remains a significant threat in Zimbabwe. According to aerial surveys — known as the Great Elephant Census — Zimbabwe’s elephant population decreased a shocking 18 percent between 2007 and 2013, when the aerial surveys were performed.

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Learn about the Center's work to save African elephants.

Contact: Tanya Sanerib

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Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; elephant courtesy USFWS