For Immediate Release, December 13, 2019
Tanya Sanerib, (206) 379-7363, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Law Enforcement Urged to Investigate Trump Jr.’s Reported Killing of Mongolian Argali Sheep Without Permit
Wildlife Agency Asked to Determine Whether Trophy Import Would Be Legal
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity urged U.S. law enforcement officials today to investigate whether Don Trump Jr. can legally import a threatened argali sheep he killed in Mongolia last summer. According to news reports, the hunt took place, and the argali was shot, without the permit required under Mongolian law.
Today’s letter alerts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement to potential legal violations associated with this trophy hunt. It asks the agency’s top law-enforcement officials to ensure that any attempt to bring the animal’s horns, skin or parts as a trophy into the United States does not violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits the import of wildlife obtained in violation of another country’s laws.
“We urge you to ensure that the protections in place for argali — including from hunters and poachers — are enforced and special access is not provided for wealthy, white hunters from the West, even if their father is the U.S. president,” the letter reads.
Only after Trump Jr. had departed Mongolia — on Sept. 2, 2019 — was a permit issued for his argali hunt. It is unclear whether the issuance of a permit after the hunt and kill comports with Mongolian law.
“Don Jr.’s shooting of this rare animal was reprehensible, and Fish and Wildlife officials need to take a hard look at this disturbing hunt,” said attorney Tanya Sanerib, the Center’s international legal director. “If Mongolian law was violated when the argali was killed, then U.S. officials must ensure the poor animal doesn’t end up in the U.S. as a Trump wall hanging. The steep decline of this species is a prime example of how trophy hunting chips away at populations of highly imperiled creatures and why we need strong laws and their enforcement.”
Argali populations plummeted from an estimated 50,000 in 1985 to just 18,000 in 2009.
They are the world’s largest sheep, with curling horns growing up to 6 feet in length. Long imperiled by overhunting, the sheep are protected as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Between 2007 and 2018, U.S. trophy hunters imported 65 argali trophies from Mongolia.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.