Big Game Hunting

US Lifts Ban on Importing Big Game Trophies

Photo: Nick Dolding (Getty Images)

Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that there would be no more bans on big-game trophies in the USA. This is something of an extension of the decision made back in November that allowed elephant trophies from two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all trophies will automatically be permitted. Every country will have to prove that hunting promotes survival of a certain species and that it invests in their conservation on a case-to-case basis. The ban was introduced during Obama’s reign and was expected to be upheld even by the Trump administration. However, quite abruptly, they chose not to go through with it.

The countries that are included in this ban lift are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania. This decision was supported both by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Safari Club International (SCI) who believe that this move is a positive step. SCI emphasized the importance of hunting in Africa as it really helps wildlife conservation. One of the ways safari trips help the wildlife is through payments of hunting enthusiasts. They are often willing to pay huge amounts to be allowed to hunt big game and this money is later transferred to conservation funds.

One of the biggest differences between the old system and the new is that it’s now a case-by-case principle and anyone concerned in these matters would have to file a Freedom of Information request for each one. Obviously, this enraged a number of wildlife conservation agencies because each one of those requests could take up to a month of processing time. There is a good chance that this principle will be misused.

It’s interesting to note that the President Trump made a statement no so long ago that he would fight against lifting big game trophy ban. He tweeted his concerns when it was first announced that the USA would receive trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Apparently, he changed his mind in the meantime.

In Africa, however, they support the decision made by the Fish and Wildlife Service, but feel that it has come too late. According to them, the hunting ban created by Obama’s administration destroyed many conservation plans as the hunters actually supported parks and their infrastructure. Numerous hunting parks in Zimbabwe, for example, had to be disbanded and turned into agricultural land because of the lack of funds. Now, there is not enough money to keep the parks running, protect the animals, and prevent poachers. It seems that most of the countries in Africa will welcome this ban lift after all.

What do you think about this lifting the ban on big game trophies?