President Donald Trump has delivered yet again for the free market, and environmentalists are crying foul. Trump intends to reverse an Obama-era ban of African elephant trophies, allowing the free market to function and giving more liberty to American hunters.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced yesterday that it intends to allow American hunters to bring back the heads of elephants as trophies from the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia to “enhance the survival of the species in the wild.”
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” an FWS spokesman said in a press release.
Elephants who were killed between the date of Jan. 21 and the end of 2018 will be allowed to be imported into the states as trophies under newly proposed Trump administration rules. Predictably, this has left-wing environmentalists whining and crying about this supposed injustice.
“Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a blog.
“I‘m shocked and outraged,” Elly Pepper, a deputy director of the National Resources Defense Counsel, said to Reuters during a phone interview. “I expect nothing less from our president, and if he thinks this is going to go down without a fight, he’s wrong.”
“Nothing justifies killing harmless animals to use its parts only as material goods, decoration or even worse as a trophy to satisfy someone’s ego or pride,” model and actress Gisele Bundchen said in a Tweet. “If we want a better future, we must take care of the wildlife. When you hurt one species you are hurting them all, including us humans.”
While the celebrities and the special interests whine, other observers note that removing the ban on these controversial trophies may actually help boost the population of African elephants in the long run.
“A 2001 paper published in Science points to how legalizing trophy hunting in Zimbabwe has “doubled the area of the country under wildlife management relative to the 13% in state protected areas,” since the program at the time included private lands,” Neel Patel said in a Slate editorial.
“And considering how an elephant trophy fee could be anywhere from $4,000 to $18,500, the potential for revenue generated by trophy import permits could be a massive boon to both conservation projects and local communities alike,” Patel said.
The long-term impacts of these proposed changes remain to be seen, but in the interim, American hunters are ecstatic about the additional rights that they are receiving due to Trump’s decision. Free-market conservatives and libertarians alike ought to be cheering about this news.
UPDATE: Trump is now reconsidering the ban, per this tweet released Friday night: