US trophy lawsuit may impact Namibia

26 March 2018 | Environment

The Namibian trophy hunting industry may feel the brunt of an unfolding lawsuit in the US that is challenging the Donald Trump administration for “secretly” implementing a new policy on the import of elephant and lion trophies.

Several animal conservation groups last week filed the lawsuit which is challenging the American government's recent decision to consider big game trophy import applications on a case-by-case basis, instead of scientific country evidence.

Essentially, all trophies will be allowed into the US.

The lawsuit was brought by four groups, including the Humane Society and the Centre of Biological Diversity, and names US interior secretary Ryan Zinke as a defendant.

The lawsuit extensively mentions Namibia's conservation and the impact that Trump's new policy will have on the country, should it remain unchallenged.

Reports indicate that Namibia is the third largest exporter of trophies to the US.

“Through our lawsuit, we are demanding that no elephant or lion trophy import permits be issued while the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) conducts a thorough scientific and public review of elephant and lion hunting in Africa,” the conservation groups said in a statement.

The groups are asking a federal court in Washington DC to rule that the FWS did not follow the proper process to make its 1 March decision, which withdrew a series of Endangered Species Act findings that apply to some African elephants, lions and bontebok, a type of antelope.

This decision allowed open imports of trophies into the country and these findings also apply to Namibia. The groups also say the decision violates the Endangered Species Act adding that the new FWS guidelines are unlawful and that they violate the Endangered Species Act.

“In a document filed in federal court, the US department of justice said the FWS had withdrawn, effective March 1, Obama-era protections [of elephant, lion and other trophies]. The FWS signalled it will continue to rely on outdated and unsupported findings authorising the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia, and lion trophies from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia,” the groups added.

The lawsuit follows after a court ruling in December that the Trump administration needed to involve the public when making trophy import decisions. However instead of complying, the US interior department officials adopted a case-by-case permitting approach that fails to comprehensively consider the impacts of trophy hunting and severely decreases transparency, the groups say.

According to the conservation groups, ending these trophy import bans and issuing trophy import permits without comprehensive review, thwarts the ruling from December that requires the FWS to seek public comment and input from all stakeholders, before making decisions about whether trophy hunting in a particular country promotes the conservation of a species threatened with extinction.

Trump in November also described big-game trophy hunting as a “horror show,” and in January pledged to uphold the ban on importing trophies.

“Catering to the whims of a handful of wealthy Americans who want to display elephant and lion trophies to display their hunting prowess, FWS is going against the wishes of the majority of Americans who believe that the animals, and the nations where they thrive, are better off without trophy hunters,” the groups said.

Trophy hunting is a significant contributor to the economy of Namibia generating millions every year. Last year the environment ministry said conservancies on average generated about N$100 million a year through trophy hunting. About N$450 million is generated from hunting on private game farms per annum and trophy hunting generates around N$10 million in revenue for government annually.

In addition, about 15 000 jobs are created from hunting in various categories, including professional hunters, hunting guides, skinners and trackers.

A report published in 2016 indicates that Namibia is among the top three exporters of trophies to the US with 76 347 trophies (6%) that were exported from Namibia.

Between 2005 and 2014, more than 1.26 million wildlife trophies were imported to the US, with an average of more than 126 000 trophies every year. Most originated in Canada and South Africa, but other top countries of origin included Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia and Botswana.

According to the report African lion trophy hunts can cost between US$13 500 to 49 000.



ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

New technology to help monitor rhinos

2 days ago - 16 September 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK After a study on black rhinos in Namibia, new software has been developed by researchers in the United States that could help conservationists...

Support for San conservancies

1 week ago - 09 September 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThrough support from the tourism ministry and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Nyae Nyae and N#a Jaqna conservancies will be...

Zambezi hippos not critical

1 week ago - 08 September 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The environment ministry has clarified that hippos stranded in a pond in the Wuparo Conservancy in the Zambezi Region are not in...

EIF working to become self-sustainable

2 weeks ago - 03 September 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKDespite undeniable achievements in its eight years of operation, the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia remains challenged to meet the financial demands of...

Officials get 'teeth' to identify trafficked ivory

1 month - 18 August 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK A comprehensive new guide has been published to assist law enforcement agencies to identify trafficked ivory. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered...

Cecil threatens African wildlife conservation

1 month - 18 August 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies (Cecil) Act, currently being considered by the United States Congress, will...

Illegal sand miners warned

1 month - 12 August 2020 | Environment

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUThe environment ministry has condemned sand miners who start operations without obtaining environmental clearance certificates.They simply pay traditional authorities, who are grateful for the...

Training tomorrow's rhino rangers

1 month - 11 August 2020 | Environment

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEK The Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) has received a N$1.11 million donation from the Debmarine-Namdeb Foundation to develop innovative...

N?a Jaqna holds best AGM yet

1 month - 10 August 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK The N≠a Jaqna Conservancy recently held its most successful annual general meeting (AGM) to date in Mkata, situated in Tsumkwe West. ...

New executive appointments at tourism ministry

1 month - 06 August 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKSeveral new staff members were appointed at executive management level at the environment and tourism ministry today.Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta announced that Timoteus Mufeti...

Latest News

I won't muzzle Fishrot probe...

2 hours ago | Banking

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKBank of Namibia governor Johannes !Gawaxab has scoffed at claims that his appointment as the head of the central bank was politically motivated and...

We are not out of...

2 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKThe Covid-19 state of emergency expired last night and the onus is now on each individual to exercise maximum personal responsibility and vigilance, President...

Head-on collision claims four lives

2 hours ago | Accidents

ELIZABETH JOSEPHKEETMANSHOOPA car accident 15 km from Koës killed four people at around noon on Wednesday.It is alleged that two vehicles, one belonging to NamPower...

Time to work our socks...

2 hours ago | Opinion

As expected by every sensible person, President Hage Geingob yesterday announced the end of the Covid-19 state of emergency whose dark cloud has engulfed the...

Gertze's attempted murder case withdrawn

2 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) CEO Franz Gertze is off the hook after the Office of the Prosecutor-General declined to prosecute him for a shooting...

'Total disarray'

2 hours ago | Government

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUGrootfontein CEO Sisco Sinvula has written a five-page press statement in which he exposes what he describes as “total disarray” and an appalling state...

NSFAF to proceed with laptop...

2 hours ago | Education

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund will go ahead with its plan to procure laptop computers for students.The fund will only procure laptops for...

Grootfontein fraud probe drags on

2 hours ago | Police And Crime

Kenya KamboweRUNDU Eighteen months after a case was opened with the police, no arrests have yet been made in a fraud case that...

Suzy Eises announces new projects

2 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEK On top of bagging international collaborations courtesy of her talent and the power of Twitter, Suzy Eises recently shared that she is...

Load More