On February 23, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) denied two permits Conservation Force had filed to import elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. These elephants were hunted in February and early March, 2015.
In denying the applications, the FWS cited its March 26, 2015 negative enhancement finding. Conservation Force had submitted extensive documentation questioning and challenging this March 26, 2015 enhancement finding. (This is the last finding the FWS had made for Zimbabwe. It followed the April 2014 announcement of the import suspension on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and the July 2014 finding, which revised the initial April 2014 negative enhancement finding based on comments from Conservation Force and ZimParks.)
Any hunter who filed an application to import an elephant hunted in Zimbabwe in 2015, and whose application has been denied, should get in touch with Conservation Force as soon as possible. We are submitting a request for reconsideration based on the thousands of pages of updated information provided to the FWS. The FWS did not consider this data in its March 26, 2015 negative enhancement finding. But the FWS should have! In that March finding, the FWS left open the opportunity for applicants to submit additional data. It stated: "The suspension … of trophies taken during calendar year 2015 or future hunting seasons could be lifted if additional information on the status and management of elephants in Zimbabwe becomes available…" Apparently, the FWS did not consider the extensive additional information provided in denying these permits. We have a strong request for reconsideration, and we remain hopeful that we can establish imports for the 2015 hunting season (as well as 2016 and beyond).