Justin Jones, Assistant Editor
In Mar., we received word from Conservation Force that USFWS had denied several applications for import permits for elephant trophies hunted in Zimbabwe in 2015 during the suspension of elephant imports from that country. (See our Mar. 2 email news bulletin
.) These applications were submitted under the new permitting regulations introduced in Jul. 2016, which require USFWS import permits for all elephant trophies under a new 4(d) rule in the Endangered Species Act (see Article 3815
). The denied permits were applied retroactively for elephants taken before the permitting requirement went into effect.
Continuing readers recall that USFWS first suspended elephant imports from Zimbabwe in 2014 after issuing a finding that it could not determine that sport hunting of African elephant enhanced survival of wild elephant, citing insufficient data. USFWS reaffirmed this decision with another negative enhancement finding on Zimbabwe elephant on Mar. 26, 2015.
In response to the 2014 and 2015 findings, Conservation Force, ZimParks, CAMPFIRE Association, ZPHGA and others have provided USFWS with substantial new information to back a positive finding for the import of Zimbabwe elephant. Conservation Force and others hoped that the data provided would also encourage USFWS to allow imports for elephants taken during the suspension.
The new permitting requirement provided a further avenue for administrative relief from continuing suspension of Zimbabwe elephant trophy imports, because it gave those who took elephant during the suspension an opportunity to provide additional enhancement information and to have the USFWS reconsider its findings on Zimbabwe's elephant program in light of new information....