By Barbara Crown, Editor-in-Chief
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already know about a false report that Zimbabwe had been granted the right to export elephant trophies to the US. The incorrect news report was posted online on July 6 on the Zimbabwe news website The Source
. Titled "Zim Gets US Waiver to Export Sport Hunting Trophies," the story quoted Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as saying that all trophies held in Zimbabwe since the import embargo would be exported in 2017 under "strict conditions."
We immediately checked with US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). Chief of Public Affairs Gavin Shire told us, "The ban on elephant trophy imports has not been lifted."
So, what "waiver" was Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri referring to? The confusion may be regarding Zimbabwe elephants hunted from April 4 to May 11, 2014. You may recall that FWS had imposed its import moratorium on April 4, before announcing it in the Federal Register. Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association challenged the ban in court. Though the suit over the moratorium itself continues in federal court, a district court has ruled that FWS could not legally impose the ban before announcing it in the Federal Register. That did not occur until May 12, 2014. For this reason, all elephant trophies from Zimbabwe taken from April 4 to May 11, 2014 may now be imported. Otherwise, the embargo still stands....