So what's going on? Apparently, new regulations on the shipping of trophies from Ethiopia have complicated the system there, increasing required paperwork and bureaucracy. Basically, new rules now require that all trophies ship within three months of the safari end date. Normally, that would be a good development, but I hear that state-appointed taxidermist Ethiopian Taxidermy Enterprises is simply unable to get shipments processed and shipped before the deadline. As a result, shipments are held for long periods in unfavorable conditions while special permission and new permits must be obtained to export the shipments held past the deadline. Some operators have told us privately that Ethiopian Taxidermy Enterprises is "probably the worst taxidermist in Africa."
Jason Roussos of Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris (ERVS) told me his company's dissatisfaction with Ethiopian Taxidermy Enterprise is why ERVS created its own shipping department over 10 years ago to process and ship trophies. He says none of his clients have experienced any shipment delays because ERVS doesn't use Ethiopian Taxidermy Enterprises. "Government cannot do a better job than the private sector!" he writes. Because of the problems other outfitters are experiencing, however, Roussos says there was talk of extending the deadline for shipment from three to five months.
I tried to reach Fetene Hailu of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to verify that the government may indeed increase the deadline from three to five months, but I........(continued)