SCI Sues to Challenge African Elephant Importation Ban

USFWS elephant import banFor Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yesterday, Safari Club International filed a lawsuit to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) abrupt and unwarranted bans on the importation of sport-hunted African elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. The FWS issued the importation ban on April 4th without consultation of the nations affected or the hunters impacted.

“SCI acted swiftly to develop this lawsuit to correct the errors in the Service’s importation ban decision as well as the harm that the bans will cause to elephant conservation,” said SCI President Craig Kauffman.  “African elephant hunting is an excellent example of how U.S. hunters can make a powerfully positive contribution to the conservation of a species. Congress and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have repeatedly acknowledged that poachers are the threat to elephant conservation, and that hunters offer a solution.  It is time for the Service to stop putting obstacles in the way of the legal hunting that plays an invaluable role in international species conservation.  Unless the government reverses these bans, they will do more harm than good.  We file this suit in the hope that it will require the Service and the Court to reverse this tragic situation.”

The importation bans that SCI’s lawsuit challenges will und
ermine on-the-ground conservation benefits created by U.S. hunters.  For example, three game management areas alone in Zimbabwe produce roughly US $500,000 annually and 85% is applied directly back to local projects for villages. Similarly in Tanzania sport hunting employs approximately 3,700 people and supports over 88,000 families. This revenue provides local communities with conservation resources and incentives and discourages poaching.  The loss of this revenue could be devastating to elephant survival.

Without sport-hunted elephant importation, that revenue will dry up. Without the ability to import the most significant symbol of their effort and success, many U.S. hunters will not undertake the huge expense of an elephant hunt.  The absence of U.S. hunters will undermine the outfitting industry, which often provides the first line of defense against poaching.  It will also reduce conservation dollars derived from the hunting fees and community support for elephant conservation.  SCI hopes that its lawsuit will reverse the bans and reinstate these positive impacts.

About SCI’s Lawsuit:

SCI filed its lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia.  SCI’s attorneys will be making every effort to obtain a quick resolution of the matter. SCI’s suit attacks the inadequacy of the information on which the FWS based its decision and the Service’s failure to consider the beneficial impacts that U.S. hunters and sport hunting have on African elephant conservation, including the economic deterrent to  poaching that is funded by hunters.

For the ban on elephant importation from Zimbabwe, SCI also challenges the FWS’s failure to follow the very procedures the agency set out for announcing and implementing a suspension of sport hunted elephant importation, as well as the Service’s decision to require an enhancement of survival finding before allowing sport hunted elephant importation.  SCI’s challenge to the ban on Tanzania’s sport hunted elephant importation also attacks the Service’s failure to notify and include the public in the decision-making and the Service’s use of an erroneous decision-making analysis to determine the impact of sport hunted elephant importation on the survival of the African elephant population in Tanzania.



2 Responses to “SCI Sues to Challenge African Elephant Importation Ban”
  1. Dan McCarron says:

    Here at home, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is attacking the sport of falconry (hunting with a trained bird of prey) by arbitrarily banning the capture of Golden Eagles by licensed U. S. falconers. Provided for in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Congress has allowed properly credentialed falconers to capture Golden Eagles in areas where eagles are depredating on domestic livestock. State game and fish agencies are willing and very capable of administering the program.

    Falconry already is the most heavily regulated hunting sport in the U.S. The states are doing a great job of administering the sport of falconry and could do the same concerning eagles.

    Paradoxically, it was the FWS who set up and established the very licensing criteria allowing a handful of U.S. falconers to possess, train, and hunt with eagles. Yet they won’t allow falconers who have gone through the extensive qualifying and licensing process to actually capture and obtain an eagle for falconry purposes.

    American falconers wanting to fly and hunt with eagles are quite possibly the smallest group of American hunters. The FWS could very well eradicate falconry with eagles by regulating the take of eagles for falconry purposes out of existence. This was not the intent of Congress.

    Hunters are true conservationists who care deeply about the wildlife resource. I’ve been a hunter most of my life. I’m not sure where the FWS stands on hunting anymore. They appear to have an agenda that’s not hunter friendly.

  2. Ryan Shallom says:

    Governments are forgetting their core purpose of serving their people – they take for granted their power and authority and use them to serve their interests first. It is clear to see, well documented and scientifically proven that sustainable selective hunting methods are necessary for the well-being of wildlife and wild habitats – it is how Eco-systems have worked since the beginning of time. Only difference is that man is today the main custodian to this balance. Their agenda is not hunter friendly nor common-sense friendly.

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