SCI Continues Battle to Challenge Elephant Importation Bans

elephantsatwaterfirstforhunters052114SCI continues to fight the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in court over its bans on the importation of sport-hunted elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania. On Friday, May 16th, SCI attorneys filed a reply brief in support of SCI’s request that the Court order an emergency revocation of the importation bans. SCI’s reply brief explained to the Court that despite the FWS’s recent attempts to characterize the Zimbabwe ban as “temporary,” the government has offered the public no guarantee of any plan to imminently allow the resumption of trophy importation. SCI’s brief also refutes the government’s claim that the bans have not yet caused harm to those who hope to import elephants from Tanzania. The government argued that, to import a trophy from Tanzania, a hunter must first apply to the FWS for an import permit. SCI explained to the Court that because the FWS will apply illegal criteria when considering each application – criteria that SCI has challenged in its lawsuit – the submission of applications would be a futile exercise. SCI’s brief also demonstrated how the FWS ignored the advice of its own high level personnel who recommended that the agency inform and consult with Zimbabwe and Tanzania and with non-governmental organizations like SCI before making the decision to impose the bans. Finally, SCI explained to the Court that the FWS imposed the bans with full knowledge of the economic and conservation harms that SCI’s members and others would suffer.

 

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