Attempting to lift the animal trophy ban in the U.S. will have consequences

Throughout Donald Trump’s administration, he and the Republicans have been reversing many of the policies put in place by previous presidents. However, the most atrocious attempt was trying to lift the ban on importing animal hunting trophies. But, after receiving backlash, Trump decided to delay the policy reversal and look at the “conservation facts,” and claimed he didn’t know his administration was trying to lift the ban.

The current ban was put in place in 2014 by the U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service, under former president Barack Obama. According to a National Geographic article, the ban was put in place due to “the service finding that the hunts didn’t contribute to the survival of the species.”

Currently, this ban affects Zimbabwe and Zambia, two of the worst countries in Africa for trophy hunting.

One of the animals who will likely be the most affected is the elephant, which is hunted for sport and killed for its ivory tusks. The very hunting of these animals has led to the elephant becoming a threatened species according to the Endangered Species Act.

This Act specifically references what are known as the Big Five, which aside from the elephant, include the rhino, the lion, the Cape buffalo, and the leopard.

After reading a National Geographic article on the subject, one can see that the law currently requires that the import of an elephant or elephant parts must somehow contribute to their conservation in the wild.

Despite the ban now being in effect, there are still serious concerns about whether the proceeds from elephant hunts actually go towards conserving and protecting the species, as big game hunters claim. Isn’t the idea that killing more will save the species counterintuitive?

The removal of this ban would have horrendous consequences for threatened and endangered species.

Suddenly, wealthy men and women from around the world who travel to Zambia or Zimbabwe to enjoy the sport of hunting exotic animals—most likely elephants and lions—will have the opportunity to take the whole animal or part of the kill back as a trophy. Just like that, the creature will have gone from running with its pride or herd to having its head on a wall, or its tusks carved into a decorative object.

The human species needs to protect as many creatures as possible, especially those who are currently under threat of extinction due to our greed and our disrespect for our environment.

 The fact of the matter is simple:  we are eliminating species to the point of their extinction, to the point where they become the central piece of myths and legends. Isn’t it time for us to stop murdering other species for our enjoyment of a ‘sport?’

Saving species is a race against time. If we don’t change our current mentality and potential actions, soon these creatures will cease to exist and we will have no one but ourselves to blame.