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recreational hunting

I want those tusks, everything else is secondary


Yesterday, Federal Court District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected pleas by the Safari Club International for a preliminary injunction against the elephant hunting trophy import moratorium placed on Tanzania and Zimbabwe by the USFWS in April.

The USFWS cited significant declines in elephant populations in Zimbabwe and Tanzania through poaching, and felt that additional pressure placed on populations through trophy hunting was not conducive to elephant conservation.

The SCI claimed that the moratorium irreparably harmed the recreational, conservationist, and economic interests of its members and of the Safari Club as an organization.

Specifically, the SCI claimed that:

  1. Members suffered irreparable harm to their recreational interests because the opportunity to import elephants from Zimbabwe and Tanzania has been suspended;
  2. Irreparable harm was done to SCI and members’ conservation interests. Specifically, the moratorium would place at risk communities’ jobs, meat supply, antipoaching activities of hunters and conservation of elephants through sustainable hunting.
  3. Irreparable economic harm would be done to members as they would lose deposits and money spent purchasing airline tickets, ammunition, firearms, training and video equipment.

Judge Jackson pointed out that the hunters still had every opportunity to hunt elephants in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and that the suspension merely covered the imports of trophies. Hunters, according to the Judge, remain free to “remember, recount and record any success they achieve”. Similarly, the Judge ruled that any harm to conservation interests and economic harm was self-inflicted by the hunters as it was their decision not to hunt.

What is important about this decision, that I urge you to read the text carefully, is that the Judge makes a clear distinction between the “right” to hunt, conserve, assist communities, prevent poaching etc – and bringing home a trophy.

She clearly takes apart all those arguments – if the trophy is the main reason to go hunting in Africa then the hunters will be affected by the moratorium. If the main reason to hunt in Africa is to assist in conservation of elephants then there is no impedance by the USFWS ruling.

And she thus reveals what recreational hunting in Africa is all about for US hunters who have brought the lawsuit. The trophy is key, conservation is secondary.

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Posted by Chris Macsween at 13:40

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