Yesterday, Rep. Vern Buchanans offered an amendment to HR 3055, which contains the Interior appropriations bills. The amendment would ban funds to issue permits for the import of legally hunted elephants or lions from Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Zambia. We urge you to contact Rep. Vern Buchanans office at 202-225-5015 and request that he withdraws the amendment.
Below are some talking points that support the opposition to this amendment.
- African elephant and lions are currently regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement between 193 governments, including Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the United States. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Both the African elephant and lion are already regulated under CITES, specifically under Appendix I & II, respectively. As part of this process, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) already strictly regulates the importation of sport hunted elephants and lions;
- The populations of elephants and lions are doing best in the hunting countries of Southern and Eastern Africa, including Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The safari hunting by Americans is the conservation linchpin of the populations of those species that are stable, growing and in many instances excessive. Quite simply, without the presence of safari operators, poaching of elephants and lions will increase;
- The USFWS actively works with African range states to assist them in complying with CITES directives and resolutions to avoid sanctions and maintain legal, sustainable trade in animal products. Passage of this amendment will only serve as a disincentive to this process that is the international backbone of wildlife trade and management;
- Legal, ethical, sustainable, fair chase hunting is the basis on which the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat has been built in Africa for decades. To try to do away with it because of emotional, uninformed and highly publicized portrayals is not only short-sighted, but would bring about the end of conservation as we know it and, ultimately, the demise of the wildlife and wildlife habitat in Africa; and
- Regulated hunting gives hunted species the highest value to millions of rural Africans. In all but a few instances, safari hunting revenue and game fees are the greatest and most accessible asset of rural people. Moreover, the species are renewable perpetually.