Wildlife SOS, an NGO based in India, has petitioned US Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke against President Donald Trump’s proposed move of lifting a 2014 ban on import of elephants trophies from two African nations.
On Thursday, the Trump administration had reversed an Obama-era ban to issue permits for elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, which environmental groups said would lead to more poaching.
However, after facing criticism from animal rights activists, Trump had yesterday put on hold the decision to import elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe into the US to “review all conservation facts”.
Co-founder of Wildlife SOS Kartick Satyanarayan said, “The argument has no scientific justification. As an organisation based in India where the government permits no such trophy, we can attest there are many other scientific ways to help wild populations without the need to hunt them.”
There is a need to not remove the existing protection measures that are in place for them, he said in a statement.
Nikki Sharp of the NGO, stationed in the US, said, “The announcement came as a shock to all of us. It’s an insult to everyone working to protect and conserve elephants, in particular in light of this supposed reasoning behind the decision — that hunting of these animals will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.”
“It is a massive step backward that will have direct and lethal effects on elephants,” Sharp said.
The number of elephants in the wild plummeted 30 percent overall between 2007 and 2014, despite large scale conservation efforts. In some places it has dropped more than 75 percent due to ivory poaching.
In 2016, there were just over 3,50,000 elephants still alive in the wild, down from millions in the early 20th century.