US Fish and Game extend Elephant ban into 2015 for Zimbabwe

Uintaelkhunter

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Service Announces Decisions on Import of Sport-Hunted Trophies to Further Conservation of Rhinos and Elephants
Authorizes Imports with Clear Conservation Benefits, Denies Those Without
March 26, 2015
Contact(s):

Laury Parramore
Laury_parramore@fws.gov
703-358-2541


Based on extensive assessments of the conservation and management programs of black rhinos in Namibia and elephants in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has found that the import of two sport-hunted black rhinoceros trophies from Namibia will benefit conservation of the species, while the import of any elephant sport-hunted trophy from Zimbabwe will not. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service authorizes imports for sport-hunted trophies of elephants and rhinos only when hunting in the country of origin is well-regulated, sustainable and benefits conservation of the species in question.

“United States citizens make up a disproportionately large share of foreign hunters who book trophy hunts in Africa,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “That gives us a powerful tool to support countries that are managing wildlife populations in a sustainable manner and incentivize others to strengthen their conservation and management programs.”

The black rhino hunts associated with the imports of two sport-hunted trophies are consistent with the conservation strategy of Namibia, a country whose rhino population is steadily increasing, and will generate a combined total of $550,000 for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching efforts and community development programs in Namibia.

Namibia’s Black Rhinoceros Conservation Strategy concentrates on maximizing population growth rates through biological management and range expansion, with an overall goal of increasing Namibia’s black rhino population by at least five percent per year. Under this strategy,

Namibia’s black rhino population more than doubled between 2001 and 2012. Local communities are an integral part of this strategy and receive direct benefits from the presence of black rhinos, thereby providing a disincentive to poaching.

In North America, trophy game hunting has led to the restoration of the white-tailed deer, elk, moose and a number of other species. As the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and other international wildlife management and conservation organizations recognize, well-managed wildlife programs that include limited, sustainable sport hunting can and have provided significant long-term benefits to the populations of many species. By law, the Service cannot and will not allow trophies of certain protected species into the United States that were hunted in any nation whose conservation program fails to meet high standards for transparency, scientific management and effectiveness.

Annually, Namibia’s management plan for black rhinos allows the harvest of five males, a decision that has also been supported by the member countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Although these rhinos may still be physically capable of reproducing, they are presumed to be genetically well-represented in the population and their removal may provide the opportunity for younger, less dominant males to reproduce, leading to a possible population increase.

“The future of Africa’s wildlife is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade, not responsible, scientifically managed sport hunting,” said Ashe. “We remain committed to combating heinous wildlife crimes while supporting activities that empower and encourage local communities to be a part of the solution.”

In contrast to Namibia’s exemplary management and conservation program for black rhinos, Zimbabwe’s elephant management plan primarily consists of two outdated documents that lack information on their implementation and the progress made toward meeting stated goals and objectives. Although Zimbabwe has recently made strides in gathering data on its elephant population, it still does not have adequate information to establish scientifically defensible hunting quotas. For 2015, Zimbabwe has set its own export quota for elephant sport-hunted trophies at 500 individuals, but it’s unclear how that number was decided and if biological factors were taken into account.

Due to the inadequacy of information on Zimbabwe’s elephant management program, as well as lingering questions about law enforcement and the use of hunting revenues, a suspension on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe has been in place for trophies taken on or after April 4, 2014. Today the Service announced this suspension extends into 2015 and indefinitely into the future. The Service could reconsider this suspension if information is received that documents that the situation in Zimbabwe meets the criteria established under the ESA.

During a 30-day public comment period on the import of two black rhino trophies hunted in Namibia, the Service received more than 15,000 individual comments and more than 135,000 petition signatures. The Service reviewed each of those comments for scientific or technical information to inform its decision and carefully considered the concerns and perspectives of commenters.


For more information on the decision to authorize the import of two sport-hunted black rhinoceros trophies hunted in Namibia, please refer to: http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/black-rhino-import-permit.html.

For more information on the decision to continue the suspension on the import of sport-hunted elephant trophies hunted in Zimbabwe, please refer to: http://www.fws.gov/international/pd...pension-of-elephant-sport-hunted-trophies.pdf.



http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=56D54860-AEA6-0EEE-73467FE9B00499F0
 
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Uintaelkhunter

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Due to the inadequacy of information on Zimbabwe’s elephant management program, as well as lingering questions about law enforcement and the use of hunting revenues, a suspension on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe has been in place for trophies taken on or after April 4, 2014. Today the Service announced this suspension extends into 2015 and indefinitely into the future. The Service could reconsider this suspension if information is received that documents that the situation in Zimbabwe meets the criteria established under the ESA.
 

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I guess the Zim Elephant Outfitters will be adapting and the US hunters won't be bringing the Ivory home.
 

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Interesting that they approved the Rhino imports. The message seems to be that Namibia has it together and Zimbabwe doesn't. I don't agree with the heavy handed approach, but that message seems to be on track.
 

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Are any of us surprised - NO.


Zimbabwe for all of its faults is a success story when it comes to elephants. Such a success story that they have way to many elephants. They don't have the money to cull them. World sentiment won't let Zimbabwe cull them. USFW with this ruling just signed a cull order. It will be done by poachers with no benefit going back into National Parks, Forestry, Campfire/RDC's, or the local communities.

Wonder what the over/under number would be for the elephant population in Zimbabwe in the year 2025. Bet it is significantly below Rhodesia's old threshold number of 46,500. A drop of 50%+?

Zimbabwe just got it's elephant population under control. In ten years USFW will say; "We told you Zimbabwe didn't have a self sustaining population of elephant back in 2015. That is why we set this ruling in place. Aren't we smart." Then they will look around to see what other species they can save!

We talk about the golden age of African hunting and look back fondly. We should be thankful we live when we do. There is a real chance that we are one of the last two generations of international hunters. Enjoy it while you can!

All the best.
 

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dsc.png


Feds Approve Rhino Permit

DALLAS - A Texas hunter has received from the U.S. government a permit to bring home the taxidermy from a planned hunt for a black rhino in Namibia.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - which administers the Endangered Species Act and regulates Americans' associated activities - approved the import permit based on the scientific and financial validity of the rhino hunt.

Read the agency's announcement.

DSC, the conservation organization that auctioned the hunt in early 2014, says the federal approval is vindication for biologists in Africa who prescribed the hunt as way to grow rhino populations. Aged, non-breeding male rhinos are known to charge and kill younger bulls, cows and even calves. This behavior, well documented in scientific literature, jeopardizes the future of a herd. Removing these animals enhances herd productivity.

DSC auctioned the permit for $350,000 - reportedly the highest price ever paid for a big-game hunting permit in Africa - with 100 percent of proceeds going to Namibia for rhino conservation, habitat and anti-poaching initiatives.

"Animal rights extremists bashed the scientists, threatened the buyer and harassed DSC. Now that the world's leading conservation agency has approved the hunt as a way to help rhino populations, and issued an import permit, I hope some of the naysayers will make an effort to actually understand what they were protesting," said Ben Carter, DSC executive director.

To help, DSC has posted some myths and facts about "trophy hunting."

Namibia is authorized to sell up to five rhino hunting licenses a year. With hunting as part of its management plan, and with associated funds to fuel conservation and law enforcement programs, Namibia's black rhino population has grown from 60 animals in 1966 to about 1,500 today.

The rhino hunt may be scheduled for later this year or even 2016.

Carter commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its professionalism throughout the permitting process and public comment period.



Source: Dallas Safari Club (DSC)
dsc.png
 

Uintaelkhunter

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I am happy to see they allowed Namibia rhino as I think it is a huge win for the species and the money raised from just two animals will benefit them greatly. It is sad however for the elephant and Zimbabwe as wheels said the amount lost to poaching over the next few years will be horrendous. I hope the outfitters can survive and keep the poaching under control but I fear without the funds and value place on elephant from the USA it will be a lost cause.
I have been waiting for the ruling ever sence they closed it last year as I was in the stage of shopping and book a hunt last year or this year. Namibia is out of my price as it was double the cost of a zim hunt and now with this ruling any tags left will be gone if not already for the next few years and those countries lucky enough to be able to export to the USA. I think wheel said it best we could be the last generation of international hunter And this is the last of the good old days I fear the USA will follow Australia with lion next
 

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Zimbabwe for all of its faults is a success story when it comes to elephants. Such a success story that they have way to many elephants. They don't have the money to cull them. World sentiment won't let Zimbabwe cull them. USFW with this ruling just signed a cull order. It will be done by poachers with no benefit going back into National Parks, Forestry, Campfire/RDC's, or the local communities.

Wonder what the over/under number would be for the elephant population in Zimbabwe in the year 2025. Bet it is significantly below Rhodesia's old threshold number of 46,500. A drop of 50%+?

Zimbabwe just got it's elephant population under control. In ten years USFW will say; "We told you Zimbabwe didn't have a self sustaining population of elephant back in 2015. That is why we set this ruling in place. Aren't we smart." Then they will look around to see what other species they can save!

We talk about the golden age of African hunting and look back fondly. We should be thankful we live when we do. There is a real chance that we are one of the last two generations of international hunters. Enjoy it while you can!

All the best.

+1.
 

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Just out of curiosity, is it possible to legally sell Tusks and hides in Africa, from an Elephant hunted legally
 

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Just out of curiosity, is it possible to legally sell Tusks and hides in Africa, from an Elephant hunted legally

All but positive that it is legal.
 

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Zimbabwe for all of its faults is a success story when it comes to elephants. Such a success story that they have way to many elephants.

Bob,

is it really a success story from Parks? Have they really managed the population (and poaching) that well, or is it just blind luck, or good outfitters doing the job in spite of the government?

Not arguing, I truly don't know enough on the subject and would like your opinion.
 

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I thought USFW lost a lawsuit over the zimb/Tanzania elephant ban????
 

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Bob,

is it really a success story from Parks? Have they really managed the population (and poaching) that well, or is it just blind luck, or good outfitters doing the job in spite of the government?

Not arguing, I truly don't know enough on the subject and would like your opinion.

Royal,

It would be best if one of the guys from Zimbabwe spoke up here. I am certainly not an expert, but am happy to share my understanding of the situation.

Realize Rhodesia had culling programs that went on with some PH's shooting thousands of elephant. This was to keep the various ecosystems in balance and the total population below 46,500. These culling efforts ceased in the 70's as the bushwar heated up. The elephant population took off.

From my understanding it is probably more by accident but there are a number of factors:

- Some good outfitters and areas that are well maintained.

- Some areas that are not heavily populated (relatively) by humans. Lower human/elephant conflict.

- The heavy elephant poaching in East Africa in the 70's-80's had slowed down. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe survived these problems. The poaching problems didn't start up in a big way again until the early 2000's. Mozambique and Tanzania have been the low hanging fruit up to this point.

- Pressure from an overpopulated Kruger NP in the se part of the country. Elephants come into Zim from there.

- Extreme pressure from an over crowded/populated Botswana along the western border. It is my understanding that 90 years ago there was an elephant population in Hwange NP area of 2500 elephant. (There wasn't much year round water) With the advent of boreholes in the NP the population is now around 50,000. This is not only a Zimbabwe problem but a Botswana problem as well. If you killed all the elephants in Hwange they would probably be replaced within a couple of years from the part of the herd that lives in Botswana.

There are some threads here on AH that mention some of these points if you want to look them up.

Not sure if this answers your questions. If others have better information, or can add to the list it would be great.

All the best.
 

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Yes elephants come out of Kruger into Zimbabwe... the 12 days we were there, they crossed over every night and apparently because of a better food supply... Drive through parts of Kruger and it looks like a desert! Nothing but sticks left after the elephants devastated the areas. In another area the lived in Zimbabwe and crossed into Kruger to raid tomato fields in RSA.

From the reading I have done, Botswana may be topped out on elephants. To the point where two things happen, they migrate out to other places, and the young and weak ones die of thirst and starvation.

The elephant debacle in Africa is one of our great wildlife tragedies that is unfolding right now. That history is being made now and it does not look to be good for wildlife nor the people. Politics is driving the decisions, not science.

What needs to be recognized and accepted is that there are less total elephants in the World than there once was and that is not going to change. There is more human encroachment, thus less room for elephants (and lions). However in many, perhaps most, areas that have elephants, there are too many to maintain a sustainable ecosystem. The first thing that goes is the food source for the herbivore , then the plants as a whole die out and then the soil erodes away. The predators cannot live without prey and eventually the scavengers have nothing left. This is the irreversible loss.... Without good soil (and water), there is no food for anything.... Might be cockroaches left? When the plants are gone that hold the soil from washing away in the rains and blowing away in the dry season, the soil will erode away and that good top soil is at least tens of thousands of years old. It is not replaceable in many lifetimes! Soil water and sun is essential to all life, at least on land.

In the name of saving elephants, the other water dependent grazing and browsing animals are being made extinct in those areas. They cannot travel as far to and from water and food sources. What makes an elephant that much more important that we need such an overburden of them to the point that everything else is in jeopardy? The politics are blind to this. There are legitimate scientific minds screaming this message to deaf ears.

The other thing about elephant trophy hunting, is how does it damage an elephant population? We walked amongst a herd of about 50 elephants, there were 27 bulls in that herd! That was one of 4 areas we hunted. There were a heck of a lot more elephants than that around! We did not keep count but we saw hundreds over the 12 days. I think that outfitter only takes about 5 elephants per year... Very sustainable and he probably should be taking more. It does not require that many male elephants to maintain reproduction. I would contend that by taking out a few old bulls, it makes the herd healthier and certainly leaves more resources for the young and female elephants. Not to mention for the Kudu and Nyala, etc.
 

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well said bob,
between elephants and whales , they are the big earners for green peace.
both are at manageable numbers where utilasation , of a renewable resource, can be done for the greater of the specie.
more so on the elephant front .
but the greens cant say this as there donatations would plummet , and maybe the 60% of there young vouleenters ( girls under 28)
wouldn't be as voicstrous.
 

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Great that the US thinks it knows best for all nations.... Are we going to ban car imports from Japan because they still hunt whales? Or how about all the goods flowing in from China because of the illegal rhino imports. Dan Ashe needs to be an elected official, not appointed, so he has to answer for his actions.
 

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Royal,

It would be best if one of the guys from Zimbabwe spoke up here. I am certainly not an expert, but am happy to share my understanding of the situation.

Realize Rhodesia had culling programs that went on with some PH's shooting thousands of elephant. This was to keep the various ecosystems in balance and the total population below 46,500. These culling efforts ceased in the 70's as the bushwar heated up. The elephant population took off.

From my understanding it is probably more by accident but there are a number of factors:

- Some good outfitters and areas that are well maintained.

- Some areas that are not heavily populated (relatively) by humans. Lower human/elephant conflict.

- The heavy elephant poaching in East Africa in the 70's-80's had slowed down. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe survived these problems. The poaching problems didn't start up in a big way again until the early 2000's. Mozambique and Tanzania have been the low hanging fruit up to this point.

- Pressure from an overpopulated Kruger NP in the se part of the country. Elephants come into Zim from there.

- Extreme pressure from an over crowded/populated Botswana along the western border. It is my understanding that 90 years ago there was an elephant population in Hwange NP area of 2500 elephant. (There wasn't much year round water) With the advent of boreholes in the NP the population is now around 50,000. This is not only a Zimbabwe problem but a Botswana problem as well. If you killed all the elephants in Hwange they would probably be replaced within a couple of years from the part of the herd that lives in Botswana.

There are some threads here on AH that mention some of these points if you want to look them up.

Not sure if this answers your questions. If others have better information, or can add to the list it would be great.

All the best.

Thanks!

That was exactly what I was looking for. I had guessed at much of this, but nice to know the facts. I'll do some searching here too. Trying to get myself better educated....
 

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Great that the US thinks it knows best for all nations.... Are we going to ban car imports from Japan because they still hunt whales? Or how about all the goods flowing in from China because of the illegal rhino imports. Dan Ashe needs to be an elected official, not appointed, so he has to answer for his actions.

We cannot ban Japanese cars from US importation.
Otherwise, the Vegenazis would not have their Subarus to drive to their Anti-Automobile Industry Protests.
 

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