U.S. Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Hippos

WASHINGTON— Wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect hippos under the Endangered Species Act. The legal petition was filed by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Humane Society Legislative Fund and Center for Biological Diversity.

One of Africa’s most recognizable species, the common hippopotamus faces a high risk of extinction and is disappearing from the wild. With only as few as 115,000 adult hippos remaining in the wild in Africa today and increasing and unabating threats from habitat loss and degradation, poaching and trade in hippo parts — teeth, skulls, ivory, skin and meat — the future of hippos is uncertain.

The comprehensive analysis of trade included in today’s petition demonstrates that hippos are highly sought after by traders, poachers and trophy hunters for their ivory tusks and other body parts. The United States plays a key role in this trade. Over the last decade, the United States imported more hippo parts and products than any other country, including more than 9,000 teeth, 5,700 skin pieces, 4,400 small leather products, 2,000 trophies and 1,700 carvings. These imports represent a combined minimum of 3,081 hippos killed for legal trade. Many more hippos are poached and their parts enter trade. Listing under the Endangered Species Act would ensure near-total restrictions on most imports and sales.

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Media Contacts:

Endangered Species, Carnivore Conservation: Aaron Kunkler, Media Specialist –, (206) 949-5353
Energy Justice: Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (415) 632-5316
Climate: Nyshie Perkinson, Media Specialist –, (718) 928-5148
International, foreign species, wildlife trade, World Heritage:
Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (415) 632-5316
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Mary K. Reinhart, Media Specialist –, (602) 320-7309
Oceans, offshore drilling, Arctic: Patrick Sullivan, Media Director –, (415) 632-5316
Pesticides, toxics, air pollution, industrial agriculture and Environmental Health: Andy Parker, Media Specialist –, (503) 310-5569
Population and Sustainability: Kim Dinan, Media Specialist –, (513)535-1306
Urban Wildlands, Government Affairs: Wendy Leung, Senior Media Specialist –, (818) 625-3128

Patrick Sullivan, Media Director,, (415) 632-5316
Russ McSpadden, Creative Media Specialist – Media Photos,

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of jaguar by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity