Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, June 18, 2018

Contact: Tanya Sanerib, (206) 379-7363,

After Trump Blasts Elephant Killing, Biased Trophy-hunting Panel to Meet in Atlanta

ATLANTA— The national controversy over trophy hunting for elephants and lions comes to Atlanta on Tuesday with the second meeting of a new federal wildlife advisory committee that the Trump administration stacked with trophy hunters and gun-industry representatives.

A representative of the Center for Biological Diversity, a national environmental group that opposes wildlife trophy hunting of imperiled species, will attend the meeting.

The Trump administration’s so-called International Wildlife Conservation Council is composed almost entirely of hunters and people affiliated with the National Rifle Association. Fifteen of the council’s 16 members have ties to trophy hunting or guns.

On Twitter Trump has blasted trophy hunting as a “horror show.” Yet the council was created by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke specifically to advise the Trump administration on the “removal of barriers” to trophy imports, documents show.

“This panel was stacked with trophy hunters in defiance of Trump’s elephant-killing concerns, and we can’t trust these foxes to guard the henhouse,” said Tanya Sanerib, international program legal director at the Center. “To give elephants a shot at avoiding extinction, the president should shut down this biased thrill-kill council. We can’t leave wildlife import decisions in the hands of hunters with a vested interest in gunning down imperiled species.”

What: Meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Council, a federal panel advising the Trump administration on the “removal of barriers” to wildlife trophy imports.

When: Tuesday, June 19, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region Headquarters Building, 1875 Century Boulevard NE, Atlanta.

Who: A representative of the Center for Biological Diversity will attend to offer comment.

In November 2017 Zinke formally reversed an Obama administration ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s elephant population continues to decline as a result of poaching, and the Obama-era ban came in part because of a lack of evidence that trophy hunting was contributing to conservation.

Zinke’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided to begin approving trophy imports on a case-by-case basis. Botswana’s President Ian Khama criticized America’s case-by-case importing approach, saying it will encourage elephant poaching. The Great Elephant Census recently documented that poaching claimed the lives of 140,000 elephants over seven years.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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