Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 15, 2018

Contacts:  Tanya Sanerib, (206) 379-7363,
Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495 (available on site for interviews)

As Elephant Killing Controversy Expands, Protesters to Urge Trump to Disband Biased Wildlife Panel

'Wildlife' Council, Meeting Friday, Stacked With Trophy Hunters, NRA Interests

WASHINGTON— Amid a growing controversy over imports of elephant and lion trophies, the Center for Biological Diversity will protest tomorrow morning against a new federal wildlife advisory committee stacked with trophy hunters and gun-industry representatives.

Protesters wearing elephant masks will gather at 9:15 a.m. Friday outside a meeting of the so-called International Wildlife Conservation Council at the Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C.

The council is composed almost entirely of hunting guides, “celebrity hunters,” and people affiliated with pro-trophy hunting organizations, gunmakers and the National Rifle Association. Fifteen of the council’s 16 members have trophy hunting or gun ties.

“If Trump really wants to stop the slaughter of elephants for trophies, he should shut down this biased thrill-kill council,” said Tanya Sanerib, international program legal director at the Center. “The administration can’t make wise decisions on trophy imports if it only listens to gunmakers and people who want to kill wildlife. Africa’s imperiled elephants need protection, not a bullet to the head.”

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 and “the benefits that result from United States citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting,” according to government documents.

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.

“Zinke isn’t just hopping into bed with the NRA and trophy hunters, he’s bringing the roses and champagne,” said Sanerib. “Trophy hunting targets Africa’s strongest, most majestic elephants and lions. Trump should follow through on his tweets and block the import of animal parts from this bloody business.”

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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