June 10, 2015 – The Center filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have African elephants reclassified as two species, and uplist both to “endangered” status, which would tighten regulations on ivory imports and exports and bring attention to both species' conservation challenges.

March 15, 2016 – In response to our petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that African elephants may qualify for “endangered” status under the Endangered Species Act and may warrant reclassification as two separate species.

June 2, 2016 – The Obama administration announced new trade restrictions on elephant ivory, nearly shutting down the U.S. ivory market and making it much harder for traffickers to find cover for their illegal ivory imports.

November 15, 2016 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect Africa's two gravely imperiled elephant species as “endangered.” Unprecedented poaching for ivory and accelerating habitat loss has decimated both savannah and forest elephant populations over the past decade. 

November 16, 2017 – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke formally reversed an Obama administration ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. Making the announcement during a coup in the country, the Service claimed that Zimbabwe could sufficiently manage its elephant population well enough to enable U.S. hunters to resume importing trophies.

November 20, 2017 – The Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for allowing U.S. hunters to import elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe.

November 28, 2017 – The Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking public records about an African trip taken by President Trump’s director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just days before the administration reversed an Obama-era ban on important elephant trophies from Zimbabwe.

Savannah elephants photo courtesy Flickr/Steve Garvie