The animal rights group Friends of Animals recently submitted a request to the federal government via the Freedom of Information Act. The purpose of the request was to obtain information regarding permits that have been issued for the importing of lion trophies over the past two years. Their findings are disheartening among conservationists.
The study revealed that since 2016, the US government has issued permits for the importing of 38 lions killed in African nations. An interesting fact is that more than half of the individuals issued those permits have made donations to the Republican party and/or are members of Safari Club International.
The Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as other entities within the Trump administration, have all made statements regarding this topic. The statements vary slightly, but they all pretty much say the same thing. In a nutshell, the government is claiming that all permits are reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis and that decisions to allow the import of hunted African trophy animals will be issued because “it aids in the conservation of the species.”
Not surprisingly, the concept of aiding in the conservation of an endangered species by hunting it doesn’t sit too well with many conservation groups. As a result, many groups joined together and filed a lawsuit in March, the basis of which is that the guidelines set forth by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Priscilla Feral, the president of Friends of Animals, had the following to say in a statement regarding the idea of hunting endangered animals to protect them:
“If African wildlife is to survive the next few decades in their homelands, these elephants, lions and other animals ― coveted by hunters for their strength and beauty ― must be worth more alive than dead. That means safeguarding habitat along with photographic safaris and ecotourism must outpace blood-drenched trophy hunting expeditions. Trophy hunting must expire and collapse from its own dead weight.”
It’s hard to argue with the logic but the millions of dollars raised for many of the lawmakers currently in office by many of the hunters who have been issued such permits has a tendency to expand the grey areas of the law.