Rep. Grijalva Releases Updated Trophy Hunting Report as Trump-Zinke Moves Threaten Future of Multiple Endangered Species

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today released an updated version of a report on trophy hunting and endangered species protection that his staff initially released in 2016 in response to the tragic killing of Zimbabwe’s famed Cecil the Lion. The release comes in the wake of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recent announcements that he plans to create a federal advisory committee to promote the hunting of imperiled wildlife and to allow the importation of elephant and lion trophies from several African countries.

The report, titled Missing the Mark: African Trophy Hunting Fails to Show Consistent Conservation Benefits, takes a hard look at the rationale for allowing Americans to import hunting trophies of threatened and endangered species. It finds that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service often grants import permits for trophies that do not meet the legal requirement of enhancing the propagation or survival of the species in the wild and makes a number of recommendations for improving the program.

The updated report is available at http://bit.ly/2AkJju4.

Among other findings, the report showed that some countries where these species are hunted have serious corruption problems that make it nearly impossible to verify information provided on the supposed conservation impacts of trophy hunts. This is a major concern in Zimbabwe, which consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt and unstable countries in the world even before the coup that deposed Robert Mugabe last month. While the recent decision to allow elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia has been put on hold, significant work needs to be done before imports can be allowed.

The report also sheds some light on the extremely wealthy demographic that travels from the United States to Africa to kill threatened and endangered animals for sport. For example, the estimated cost to hunt, kill, and import a white rhinoceros trophy from South Africa is at least twice the annual income of the average American family.

Grijalva issued the following statement:

“President Trump wants a taxpayer-funded public relations department for his rich, elitist sons for the same reason he hates the inheritance tax: he thinks the government works for his family. Our report lays out clear recommendations to clean up the trophy hunting industry and make sure our environmental laws don’t just help a privileged few. Secretary Zinke thinks the big game hunter fantasy lifestyle is the basis for real policy, and endangered species are going to suffer for it.”

Grijalva is the author of H.R. 502, a bill to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund that has 211 bipartisan cosponsors, but has not been granted a hearing by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. Last week, Grijalva and former Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Chairman Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 4489, the Authorizing Critical Conservation for Sportsmen and Sportswomen (ACCESS) Act. ACCESS includes a host of titles with bipartisan support that are priorities for the sporting community and leaves out the anti-conservation and anti-gun safety provisions that sank Republicans’ heavily partisan SHARE Act earlier this year.

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