Target: Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Daniel M. Ashe
Goal: Commend current and encourage future protection of elephants
Elephants may be a few steps closer to stability thanks to a wise decision by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). With dwindling numbers in the wild, elephants of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are in danger of extinction. Because of this, the USFWS has ordered a halt on elephant imports into the United States. This ban is scheduled to be readdressed for possible removal in the coming year. While this current ban is a major victory for the elephants of these countries, this ban must not be lifted even if elephant numbers prove to be stable in the future.
There is a growing need to address illegal poaching issues in the countries of Africa. Elephants are hunted for sport by those seeking to gain bragging rights as a big-game hunter; the elephant population in Tanzania and Zimbabwe are incredibly unstable and the senseless quest for their lives is proving to be too much for the species. The USFWS has been researching the elephant population issues and has concluded that even if trophy hunting is not a direct cause of dwindling elephant numbers, the practice does nothing to help necessary conservation efforts to stabilize the species.
Trophy hunting is unfortunately currently legal, which is the reason that the ban is temporary. Big-game hunters from the United States outnumber hunters from any other area of the world. On average, fifty-two elephants are imported into the United States from Tanzania annually. This new rule does not ban the hunting; it only bans importing the animal itself. The elephant population will be evaluated again by the USFWS next year; if numbers are again stable the importing will be allowed to resume.
Trophy hunting of any kind should not be condoned, especially of the big game sort. Even upon a positive evaluation the USFWS should place a permanent ban on all trophy-hunt imports. Commend the director of the USFWS for his dedication to the elephants of Africa and urge him to make the ban on trophy-hunt imports permanent.
Dear Daniel M. Ashe,
I am writing to commend the USFWS’s decision to temporarily ban the importation of trophy-hunted elephants in the United States. While this ban poses an amazing opportunity for elephants to stabilize their numbers, it may not be enough to ensure their utmost safety in the future.
Even if the elephant populations in Zimbabwe and Tanzania are stable come next year I urge you to consider making a permanent ban on imports. Trophy hunting is not conducive to healthy animal populations, even if there are stable numbers. This sport only lends to bragging rights and disrespect for the creatures with whom we share this earth. Please consider a permanent ban to help ensure that elephant populations are able to thrive for years to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr