Dem bill would restrict trophy hunting imports
The top House Democrat overseeing endangered species is proposing new restrictions on the ability of trophy hunters to bring parts of animals they have hunted back into the United States.
The bill from Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, would mandate permits for hunters to bring in trophies of animals that have been proposed for Endangered Species Act protections, and codify the requirement that any trophy imports must help conservation of the animal’s species.
It would also prohibit elephant and lion trophy imports from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Grijalva named the legislation the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act, or CECIL Animal Trophies Act, after Cecil the African lion whose 2015 killing by American dentist and big-game hunter Walter Palmer caused an international uproar.
The Democrat introduced his legislation late Tuesday, in advance of the Natural Resources Committee’s consideration this week of a handful of GOP-backed bills to ease the Endangered Species Act, including by letting the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) delay consideration of petitions to protect species.
“This is the whole industry wish list in one sitting,” Grijalva said in a statement.
“If these bills become law, the Endangered Species Act will cease to exist and we’ll look back on Sept. 26 as Wipeout Wednesday. Democrats want to shrink the endangered species list by returning these species to full health; Republicans seem to want to shrink the list by letting endangered species die.”
The Trump administration has overhauled how it considers applications to import hunting trophies.
The FWS in November 2017 reversed the Obama administration’s bans on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, but President Trump soon stepped in to reverse the action. In March, the agency said it would consider all import requests on a “case-by-case” basis.
Grijalva’s bill would also make trophy importers pay all the costs of the federal import review program, terminate the Trump administration’s International Wildlife Conservation Council and mandate that the Government Accountability Office examine whether trophy hunting helps conservation.