On Friday, a U.S. District Court Judge rejected the Safari Club's effort to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibition on importation of sport-hunted trophies of African elephants from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Good.
Safari Club argued that the ban would irreparably harm its members' recreational interests. Recreational interests in killing African elephants... at a time when the elephant poaching crisis is at a historic high with 35,000 to 50,000 elephants poached annually... African elephants, living creatures traipsing the continent's forests and savannas with grandmothers, daughters, and granddaughters, living together in matriarchal families. Irreparably harm its members' recreational interests? It's so selfish and short-sighted as to be (painfully) laughable.
We know what is happening in Tanzania and Zimbabwe right now; the results of the study Born Free commissioned, Ivory's Curse, say it all. In Zimbabwe, the political and military elite have a stranglehold over wildlife habitats, and there are ongoing fears of the connection between land seizures and poaching increases. Prosecution of poachers and ivory profiteers in the country is almost non-existent. In Tanzania, corruption, control of hunting blocks, and weak enforcement is leading to the decimation of the nation's elephant population.