Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF DEC. 04, 2017
Sport or shame? President considers whether U.S. hunters can bring home elephant trophies from Africa
Find another conservation or environmental issue. Summarize key points.
Look for travel-related coverage and tell why you do or don't want to go there.
Read any foreign news and share two things you learn. Also: What continent is the story from?
President Trump wants to learn more about the impact of elephant hunting in Africa by tourists – a policy review that also educates the public, thanks to news coverage. His administration is considering whether to drop or keep a ban on bringing home any body parts of elephants shot for sport. The world's largest land mammal has been listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1979. The presidential review follows an agency decision to allow imports of trophy carcasses, a practice halted in 2014 under the last president, Barack Obama.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in mid-November that letting elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia be brought back as trophies will raise money for conservation programs. "Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve those species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation," said the agency, which is part of the Interior Department. That brought strong criticism from animal protection advocates, environmental groups and Congress members of both parties. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., called it the "wrong move." Just three days after the first announcement, Trump strongly suggested he'll permanently block elephant trophy imports. The president tweeted that he "will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal."
Poaching to grab valuable ivory tusks for illegal sales has reduced the number of African elephants from about 5 million a century ago to about 400,000 now -- a number that drops each year. As many as 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012, a United Nations study says. Kenya, an African nation, hasn't allowed sport hunting of the beasts since way back in 1973. China, the biggest market for carved ivory items, last year banned domestic sales. "One day, [elephant hunting] will be seen for the moral outrage that it is," says Steven Wise, an American animal rights lawyer.
Critic says: "We should not encourage the hunting and slaughter of these magnificent creatures. We don't get a second chance once a species becomes extinct." – Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.
Hunting backer says: "Sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting is important to the survival and enhancement of game species in this country and worldwide." -- Chris Cox, National Rifle Association
Cabinet member says: "President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical. As a result, . . . the issuing of [trophy import] permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed." – Ryan Zinke, head of the Interior Department (and a hunter)
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