15. LIFE ON LAND

U.S. Tightens African Elephant Import Rules, Stops Short of Banning Trade

U.S. Tightens African Elephant Import Rules, Stops Short of Banning Trade
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U.S. Tightens African Elephant Import Rules, Stops Short of Banning Trade  Center for Biological Diversity

U.S. Tightens African Elephant Import Rules, Stops Short of Banning Trade

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Adopts New Restrictions on African Elephant Imports

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today adopted new restrictions on U.S. imports of African elephant hunting trophies and live elephants but stopped short of a total ban on imports.

Bowing to trophy hunter concerns, the agency also backtracked from its earlier proposal. Today’s rule allows any biologically sustainable trade instead of requiring that elephant populations be stable or increasing before trophy trade is permitted — a major step back from true conservation accountability.

“I’m truly crushed this rule doesn’t ban trade in elephant hunting trophies to the United States, and it doesn’t even require stable elephant populations to allow trophy imports,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These magnificent animals are globally cherished but under threat, and it’s high time we stop letting wealthy trophy hunters turn them into décor.”

Emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  1. Goal 15: Life on Land

Today’s updated rule only allows trophy and live elephant imports from countries that annually certify their elephant populations are biologically sustainable and that viable elephant habitat is not decreasing. Countries will also be required to have adequate conservation legislation in place and being implemented — but that provision doesn’t kick in until 2026.

The United States is a major importer of hunting trophies globally, along with the European Union.

Today’s restrictions tighten the 4(d) rule for African elephants under the Endangered Species Act, which determines what protections the species receives. The new rule will foreclose elephant trophy and live imports from nations whose domestic wildlife laws fail to meet the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, but not until 2026.

Of the countries that export trophies to the United States, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia currently have national legislation that may not meet the requirements of CITES. These countries now have additional time to improve their legislation.

In 2016 the Obama administration implemented a near ban on the domestic trade in elephant ivory. Although that regulation provided some exceptions, it virtually closed the U.S. ivory market as part of an agreement with China, which closed its own domestic ivory market at the end of 2019. The revisions announced today do not address the ivory trade.

Emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  1. Goal 15: Life on Land

“We face a devastating biodiversity crisis that requires an elephant-sized response,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These are mouse-sized rule changes that continue to treat elephants like commodities. We need global change that prioritizes biodiversity over profits.”

The rule revisions follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2020 reassessment of elephants, which found that forest elephants are critically endangered and savannah elephants are endangered. Unlike the IUCN, however, the rule fails to recognize forest and savannah African elephants as distinct, despite a petition by the Center urging the Service to acknowledge the split.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 15: Life on Land

The article discusses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new restrictions on U.S. imports of African elephant hunting trophies and live elephants. This issue is directly related to SDG 15, which aims to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt biodiversity loss.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

The article highlights the need for conservation measures to protect African elephants from trophy hunting and ensure their populations are stable or increasing. This aligns with Target 15.5, which aims to prevent the extinction of threatened species and halt biodiversity loss.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator 15.5.1: Red List Index

The article mentions the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s reassessment of elephants, which found that forest elephants are critically endangered and savannah elephants are endangered. This information can be used as an indicator to measure progress towards Target 15.5 using the Red List Index.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Table

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. Indicator 15.5.1: Red List Index

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: biologicaldiversity.org

 

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