US faulted on move to allow trade in trophies

Friday November 17 2017

Kenya Wildlife Services officer count elephants

Kenya Wildlife Services officer count elephants tusks found in a container in Mombasa on December 20, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Conservationists in Kenya have joined their counterparts across the world to condemn a decision by US President Donald Trump to reverse a ban on importation of elephant trophies from two African countries.

Trump’s administration on Thursday said it would allow game hunters to enter the US with trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The move overturns a 2014 ban implemented by former President Barack Obama.

Trophies refer to any body parts, including elephant tusks.

Dr Max Graham, the founder and CEO of Kenya-based Space for Giants, an international conservation charity based in Nanyuki, told the Nation that the move would reverse gains made in conservation of threatened species.

“I have to say I think this is a big mistake,” he said, “Space for Giants does not operate in the countries under discussion, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but I would say that lifting the ban sends completely the wrong signals at a time when the world needs absolute ban on any trade in wildlife parts.”

A growing number of countries, including China, Singapore and the US, have banned the trade in ivory. But a black market still exists.

“This measure would introduce dangerously confused messages to the marketplace that still exists for ivory,” he added.