The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is lifting a ban on importing lions killed on trophy hunts in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Guardian reports.
The FWS published the rule change Wednesday, while it announced that another ban on importing the heads of elephants killed on hunts in the same countries would be allowed. Both kinds of animals are listed for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
“This all suggests that rather than being the protectors of wildlife, the federal government is now a promoter of trophy hunting,” Humane Society of the U.S. President Wayne Pacelle told the Guardian on Thursday. Parcelle blamed the FWS for “rolling out the red carpet” for hunters like Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer who killed Cecil, a famous lion, in 2015.
Along with allowing imported hunting trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, the FWS is also reviewing policies for Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania, according to the FWS.
“For decades, hunting has been an important tool for U.S. wildlife managers,” the agency said announcing the rule change on its website. “Our nation has an obligation under the ESA to make sure U.S. hunters are contributing to the conservation of lions in the wild by participating in hunting programs that provide a clear conservation benefit and contribute to the long-term survival of the species in the wild.”
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