Lion and Elephant Update - CITES Meeting

Update received from THE HUNTING REPORT:

Continuing subscribers know that The Hunting Report has been warning about a move to uplist African lions to Appendix I.

Such a listing would essentially close lion hunting, especially for sportsmen from the US, where US Fish & Wildlife has a history of shutting down trophy imports for any species on the Appendix I list.

The efforts to uplist lion are not all motivated by anti-hunting advocates, such as Kenya, but also by conservationists who believe the listing would create the political will in various countries to support initiatives to protect and conserve lion populations under pressure.

The next CITES Convention of the Parties is scheduled for this coming March, but the deadline to get proposals on the agenda has passed.

This means that anyone who had booked a lion hunt for 2010 or beyond can relax. Lion hunting will continue to take place. Just be aware that the management plans in progress will likely affect hunting in one form or another, much like in Tanzania, where the six-year-old rule is being enforced with stiff penalties.

All things considered, the hunting community should gladly support these conservation plans.

The other good news is that both Tanzania and Zambia have proposed to downlist their elephant to Appendix II for trophy hunting purposes. This means that US hunters would no longer have to apply to US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for an import permit.

For the past two years USFWS has delayed making its self-imposed non-detriment findings on Tanzania elephant and has not issued import permits until well after the hunting season has started. This has caused unnecessary angst among US hunters heading to Tanzania for an elephant hunt. Some have even cancelled hunts because they had no assurance that the Service would issue the permits - this despite Tanzania having the second largest elephant population in Africa.

As for Zambia, USFWS has delayed approving importation applications for elephant trophies from this country for five years. In the November issue of Conservation Force Bulletin, John J. Jackson, III of Conversation Force reports how the Service has sat on these applications without taking the first step to review them and has just now begun to ask Zambian authorities for information they already provided five years ago.

Once Zambia and Tanzania downlist their elephants at the next CITES Convention, US hunters will be free to import elephant trophies from these countries without an import permit, just as they already do for elephant from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Jackson will have more details on both the African lion efforts and the plans to downlist Tanzanian and Zambian elephant in the December issue of Conservation Force Bulletin.