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Conservation groups seek ban on certain elephant trophy imports

By Michael Doyle | 07/08/2024 04:33 PM EDT

They want to block U.S. hunters from being able to import trophy tusks from the Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro elephant population found in Kenya and Tanzania.

Elephants head toward hay delivered by a Kenya Wildlife Services ranger at the Amboseli National Park in 2022.

Elephants head toward hay delivered by a Kenya Wildlife Services ranger at the Amboseli National Park in 2022. Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

The ongoing debate over trophy hunting took a new turn Monday as several conservation organizations sought a ban on the importation of tusks and other trophy parts from a distinct elephant population found in Kenya and Tanzania.

Citing the loss of five adult male elephants to trophy hunters in the past nine months, the Center for Biological Diversity and two allied groups to stop U.S. hunters from importing trophy parts taken from what’s called the Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro elephant population. According to the petition, at least two of the slain elephants merited designation as “super-tuskers,” with one or more tusks weighing at least 100 pounds.

“Singling out male elephants with large tusks takes away the natural elements of competition and survivorship, allowing younger, less tested, perhaps less vigorous males to reproduce,” said Cynthia Moss, director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. “A population that is hunted becomes unnatural because humans are choosing who should pass on his genes and who should not, who should live and who should die.”

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Moss’ group joined with ElephantVoices and the Center for Biological Diversity in filing the petition.

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