FWS issues permits for import of hunting trophies to enhance the survival of the species
73 Fed. Reg. 61160 / Vol. 73, No. 200 / Wednesday, October 15, 2008 / DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; WS–R9–IA–2008–N0275; 96300–1671–0000–P5 Receipt of Applications for Permit
SUMMARY: The public is invited to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species.
EXCERPT: The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species... The applicant requests a permit to import the sport-hunted trophy of one male scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) culled from a captive herd in the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species.
Now extinct in the wild, scimitar-horned oryx once lived in northern African countries of Egypt, Senegal, and Chad. They have been reintroduced in Tunisia. Photo and caption from Friends of the National Zoo. The Brackettville Ranch in Texas claims to have over 10,000 of these animals roaming their lands where sport-hunting recreational opportunities exist.
KEITHINKING: Although somewhat counter-intuitive, FWS has allowed import of sport-hunted trophies of species otherwise protected by the Endangered Species Act. Since these trophies can be used for public displays to promote awareness, and since sport-hunting fees can generate conservation revenues in foreign countries, FWS has allowed (usually with careful scrutiny) permits for these types of imports. This issue has been the subject of litigation, such as in disputes related to import of argali hunting trophies from the sporting hunting regulated by the otherwise impoverished conservation agencies in Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan. See related Federal Register announcement and animalrights.net (Full disclosure: the author was counsel for DOJ in a District Court case on this issue.)