I had a whole post about Heartland Animal Shelter planned for today. I had even done it all up and was excited to share about my latest visit. But then news drops that the Administration is lifting a ban against elephant trophies and I’m like, no. NO NO NO.
Now you may say, “Christine, stay in your lane, don’t get into politics,” but this is not a political post, it’s one about animal welfare. Rescue in Style is primarily about dogs and cats but my passion for all animals is undeniable. So, in the 11th hour, here I am pouring my heart into a post about elephants because right now, they need rescuing too.
What’s the issue?
In 2014, hunters were banned from bringing home trophies from elephant hunts in Zimbabwe. The ban was put in place because of lack of transparency in regards to conservation efforts in the country. That ban is now lifted. New provisions will allow anyone who kills an elephant in Zimbabwe from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2018, will be able to bring home a trophy.
Why did this happen?
Proponents say lifting this ban will bring much-needed resources to the community and will ultimately benefit the elephant population. They also claim that Zimbabwe has taken steps to regulate the hunting industry. These proponents include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Safari Club International (a hunting lobbying group) and the NRA. Why the NRA is involved with conservation efforts is anyone’s guess.
On the flip side, the President of the Humane Society of the United States has stated that both Zimbabwe is still dealing with corruption and poaching. He cited the Great Elephant Census which stated that in both countries, populations of elephants have decreased. In Zimbabwe, the population has declined by 6%.
My two cents
Without getting too far into my personal moral stance on “trophy” hunting (spoiler alert: I’m against it,) this new law breaks my heart. Elephants may be the largest mammal on earth, but they’re also one of the most intelligent and sensitive. They are a matriarchal species and a female elephant will stay with its herd until the day she dies. They take care of each other’s calves, they mourn the dead, and they problem solve. These creatures don’t deserve to be hoisted up on someone’s wall or have their tusks displayed on a mantel. They deserve to roam free with our protection.
How you can help.
If you’re as outraged as I am, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Say Something – They’ve made it easy! Contact the Secretary of the Interior and tell him you are against lifting the ban. You can download a template and send him an email. Also, go ahead and tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service what you think of this change. I have a couple of strong four-letter words I’d like to use, but I’ll be using this letter instead and send it to Brian_Hires@fws.gov. You can find both of those templates in word form here. You can also sign this petition, this one, and heck go sign this one if you have the chance.
Do Something – Beyond letting the Administration know where you stand, you can also do some pretty cool things. I’ve talked about fostering plenty, but did you know you could foster an elephant? For $50, you get your very own baby orphan elephant to care for! Well, technically people will care for it for you, but you’ll get a photo, a description, and history of your elephant. You can find more details here. Psst: it also makes a great gift! See what other actions you can take here.
Get Social – Let people know where you stand and use your voice to share the message that this reversal is not okay. Tweet, post, pin, share and slide into those DMs with your thoughts. Ellen Degeneres is also donating to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for every reposting of this picture. So go ahead, tell people how beautiful elephants are and say no to trophies in the U.S.
In an ideal world, donations will pour in, everyone will adopt an elephant and the government will reverse the reversal. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world but I do have hope that some good could come from this. The issue is in the spotlight and people are getting involved. Perhaps maybe we can make some great strides for these creatures and protect them once and for all.
I want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the lifting of the ban? How are you taking a stand? Let me know in the comments below!
All photos credit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and iworry.org.