November 2016 - Barbara Crown, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
Literally as we were going to print with this issue on Thursday, October 20, director of US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Dan Ashe posted an announcement on the Huffington Post website regarding import permits for lions from South Africa. According to representatives of USFWS this post is their official announcement. Instead of tearing apart this issue of The Hunting Report, we are devoting this space to this breaking news.
According to Ashe's announcement, the United States will not allow the importation of lion trophies from captive lion populations in South Africa. He states that South Africa had not provided clear evidence showing a demonstrable conservation benefit to the long-term survival of species in the wild through the hunting of captive-bred lions.
However, USFWS has determined that sport hunting of wild and wild-managed lions does contribute to the long-term conservation of lions in South Africa, and he gives a nod to the management program there run by South Africa's Ministry of Environmental Affairs. "As a result," he writes, "we will allow the import of lion trophies taken with the authorization of the South African government from wild or wild-managed populations."
As for other lion-range countries, Ashe says they are evaluating import permit applications for Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe and will only approve those applications if they receive sufficient evidence of long-term benefits to wild lions resulting from those programs. According to John J. Jackson III, they also have applications from Tanzania under review.