An American trophy hunter wants to bring home an endangered cheetah he killed in Namibia

Cheetahs are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered
Species Act, with just 7,100 animals remaining in the wild. Photo
by Alamy

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

The cheetah, an animal capable of top speeds of 75 miles per
hour, is racing toward extinction, with just 7,100 animals left in
the wild. Recently, in another expression of the callous disregard
trophy hunters show for the world’s most endangered and at-risk
animals, an American who killed a cheetah in Namibia has applied to
import trophy parts from his kill into the United States.

If approved, it would be the first time on record that the U.S.
government would have authorized the import of a cheetah trophy
under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). This could set a
terrible precedent and very possibly encourage more trophy hunters
to go after cheetahs, exacerbating their tragic fate.

We recently learned that another American has also applied to
import the trophy of a black rhino, also killed in Namibia. There
are now just 5,500 black rhinos remaining in the wild.

It defies understanding that our government would even allow
trophy hunters to apply for permits to import animals fast
disappearing from earth and protected under the ESA. Both black
rhinos and cheetahs are listed as endangered under ESA and can only
be imported if the FWS finds that hunting the animal would enhance
the survival of the species. A trophy hunter killing an animal for
thrills and bragging rights clearly does not meet that
standard.

Sadly, in recent years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
instead of doing its job of protecting animals listed under the
ESA, has enabled an escalation of attacks against them. Beginning
in 2017, the FWS reversed more enlightened policies, making it
easier for American trophy hunters to import trophies of endangered
and threatened animals. The agency also established the
International Wildlife Conservation Council, a body stocked with
trophy hunters and firearms dealers, tasked to advise on
federal wildlife policy decisions
– a decision we’ve
challenged in court. And last year, the FWS proposed changes to
weaken the ESA, which is the bedrock law that protects endangered
and threatened animal species and their habitats. Those harmful
changes could be finalized any day now.

Late last year, despite our objections, the U.S Fish and
Wildlife Service
granted an import permit
to an American hunter who paid
$400,000 to kill a 35-year-old male black rhino in Namibia in
2017.

Scientists warn that at the rate black rhinos and cheetahs are
disappearing, they could be lost forever. Like rhinos, cheetahs
face a number of threats, including massive habitat loss and
degradation. These distinctive, spotted animals, known as the
fastest land mammals, have already lost 91% of their historic range
and 77% of their remaining habitat is not in protected areas,
leaving them open to attack. Cheetahs also become victims of
retaliation killings by humans due to conflict with livestock and
game farmers, and trafficking of live cheetahs for the illegal pet
trade. The last thing they need is to be shot for fun by a trophy
hunter.

For trophy hunters, the rarer the animal, the more valuable the
trophy is, and the greater the prestige and thrill of killing it.
But most Americans know better and oppose trophy hunting, as
we’ve seen from the backlash against trophy hunters that usually
follows when they post their conquests on social media. With so few
cheetahs and black rhinos left in the world, every animal counts.
Please
join us and urge the FWS to do the right thing
by rejecting
these two applications.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative
Fund.


Oppose the import of cheetah and black rhino hunting
trophies

The post
An American trophy hunter wants to bring home an endangered cheetah
he killed in Namibia
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An American trophy hunter wants to bring home an endangered cheetah he killed in Namibia