HSUS, HSI and partners sue U.S. over failure to protect giraffes

The United States is the largest importer of giraffe trophies,
and American trophy hunters import an average of more than one
giraffe per day. Photo by Michelle Riley/The HSUS

Giraffes are in desperate need of protection. There are fewer
giraffes than elephants now in the wild, and if we are to protect
these gentle and beautiful animals from going extinct, we need to
act fast to keep them out of the sights of trophy hunters and
poachers.

In April last year, the Humane Society of the United States,
Humane Society International and our partners filed a petition with
the Department of the Interior seeking “endangered” status for
all giraffes under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. But 20 months
have elapsed and the agency has failed to initiate a status review
on giraffes and solicit comment from public and scientific experts,
as it should have done. Instead, our petition has been gathering
dust even as giraffe populations dwindle.

Today, in an effort to force the FWS to move the process
forward, we, along with our partners,
filed a lawsuit
challenging the agency’s failure to respond
to our
petition
.

The FWS should not wait any longer. The need is so dire and the
United States has the ability to turn this devastating trend for
these animals. Our country is the largest importer of giraffe
trophies, and
American trophy hunters
import an average of more than one
giraffe per day. An endangered or threatened listing for giraffes
would prevent trophy hunters from importing the animals they kill
into the country.

Earlier this year, an HSUS and HSI
undercover investigation
demonstrated just how rampant the
market for trophy hunted giraffe parts is in the United States. Our
investigators found giraffe parts and products sold online and in
stores by at least 51 dealers across the country. Between 2006 and
2015, the U.S. imported approximately 40,000 giraffe parts and
products mostly for commercial purposes, including for fashion,
knife handles and home décor. Among these imports were about
21,000 giraffe bone carvings, nearly 4,000 raw bones, about 3,000
skin pieces, almost 2,000 raw bone pieces and more than 700
skins.

The FWS’s failure to act despite all of this evidence, while
frustrating, is not entirely surprising. The agency has
demonstrated in recent months that it has the ear and the interests
of the trophy hunting lobby. Earlier this year, the FWS appointed
an advisory group that’s euphemistically named International
Wildlife Conservation Council, on which it’s spending $250,000
per year. This group is composed entirely of trophy hunting
interests whose mission is to decrease protections for imperiled
species targeted by trophy hunters. We have
challenged the legitimacy
of this council as well.

Most Americans do not support trophy hunting, and we do not want
our government to be complicit in the killing of wild animals.
There are fewer than 100,000 giraffes left in the wild, and their
numbers are declining rapidly. There is no U.S. law that protects
giraffes against over-exploitation and we need the FWS to act fast
and list these gentle giants under the Endangered Species Act to
save them from extinction. Please add your voice to ours and make
it difficult for the FWS to continue ignoring this important
issue.


Act now to save giraffes

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HSUS, HSI and partners sue U.S. over failure to protect
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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
HSUS, HSI and partners sue U.S. over failure to protect giraffes