Donald Trump and Ban on Trophy Hunting Imports

Hall, Carla. “Trump's best decision so far: Doubling down on banning elephant trophies.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2017,

This opinion piece, written by Carla Hall, published on November 20th, 2017 to the Los Angeles Times, outlines (and commends) U.S. President Trump's decision to preserve the Obama administration's legislation that curbs trophy hunting, especially on elephants. The article briefly mentions Trump's angle on the practice (i.e. horrific), discusses illicit kills and methods by poachers (e.g. using drones to scour elephant territory), touches on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's initial intention to rescind the previous president's embargo, the animals' recurring plight, and cites Lara Trump's (whose husband, Eric, Donald's son, has been an avid hunter himself) potential advocacy against the activity. Furthermore, the article conveys bias, which evidently censures poaching and speaks out against the notion that poaching facilitates conservation. Though not laden with significant detail, these points provide prompts for depth into the politics, involvement, discord, and advocacy of the differing standpoints on the matter. 

Lowry, Rich. “Trump Is Right about Trophy Hunting.” National Review, National Review, 21 Nov. 2017,

This opinion piece was written by Rich Lowry, published on November 21st, 2017 for the National Review. It accentuates the predicament of African elephants in Zambia and Zimbabwe regarding their ensnarement in endangerment and proximity to extinction. Lowry cites the substantial scope in the decline of the species' populations (i.e. from approx. 10 million to around 350,000 today). It briefly discusses (or rather questions) the view that endorses hunting as a means of conservation, and touches on the Zimbabwean government's involvement. Being an opinion article, it is gravitated towards forbidding poaching and importing the animals' body parts, deplores the practice, asserts that elephants are intelligent and emotional creatures, and favours economical alternatives of profit, such as wildlife tourism. These are viable prompts to investigate the nature of the topic in depth, political influence, respective convictions of opposing parties, and matters on ethics.

Patel, Neel V. “Lifting the Ban on Elephant Trophies Will Probably Help Save Elephants.” Slate Magazine, 16 Nov. 2017,

This article was written by Neel V. Patel, published on the State magazine platform on November 16th, 2017. This article attempts to posit that trophy hunting, in the context of Donald Trump's contemplation on reversing the Obama administration's ban on trophy kills from Zimbabwe and Zambia (preceding his subsequent decision to keep the ban), can potentially contribute to elephant conservation practices. Evidently backing the nature of the commerce, the article cites the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which suggests that hunting that is meticulously regulated can accrue revenue that can be put back into conservation. Patel contends that hunting can control the elephant populations (despite studies expounding the critical decline of the species), and claims that bureaucratic procedures enacted by the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments (such as hunting quotas and regulatory mechanisms) can help facilitate the revitalization of healthy elephant populations.

Pacelle, Wayne. “Interior Department to allow imports of elephant and lion trophies from Africa, reversing Obama policies · A Humane Nation.” A Humane Nation, 16 Nov. 2017,

This blog post was written by Wayne Pacelle for his blog A Humane Nation, on November 17th, 2017. The post discusses the situation of the African elephants being threatened in Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the animals listed under the U.S. federal Endangered Species Act (which stipulates that hunting trophies can be imported only if the federal government deems their killing as conducive to the species' survival). Pacelle addresses the corruption that pervades the Zimbabwe government, touches on the erstwhile president Robert Mugabe's condemnation, and enumerates a few problems with Zimbabwe's elephant management plan. The blog calls out the Department of the Interior, who overlooks the scientific evidence substantiating that much of the elephant endangerment status is attributed to trophy hunting. Pacelle also mentions the subtexts of trophy hunting, of how the usual perpetrators are affluent, white people, and he contrasts their intentions (premised on ego and greed) and the local people who hunt the elephants as part of their livelihoods, which are undermined by the former group who hunt animals solely for trophies.

Cruise, Adam. “Is Trophy Hunting Helping Save African Elephants?” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 17 Nov. 2015,

This article for Natural Geographic was written by Adam Cruise on November 17, 2015. The article argues the point that trophy hunting endorsed by governments does not facilitate the elephant conservation campaign. The premise that trophy hunting will help alleviate elephant endangerment is elucidated by organizations, such as The International Union for Conservation of Nature, saying that hunting that is well-managed can generate revenue that can be used for conservation purposes, as well as for subsidizing poor local communities in African countries. However, some rural villages in Zimbabwe attest that community projects like CAMPFIRE, do not give them any money.

Paterniti, Michael . “Should We Kill Animals to Save Them?” Poaching and Conservation, Natural Geographic, 20 Sept. 2017,

This magazine article was written by Michael Paterniti for Natural Geographic. This online piece discusses the morals people hold regarding trophy hunting. People, such as government bodies, demonstrate support for the activity due to economic revenues. People who are for trophy hunting may express indignation towards people who are against trophy hunting, saying it is not fair for people from another nation to criticize how people manage their wildlife. Others suggest that there should be a middle ground for hunting. The article also mentions certain practices, codes of honour, and policies that have been upheld by hunters, such as not hunting certain female animals. This article is a viable start to delving deeper into the ethics surrounding trophy hunting.

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Peter A. Lindsey, et al. “Trophy Hunting and Conservation in Africa: Problems and One Potential Solution.” Conservation Biology, vol. 21, no. 3, 2007, pp. 880–883. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This is a conservation biology journal article written in 2007 by Peter A. Lindsey, L. G. Frank, R. Alexander, A. Mathieson and S. S. Romañach. This article argues the point that trophy hunting in African nations, such as Mozambique and Zambia, accrues revenue, which can be poured into local communities in order to provide incentives for conservation. The article contends that managed trophy hunting can contribute to the conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species. The article also asserts that other alternatives of tourism may not be as effective in the context of conservation, since more resources are exhausted. Problems, however, emanate from irresponsible and corrupt governments and institutions that do not give back to local communities or permit these communities ownership of wildlife.

Gunn, Alastair S. “Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 6, no. 1, 2001, pp. 68–95. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This journal article on ethics and the environment was published in 2001, written by Alastair S. Gunn. In abstract, the paper discusses the general discourse surrounding the ethics of trophy hunting. It provides perspectives pertinent to those who are against hunting and those who are for it. However, this article seems to veer more towards the justification of properly managed trophy hunting, but posits that killing animals is generally viewed as acceptable only if the context is not meant to kill indiscriminately. Given this, the article suggests that hunting in general does not threaten biodiversity and trophy hunting, if it contributes to circumstances like population control, has a degree of merit. The article does mention how people who wish to kill for pure enjoyment may have desires for control, power, and a chance to boast, which is regarded as reprehensible, even by the hunting community.  

Cousins, Jenny A., et al. “Exploring the Role of Private Wildlife Ranching as a Conservation Tool in South Africa: Stakeholder Perspectives.” Ecology and Society, vol. 13, no. 2, 2008. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This ecology and society journal article was written by Jenny A. Cousins, Jon P. Sadler and James Evans, published in December of 2008. This journal article discusses how public park dealing with wildlife ranching are faced with a dearth of funds and must resort to private landowners. The article focuses on the advantages, obstacles, and limitations with regards to private wildlife ranching as an agency of species conservation in South Africa. The article provides arguments that are premised on the idea that maintained game hunting can be a viable means of conservation if done properly. However, the article also talks about limitations that the industry faces concerning such conservation practices. There is also discussion of how many businesses espouse the approach that is inclined towards profit as opposed to bona-fide conservation. 

Cruise, Adam. “CAT - The effects of trophy hunting on five of Africa's iconic wild animal populations in six countries – Analysis.” Conservation Action Trust, 12 Feb. 2018,

This article was written by Adam Cruise for the Conservation Action Trust company. The article touches on the premise that well-managed trophy hunting can be used as a means to accumulate revenue and engender incentives for people to engage in campaigns for animal conservation so that lands can be maintained, populations can be restored, and species can be safeguarded from the harms of poaching. The article does point out that trophy hunting can be a contributing factor to the decline of species such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, and leopards. It also expounds that there is a correlation between legal hunting and poaching. The piece also discusses how trophy hunting does have the potential to be a driving force for corruption and that there is unfair distribution of the profits generated, which are purported to be allocated for communities in order to spur conservation awareness.