The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just updated its website with new information about sport-hunted trophy importation.
Due to recent changes in how the FWS processes import permit applications, many hunters have had questions about what is necessary to successfully apply for an import permit.
The new information advises hunters on the type of data that will improve their abilities to import trophies into the United States.
The new website starts with the clear acknowledgement of the benefits hunting can bring to wildlife conservation: “Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” the website explains.
The new website postings are intended, at least in part, to help hunters demonstrate those benefits.
The FWS website now provides general guidance for importing sport-hunted trophies of protected species, including whether a permit is required and what permit application form hunters must complete. It also informs hunters about the type of information that may help them successfully obtain an import permit for certain species.
For example, the FWS advises lion hunters to provide as much information as possible about their specific hunt, such as where and when the hunt will or has occurred, how much conservation funding the hunt will or has provided, and any other benefits directly attributable to the hunt.
In this example, hunters, working with their outfitters or others, should also try to provide as much general information about lion management in the area, region and/or country. This could include population status or trend data and general information regarding conservation efforts funded by hunting.
Regardless the species, hunters should include with their permit applications any information that answers the question: “How does hunting benefit the species?”
The site provides information for five specific species: African lion, bontebok from South Africa, argali, Namibian southern white rhinoceros and leopard from southern Africa. More extensive data for some species’ importation than others is included on the site.
SCI continues advocating for the approval of hunting trophy importation permits.
For more information about the new guidelines and what is required for trophy importation, please visit the FWS’s website.