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South African Elephant Trophy Exports on Hold Due to Lawsuit by Anti-Hunters

South Africa has paused issuing export permits for all elephant hunting trophies until the conclusion of an ongoing court case with Humane Society International (HSI) Africa. SCI learned of the issue when members recently received US Fish & Wildlife Service import permits for elephants from South Africa but were unable to acquire CITES export permits from South Africa’s government. 

The HSI case was originally filed in 2022, in response to a decision by the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to defer issuance of the 2021 trophy hunting quotas to 2022. HSI challenged the deferred quota, and a South African court granted an interim interdiction against it. A hearing is scheduled for the end of January to review the case and permits presumably will not be issued until the case is resolved. 

Even though the lawsuit involves 2021 and 2022 quotas, the DFFE’s hold on issuing permits has been applied to elephant taken under quotas for years prior. This means hunters who have been waiting several years for an import permit from US Fish & Wildlife Service now must wait for an export permit from South Africa. (These permits can be extended, so there should not be an immediate issue for hunters who receive a permit from the Service.)

The Professional Hunting Association of South Africa (PHASA) is working within the legal framework to have export permits issued for elephants taken under quotas for years prior to 2022. SCI is working with PHASA to have members affected by this situation submit relevant information to PHASA attorneys. SCI members can contact SCI’s Hunter Information Service at [email protected] to learn how they can participate in that process.