Reducing the regulatory burdens to importing hunting trophies into the United States is one of SCI’s top priorities. SCI works with both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and through the U.N. Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to reduce these burdens.
Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES): CITES regulates trade in protected species of wildlife, including the shipment of hunting trophies. SCI is a leader in CITES and participated in the most recent Conference of the Parties. At the Conference SCI was successful in lobbying to relax the definition of a hunting trophy which will ease the importation of trophies that have been altered in the country where the animal was harvested. For more information see the SCI-SCIF-CITES blog at http://sci-scif-cites.blogspot.com/.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): In addition to international CITES regulations, hunters attempting to import trophies to the United State are subject to stricter domestic measures that have been put into place under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FWS is the federal agency that regulates the importation of trophies and controls the movement of wildlife across borders. Currently, the FWS under the Obama administration has advanced a strict interpretation of the ESA to the detriment of traveling hunters. This interpretation places unnecessary regulatory burdens on law abiding hunters and discourages hunting worldwide. SCI is a strong advocate for consistency between CITES and FWS regulations and is working to change the definitions used by the FWS. Two of SCI's highest priorities:
- Enhancement Finding: Encourage the U.S. government to adopt the global standard for trade in wildlife - that such trade is non-detrimental to the species - instead of the erroneous and poorly implemented "enhancement of survival of the species" requirement that is found in the Endangered Species Act.
- Hunting Trophy Definition: Require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to adopt the global definition of "hunting trophy" to reduce regulatory hurdles to importation and encourage international sustainable-use species conservation.