Does trophy hunting hurt giraffe populations? A planned lawsuit says it does

Does trophy hunting hurt giraffe populations? A planned lawsuit says it does

Skinned, stuffed and tanned, wild giraffes are up for sale at dozens of stores across the United States. While importing and selling wild giraffes and giraffe products, such as giraffe rugs and taxidermied trophies, is legal in the U.S., conservationists and animal welfare advocates say these practices are nudging the species closer toward extinction. On Oct. 15, a coalition of groups, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI), and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a notice of intent to sue the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The federal agency is tasked with managing wildlife and natural habitats, but the groups say it’s failing to protect giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) through the nation’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). Three years ago, the coalition had petitioned USFWS to uplist giraffes as an endangered species through the ESA, but the agency failed to respond, even though it’s legally obligated to do so within a year, Laura Smythe, staff attorney at HSUS, told Mongabay in an email. The groups filed an initial lawsuit against USFWS in 2018, which prompted the agency to say that giraffes may qualify for protection under the ESA — but no further steps were taken, according to HSUS. Young giraffe in Uganda. Image by Rod Waddington / Flickr. The agency’s inaction, Smythe said, implies that it is “catering to the special interests of trophy hunters, and not doing what is in the best interest of the species.” “[T]he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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