An African elephant is pictured on November 18, 2012 in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

An African elephant is pictured on November 18, 2012 in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

The African elephant is a threatened species, according to the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Their status led to a ban on sport-hunted elephant trophies in Zimbabwe and Zambia by the Obama administration. Now that protection is in question.

News came last week that that ban would be lifted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency cited the benefits of hunting to conservation, saying its decision “will enhance the survival of the African elephant.” The agency says there are now 80,000 elephants in Zimbabwe alone and that the country’s elephant management program has seen success in its conservation efforts.

But then the president halted the move and asked for further review.

Beyond the bans that are now under review, there are still many restrictions on legal game hunting, but not enough to prevent a huge outcry from animal lovers. Where does the conversation on conservation go from here?


  • Grace Ge Gabriel Regional director for Asia, the International Fund for Animal Welfare
  • Rachael Bale Wildlife crime reporter, National Geographic
  • Vanda Felbab-Brown Senior fellow in foreign policy, the Brookings Institution; author of a new book, "The Extinction Market: Wildlife Trafficking and How to Counter It"
  • Jeremy Clare Lawyer for Safari Club International, which has 50,000 members worldwide and supports the rights of hunters

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