What the Ban on Elephant Trophies Means


Days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a decision to lift the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia, President Donald Trump has announced he plans to reverse course. (National Geographic)

Use our rich collection of resources to better understand the “Battle for the Elephants.”

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Game trophies exhibited by oilman Kerry Krottinger surround him and his wife, Libby, in their Dallas home. All trophies were obtained legally.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas


  • From what countries can hunters import elephant trophies? Take a look at this U.S. Fish & Wildlife document for some help
    • Elephant trophies from Namibia and South Africa are approved.
      • Elephant trophies from Tanzania hunted within the last year are under review.
      • Elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe hunted within the last year were tentatively approved, but are now under review.


  • Why does U.S. law limit imports of elephant game trophies?
    • According to Nat Geo, “Because African elephants are listed as threatened on the Endangered Species Act, the law requires that import of any elephant or elephant parts must somehow contribute to their conservation in the wild.”
      • “Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the import of elephant trophies from certain countries because the service found that the hunts did not contribute to the survival of the species.”




  • Is there room for compromise between the two sides?
    • Probably. More effective regulation of game hunting may alleviate some concerns offered by hunting critics. Regulation may include local incentives to reduce poaching, consistently enforced legal accountability, and international oversight of imports and exports of game trophies.




Nat Geo: What the Ban on Elephant Trophies Means

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Import of Hunted Elephants

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Import of Elephants Hunted in Zimbabwe

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Enhancement Finding for African Elephants Taken as Sport-hunted Trophies in Zambia On or After January 1, 2016 and On or Before December 31, 2018

Nat Geo: Battle for the Elephants

Nat Geo: Should We Kill Animals to Save Them?

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Hunting Overseas

One thought on “What the Ban on Elephant Trophies Means

  1. I am writing to ask permission to use the image at the top of the page – trophies with big game hunters for a memoir I am writing about living and working as a dentist in Mozambique during the civil war in 1986-89.

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