What's next on the list: The dangers of big game hunting

Columnist Katie Haga

Columnist Katie Haga

Many different species of animals are dropping at an alarming rate which means the endangered species list is rapidly growing. One of the thousands of animals on that list is elephants. The main reason the number of elephants are declining is because they are killed daily for their ivory tusks. Despite the ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are continuously being poached in vast quantities    

On Nov. 16, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services under the Trump administration said they were reevaluating a ban made under the Obama administration in 2014 that outlawed importing trophy elephants from Zambia and Zimbabwe into the United States. The overturning of this ban would ultimately allow elephant trophies to enter our country and encourage big game hunting of an endangered species. According to the Great Elephant Census, in the past decade the population of African elephants has declined by 30 percent. Just when I think I can’t despise Trump any more than I already do, he does something even more outrageous that it heightens my hatred toward him.

The reversal of the ban would apply to elephants hunted in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and to elephants hunted from Jan. 21, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2018 in Zimbabwe, according to NBC. The administration decided to only allow hunters two imports per year. How kind of them to limit these murderers to only two pieces of their victims’ carcases.

The Trump family seems to be very keen on big game hunting and this overturned ban would benefit them - considering that in Dec. 2015 photos surfaced of Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., holding a cheetah they had hunted. And another photo of Donald Trump Jr. holding a knife in one hand and an elephant’s tail in the other, according to The New York Times. Which inclines me to ask what gives you the right to kill defenseless animals? When I googled ‘big game hunting’ and with a heavy heart clicked on images, the majority of photos that appeared were white people sitting next to or holding corpses of animals they have ruthlessly murdered. As far back as our history textbooks go, white people, men especially, have seen themselves as the superior race. Which makes them so entitled, as if murdering thousands of Native American people on their own land or owning slaves wasn’t enough power for them; they now feel the need to move onto other species? It’s sickening.

After the statement was released, Trump and his administration received a copious amount of backlash on the potential decision. Many took to social media to express their disgust and anger toward the overturned ban; celebrities, activists and many other individuals in politics participated in the backlash. With the amount of retaliation he received, the day after the released statement, Donald Trump tweeted, “Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!” I think with the amount of negative feedback that was aimed at this decision, Trump miraculously got it through his incredibly thick skull that this decision was a bad one. Now if only he could make that discovery with every other decision he’s made since he’s been in office that would be great.

100 elephants die each day, and at this rate it is estimated that they will be extinct by the year 2020. It’s up to us to continue to protect them and what little life span they have left. I can’t imagine a world without elephants; it baffles me that my children could potentially grow up in a world without them.