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Tanzania and Mozambique have seen a significant decline in elephant numbers due to soaring levels of poaching, which have been described as ‘unsustainable’. The European Union has thus banned the import of elephant hunting trophies from these two African nations. 

EU banned hunting trophy imports
© Sunday Mirror

EU chiefs have ordered the ban on elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania and Mozambique because of the threat posed to the animals by poachers. There is already a ban on importing the trophies from Zambia. The decision was taken by an EU scientific committee, which rules on whether hunting trophy imports are sustainable.

Previously, Tanzania and Mozambique were each permitted to export tusks from 100 elephants every year into the EU as hunting trophies. However, both countries have seen a significant decline in elephant numbers due to soaring levels of poaching.

The European Union’s decision is the latest milestone in the campaign to crack down on the slaughter of thousands of rare beasts every year by poachers who sell ivory and skins for huge profits.

Liberal Democrat Euro MP Catherine Bearder, who is supporting the crusade, said: “I’m glad the EU is leading the way in stopping the slaughter of endangered animals for sport. Trophy hunting of elephants is not only senseless and cruel, it is wholly unsustainable. African elephants could be extinct in the wild within our lifetimes. We must do everything we can to prevent this iconic species from being wiped out.”

The European Commission is drawing up a Europe-wide action plan to step up the fight against wildlife trafficking. The comprehensive plan will bring together environmental experts, police and trade officials from across the EU to crack down on the illegal trade. It will aim to close loopholes that allow gangs to smuggle ivory and other illegal wildlife products into Europe.

Will Travers, president and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, welcomed the plan. He said: “Poaching and trafficking of wildlife threaten the existence of many wild animal species. Born Free is lobbying the European Union to take much-needed leadership on this issue and we will now focus on ensuring the Action Plan effectively delivers better conservation of the world’s threatened wildlife.”

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