Tuesday 17 February 2015

EU closes trophy exporting loopholes

The European Commission has closed a major loophole exploited by criminal gangs trafficking in high-value hunting trophies that carry tusks and horns.

According to the new requirements, hunting trophies of six listed, threatened or endangered species obtained through the result of sustainable hunting will have to be accompanied by an import permit indicating details of the legal hunt. The legislation aims to specifically address issues around the illegal imports, by introducing the mandatory requirement of hunting-trophy import permits for the species.

The six species covered under the new regulations are the African elephant, Southern white rhinoceros, African lion, Hippopotamus, Polar bear and Argali sheep.

Last December 19 people were charged in the Czech Republic for illegal trafficking of rhino horns that were obtained from pseudo hunts in South Africa. The so called hunts were connected Vietnamese syndicates based in the Czezh Republic.

The hunters were exporting the horns from Soth Africa as trophies, but them signing them over to the gangs. Authorities believe that over 100 horns have been shippedto Vietnam from the Eu in this manner.

Several other Vietnamese traffickers have been arrested in the EU in 2014 , with large quantities of Ivory being recovered as well as Lion and Tiger parts.

The new import permits will also allow the EU to prohibit imports of trophies from countries where the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations’ Scientific Review Group has decided that trophy hunting of the species is not sustainable. As of today no further imports of lion trophies from Benin, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon, where the populations have plummeted due to over-hunting and human wildlife conflict, will be permitted by the EU.

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