In a blow to trophy hunting interest groups, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld a 2005 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule listing the Scimitar-Horned Oryx, the Addax and the Dama Gazelle as endangered. Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States and Born Free USA applaud the court’s decision requiring FWS to continue to apply the restrictions of the Endangered Species Act to these antelope species, even when they are held in U.S. captive hunting facilities, where shooters pay top dollar to kill captive animals for trophies.
Now, with the court’s clear acknowledgement that both captive and wild individuals are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the groups are urging FWS to stop issuing permits to captive shooting facilities that allow trophy hunters the opportunity to kill these endangered antelope.
Michael Senatore, vice president for conservation law at Defenders of Wildlife said: “Experts agree that captive hunting does not contribute to the overall conservation of the species in their native habitat. The court’s ruling is an important step to protecting endangered species worldwide.”
In 2005, FWS listed these African antelope species as endangered, but at the same time, the agency issued a regulation for captive hunting operations that waived the Endangered Species Act permitting requirements – essentially allowing these pay-to-play operations to allow the killing of endangered species. However in 2012, following a previous lawsuit filed by Defenders of Wildlife, The HSUS and Born Free USA, the agency formally rescinded that captive hunting regulation. As a result, endangered antelope can only be killed after obtaining a federal permit, and such permits can only be issued for legitimate conservation purposes. More....