Today conservation and animal protection organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking them to deny the import permit for the horns, skin or other parts of a trophy-hunted argali sheep killed by Donald Trump Jr. in Mongolia.
The letter details why the U.S. Endangered Species Act, under which argali are protected, cannot be used to authorize the import. Argali are threatened by overhunting, and now climate change and habitat loss are also threats to the species. The August kill was reportedly made without the required Mongolian hunting permit. Only after Trump Jr. left Mongolia — on Sept. 2, 2019 — was a permit issued.
Today’s letter states that “issuing an import permit or other authorization to Donald Trump Jr., a well-known public figure, could set a precedent that both increases other trophy hunters’ desire for argali trophies and establishes that ‘after-the-fact’ permitting of trophy hunts is acceptable.”
“Letting Trump Jr.’s sheep trophy into the U.S. would signal that wealthy Westerners can sneer at laws aimed at protecting rare animals from extinction,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we’re going to halt the extinction crisis, we can’t let trophy hunters pay to ignore the Endangered Species Act and kill imperiled species for fun.”
“Although President Trump has called trophy hunting a ‘horror show,’ Donald Trump Jr. continues to gallivant around the world to kill imperiled species while claiming to support wildlife conservation,” said Anna Frostic, senior vice president representing Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The legality of his latest hunt in Mongolia is questionable and it would be unlawful for USFWS to authorize the import of this trophy.”
Questions remain over whether the issuance of a permit after a hunt comports with Mongolian law. Argali are the world’s largest sheep. Their beautiful, curling horns - which reach up to six feet in length - are coveted by trophy hunters. Between 2007 and 2018, U.S. trophy hunters imported 65 argali trophies from Mongolia.
The letter was sent by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society Legislative Fund.