Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) issued the following statement on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s move to allow imports of some big game trophies:

“When carefully regulated, conservation hunts can benefit habitats and wildlife populations. That said, this is the wrong move at the wrong time.   

“Today Zimbabwe is in economic and political crisis. American citizens in the country are advised to go outdoors only when necessary. In this moment of turmoil, I have zero confidence that the regime – which for years has promoted corruption at the highest levels – is properly managing and regulating conservation programs. Furthermore, I am not convinced that elephant populations in the area warrant overconcentration measures.

“The administration should withdraw this decision until Zimbabwe stabilizes. Elephants and other big game in Africa are blood currency for terrorist organizations, and they are being killed at an alarming rate. Stopping poaching isn’t just about saving the world’s most majestic animals for the future – it’s about our national security.”

NOTE: Chairman Royce is the author of the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, enacted in 2016, that provides the U.S. and partner nations additional tools to combat illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching. He is also co-chair of the House International Conservation Caucus.