THIS NEW US
WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES REGULATION MAY AFFECT MEMBERS AND THEIR CLIENTS.
One of the biggest changes in the new
Fish and Wildlife internal regulations for CITES wildlife is the definition of
the term “trophy”. Proposed regulation changes have been floating around since
May of 2000. In spite of the many comments in response to the Federal Register
Notices, objecting to these changes, the Fish and Wildlife Service saw fit to
put into place the wording they have been proposing for nearly 8 years. The
effective date was 09-24-07.
According to Fish and Wildlife the term “hunting trophy” no longer includes any
“utilitarian” object manufactured from the animal, such as jewelry, elephant
hair bracelets, clothing, boots, gun cases, purses, etc.
Those items have to be coded as a “P” for “personal” use only. However, the
caveat here is whether the animal carries a CITES I or CITES II or III
designation and if there is any special annotations tied to that animal.
CITES I animals such as Leopard often have the floating bones or claws
manufactured into jewelry like a necklace or capped to use as charms for a
bracelet. Because there would not be a separate US Import or Export Permit coded
with a “P” the claws would have to remain in the pad of the paw. The regulations
specify how Appendix I trophies and parts can be used after import. They can
only be used for primarily non-commercial purposes and any condition or
limitation the Service places on the face of the import permit must be honored.
The biggest animal affected is African Elephant. There is an annotation to the
CITES listing that the only items allowable to be made up for export are
elephant skins and certified Ekipas (a type of necklace that is considered
folk-art). Therefore, if you have paid to have gun bags, boots, wastebaskets,
etc. made up from the elephant you legally sport-hunted you will not be able to
import it to the United States. When I questioned one FWS employee regarding
this; knowing that hunters only have these made up for personal use and not
resale, I was told there was no way FWS could guarantee that the made-up article
actually came from the specific elephant hunted. Many countries consider the
making up of these items to be one of their principal livelihoods. With the
enforcement of these regulations they will face an even direr state than they
We at Coppersmith are working with Conservation Force, Congressional Sportsmen’s
Caucus, Safari Club International and the Dallas Safari Club in an attempt to
get final clarification from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Our e-mails sent to the Law Enforcement Division of FWS dated August 30th,
seeking clarification, have not been responded to. The regulations make it quite
clear that any item imported contrary to CITES becomes “contraband” at the time
of the import, thus there is no custodial or property rights to it by the
John Jackson of Conservation Force pointed out in a recent article “Just because
it is a final regulation does not make it a legal regulation, particularly if it
does not have a basis in law, is arbitrary or capricious, or is contrary to
Dr. Don Heath D.Sc.
Editor, African Hunter