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American 'Trophy' Hunters Kill Endangered, Threatened Animals Abroad Almost Daily

By NBC Bay Area

An NBC Bay Area investigation reveals 1.2 million animals, including endangered and threatened wildlife, were killed abroad by American hunters and sent to the U.S. as trophies over the last 15 years.

American hunters abroad routinely kill endangered and threatened animals for sport, and then ship the wildlife home to the United States to be mounted as trophies, according to federal records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.

The high-priced hobby, known as trophy hunting, is legal and supported by some scientists because of its financial contributions to wildlife conservation.

However, wildlife advocates and a former top U.S. official are raising questions over America’s ability to vet trophy hunting programs abroad, before determining whether certain trophy shipments should be granted approval to enter the United States.

 

Poachers, critics say, are often able to capitalize on the lack of U.S. oversight by posing as legitimate trophy hunters abroad when they are actually killing endangered and threatened wildlife to sell on the black market back in the United States.

"Major wildlife populations, iconic populations – elephants, rhinos – are being decimated by sophisticated international syndicates that are taking the wildlife products – the rhino horn, the ivory and the tiger bone – and are selling them globally," said David Hayes, a former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, who oversaw the regulation of sport-hunted trophy imports under President Clinton and President Obama. "It’s a huge market."

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