Trump delays elephant trophy hunting, animal expert talks impact on wildlife conservation

Adam Roberts and his dog. (Photo Courtesy of Adam Roberts/Tom Williams)

Adam Roberts, manager of The Elephant Project, works on the animal protection and wildlife conservation around the word. He joins Matt Bubala to talk about Trump’s swaying decision on lifting a trophy ban on bringing elephant parts back to the U.S. Roberts was surprised when Trump overruled his decision.  Roberts says elephants across Africa are being poached, and Zimbabwe was specifically recognized as one of two countries were trophies were allowed to come from.

Critics say hunting helps conservation efforts, but Roberts disagrees. “We hope that because trophy hunters pay for these thrill kills in Africa, that somehow the money is going to make it to conservation. The fact of the matter is, most of these hunting corporations or outfitters that do the safaris, are not even making it into the country where the animals exist. About two percent is actually making it to the local communities,” Roberts says.

If the government really cared about the well-being of elephants, Roberts says hunting is not the best option. “There’s much more money made by eco-tourism, not hunting tourism. Studies have shown more than ninety-eight percent of all tourism revenue across the entire African continent comes from wildlife tourism that’s not hunting based,” he says.  “If we really care about investing in these local economies, we want to do it in a sustainable way, and that’s eco-tourism.”

Generally, elephants can live up to sixty or seventy years in the wild. It’s important to keep these animals in their natural habitat, because that’s what draws in the local tourism, even if poaching has escalated.  Tune in for the full conversation.