Importing CITIES Animals into the European Union

Posted On : Dec 6, 2015

Posted By : JSM

Importing CITES animals into the European Union

Importing CITIES Animals into the European Union

The European Union Commission (EU) has a Scientific Review Group (SRG) that has issued opinions regarding importation of a number of animals on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) list dated September 15, 2015.  Elephant trophies cannot be imported into the EU from Tanzania or Mozambique.  However, the SRG did take a favorable approach to the future importation of elephant trophies from Zambia as of this September meeting.  The Zambian elephant imports had been denied back on April 9, 2015 and reconfirmed as of the SRG meeting dated July 2, 2015.  Zambian authorities had provided ongoing information about elephant populations in the country as shown by an aerial survey undertaken during 2013 in the Lower Zambezi, Luangwa, and Kafue areas.  Elephant population in Zambia was determined to be slightly over 33,000 animals and increasing.  The export numbers were set at 80 trophies being exportable per year into the EU.  However, Zambian lion hunting will be dealt with on a case-by-case situation.

Lion hunting is still embargoed from Benin, Burkina Faso and Cameroon, however.  Other animals embargoed from importation into the EU from Africa are Southern White rhinoceros and hippopotamus, unless a specific import permit is granted by EU member states.

The SRG reinforced its negative opinion on the importation of elephant trophies from Tanzania.  The country provided additional information on actions taken to reduce poaching and wanton destruction of elephants for commercial purposes.  However, the SRG said that even though measures to stop poaching have progressed, the steep decline of the elephant population over recent years due to the illegal ivory trade has reduced the elephant numbers to where their future is jeopardized.  Until Tanzania can show that the elephant population has stabilized at sustainable levels, the ban will stay in effect at least until the SRG meets again in 2016. 

Importing lion trophies from Tanzania will still be allowed, providing that the national lion hunting quota would continue to be set by scientific observation.  This also will be revisited in 2016.

The SRG remained negative about importing elephant trophies from Mozambique.  As far as lion trophies from Mozambique, each import application will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Elephant from Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia are covered under Appendix I of CITIES.  All commercial trade in elephants or their parts such as ivory is totally banned.   Hunting trophies have an exception to this ban because they fall under the definition of personal effects.  Also, trophy hunting has a positive role in conservation.  Therefore, these trophies can currently be imported into the EU, providing certain conditions are met, and proper permits are procured.