Ted Lieu

From the office of:

Ted Lieu

Sending Office: Honorable Ted Lieu
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to ask you to sign the below letter to the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee directing the Director of Fish and Wildlife Service to suspend the issuance of import permits of sport-hunted trophies of threatened and endangered
species until the Secretary has made a finding of whether the country where the animal was killed adequately provides for the conservation and monitoring for that species.

To join me in sending this letter, please contact Julian Sham ( on my staff by
COB Wednesday, March 18, 2020.


Ted W. Lieu
Member of Congress

March 10, 2020 

Dear Chairwoman McCollum and Ranking Member Joyce: 

We thank you for your continued leadership of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. As you develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (Interior/EPA), we respectfully request the following language
be included in the Committee’s report:

In Fiscal Year 2020, the Fish and Wildlife Service was directed to brief Congress 60 days after the enactment of H.R. 1865 on its findings regarding its reevaluation of its current policy of evaluating applications for importing trophies for elephants
and lions on case-by-case basis and its analysis on how targeted investments and technical assistance to the exporting countries’ conservation programs would impact the survival of elephants and lions, improve local communities, and sustain species populations. 

The lack of timely results indicates the Service may not have the necessary means and adequate information to issue import permits. Therefore, the Director of Fish and Wildlife Service is directed to suspend the issuance of—

Any permit authorizing import from any country of a sport-hunted trophy of a threatened or endangered species until the Secretary has made a finding after public notice and comment pursuant to section 553 of title 5, United States Code, of whether the
country where the animal was killed adequately provides for the conservation and monitoring for that species, including a fully funded and implemented management plan for that species: that is based on the best available science that addresses existing threats
to the species; provides a significant conservation benefit to the species; formally coordinates with adjacent countries to protect transboundary populations; and ensures that any take is sustainable and does not contribute to the species’ decline in either
the short-term or long-term according to current population estimates derived through use of the best available science.

The designation of threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) demonstrates not only that a species requires heightened protections, but also that the American people place particular value on these imperiled and ecologically-significant
animals. Unfortunately, trophy hunting continues to contribute to the decline of several listed species, and the U.S. is the world’s largest importer of sport-hunted animals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is responsible for issuing permits for the importation of trophies of ESA-listed species, a process that is heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars. It is imperative that the agency ensure that any such trophy allowed
into the country has not negatively impacted the survival of that species. Over the past few years, however, the FWS has prioritized the interests of trophy hunters over the consideration of listed species’ survival. 

The committee report accompanying the FY20 appropriations package (H.R. 1865) expressed concern over whether the FWS policy of evaluating import applications for sport-hunted trophies of certain ESA-listed species adequately accounts for possible harm to
these vulnerable populations (Division D, page 13). The FWS was directed to reevaluate this policy and brief Congress within 60 days. The report language also requested that the FWS seek out alternative, diverse, and sustainable funding and aid mechanisms
for supporting local economies that currently receive income from trophy hunting revenues. 

Since the FWS has not been able to complete and deliver the required evaluation and analysis as directed, it is imperative that we halt sport-hunted trophy imports of threatened or endangered species until the agency has ensured its actions will facilitate
species recovery. It poses too great a risk to the future survival of these ESA-listed species to continue to allow trophy imports under a broken system that even the agency cannot justify. The above report language prevents the issuance of import permits
until the FWS determines, with input from the public, that a country adequately provides for the conservation and monitoring of a sport-hunted threatened or endangered species.

We hope that this proposed report language request can build upon the language included in the FY20 committee report, and we urge you to support this vital oversight of trophy imports. 

Thank you for considering our request.


Ted W. Lieu
Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

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