General News

Answer – Import of elephant hunting trophies – E-002102/2018

Some populations of African elephant are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)(1) and are hence included in Annex B to Regulation (EC) No 338/97(2). Under CITES rules, non-commercial international trade in hunting trophies from those populations is allowed(3).

For species listed in Annex B, the EU Scientific Review Group (SRG)(4) which gathers scientific authorities from all EU Member States, considers whether imports would have a harmful effect on the conservation status or on the extent of the territory occupied by the relevant population taking account of the level of trade as provided by Article 4.2(a) of the regulation(5).

In April 2015, the SRG confirmed its earlier positive opinion on elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe. This was done on the basis of a national elephant survey(6) which demonstrated that the overall numbers of elephants remained stable in Zimbabwe(7) while trade levels were limited to a maximum of 500 individuals (1000 tusks) per year.

In line with current CITES and EU rules, the Commission continues to favour a science-based and case-specific regime for the import of elephant hunting trophies. The situation of elephant populations is scrutinised regularly by the SRG and CITES on the basis of the latest data available. Through the EU-supported MIKE programme(8), new data on elephant populations in Africa will become available in the second half of 2018.

The SRG is subject to the Commission expert groups rules which ensure a high degree of transparency(9). Meeting agendas, summaries of conclusions and working documents are published on the Commission’s Expert Group Register(10).

This includes information obtained from third parties unless the party in question objects.

(1) Apart from Zimbabwe, this concerns the elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (OJ L 61, 3.3.1997, p. 1)
(3) According to an annotation to the CITES listing —
(5) Article 4.2(a) of the regulation. Import permits are issued by Member States’ management authorities after considering the opinions of the SRG and of their national scientific authorities.
(6) Carried out as part of the Pan-African Elephant Aerial Survey, see
(7) More than 80 000 individuals were counted between 2001 and 2014 compared to 46 000 in 1980.
(9) Commission decision of 30.5.2016 establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups, C(2016) 3301 final
(10) . See also