Biden Cracks Down on African Elephant Imports

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Friday, the Biden administration released an update of rules for importing live African elephants and trophies from them. 

The new tightened rules are going into effect on May 1, and while they do not outright ban the trade, it does greatly restrict the imports to only countries where they are able to sustain the elephant populations and certify that they are not in decline. 

In 2026, there is also going to be an additional provision going into effect which is going to require exporting countries to have conservation laws in place to protect the elephant populations. 

Martha Williams, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director noted in a statement that in collaboration with wildlife conservations from around the world they are committed to having international conservation laws implemented. She pointed out that the actions they are taking are going to help support the efforts from different countries to conserve African elephant populations and are going to further help protect African elephants that are imported into the country. She added that they are optimistic that the final rules are going to continue the conservation work that are aiming to ensure that wild African elephant populations are going to continue being sustainable in the future. 

Wildlife advocacy and conservation groups have noted that the rules do not outright ban trophy imports. Centre for Biological Diversity international legal director Tanya Sanerib stated that she was “crushed” by the rule as it did not ban elephant hunting trophies completely in the United States. She noted that under the rule, stable elephant populations are not even a requirement for trophy imports. 

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