The Endangered Species Act Won’t Save Africa’s Giraffes

Saving the species depends on harnessing American investment

Animal rights activists and hunters usually don’t see eye to eye. But when it comes to the world’s tallest land mammal, they’re in agreement: Africa’s giraffes are in trouble.

Last week, activists who have proposed listing giraffes under the Endangered Species Act and sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — and asked for President Trump’s help in forcing a decision from the agency.

But what the Fish and Wildlife Service and the president must consider is that wild giraffes are largely threatened by war and habitat loss — realities that an endangered listing can do little about. Africa’s armed groups don’t operate under American environmental laws. Additionally, the restrictions on imports of hunting trophies, hides and other products that the ESA often creates can reduce incentives for local communities and landowners to conserve giraffe habitat.

For the United States to play a constructive role in global wildlife conservation it must move beyond unilaterally adopting rules and regulations and pursue real engagement in countries where species like giraffes are found. This means modernizing our approach to conservation and embracing the emerging global consensus that conservation depends on leveraging the private sector investment capable of promoting the peace, stability, and prosperity under which giraffes and other wildlife can thrive.

Read the entire piece in The Hill.

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