Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Friends of Animals v. Ashe

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20062
Nos. 15-0653, (D.D.C., 03/24/2016) (Berman Jackson, J.)

A district court dismissed conservation groups' lawsuit challenging FWS' and DOI's decision to issue permits authorizing two American hunters to import the trophies they garnered in legal hunts of black rhinoceros in Namibia. The groups argued that issuance of the permits violated the APA, ESA, and NEPA. Despite the undisputed fact that the black rhinoceros is an endangered animal in need of the world’s protection, the groups failed to show that they have standing to pursue their claims. The challenged permits apply to trophies from two particular animals hunted in Namibia's Mangetti National Park, and the groups have not stated that any of their members have past or future plans to view rhinoceros in Mangetti National Park. As such, there is no injury in fact. In addition, the alleged connection between the issuance of import permits for trophies from completed legal hunts and a decrease in the opportunity to enjoy black rhinoceros in the future is too attenuated and too dependent on the acts of third parties to supply the necessary element of causation. Further, even a favorable ruling in this case would not redress the groups' alleged injuries. Regardless of whether FWS issues permits or not, Namibia officials stated they will authorize the hunting of black rhinoceros in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the international treaty that regulates the trade of protected wildlife. And the groups' claim that the agencies have adopted a “policy and repeated practice of issuing permits to import sport-hunted trophies of endangered animals” in violation of the ESA and the APA is not a final agency action and, therefore, is not ripe.