At the time of writing (May 2015), African elephant hunting by sporting hunters has had additional restrictions imposed as a result of large-scale commercial poaching which is decimating the elephant populations of many African countries.
New USF&W Elephant Trophy Import Rules
Regardless of the 1989 CITES international trade ban on elephant ivory, USF&W has recently seen fit to use the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to institute a near-total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory. As of 6th July 2016 all elephant trophies, regardless of the country in which they were taken (including CITES II elephant populations), will require an Import Permit. This also includes elephant trophies taken before this date which arrive in the US after the date. In addition, US hunters may only have 2 import permits in a year. To get your import permit, you must complete Form 3-200-19.
So back to elephant hunting. Let's see where you can actually still hunt them and furthermore keep and import the trophies.
"It is a common saying hereabouts that no hunter is entitled to a big bull elephant till he has done two hundred solid miles on foot. As far as I am concerned, I qualified a long time ago". Count Zsigmond Szechenyi 'Land Of Elephants'
African Elephant Trophy Minimums
SCI has a separate forest and savanna elephant categories and Rowland Ward has only one for all African elephant.
Elephant Hunting Prices (For Informative Use Only)
"The essence of elephant hunting is discomfort in such lavish proportions that only the wealthy can afford it." Beryl Markham
- In Cameroon, despite the trophy import restrictions, it is perfectly legal to hunt elephant which is in the Group A animal licence. You may choose 2 animals to hunt out of Group A and on a forest hunt you can hunt a forest elephant though it is likely the bongo will be the priority. Usually the daily rates are quoted in US$ and the trophy fees in Euros. Depending on the hunt length and camp you choose, forests hunts in Cameroon range from US$30000 for 14 days to US$35000 for 16 days. On a savanna hunt the priority is usually the Lord Derby eland but you can choose to hunt an elephant as your second Group A option. The trophy fee for the forest elephant is 4500 Euro to 5000 Euro. On a savanna hunt you can hunt a savanna elephant for between US$35000 and US$42000 with an elephant trophy fee of 3500 Euro to 4000 Euro.
- In Mozambique there are plenty of elephant hunting options. You can buy all-inclusive elephant package hunts - for example, a 14 day hunt for US$42500 including the licence and trophy fee. Then there are numerous combo hunts of various lengths such as elephant with plains game or all or any dangerous game. A 21 or 28 day Big 4 including elephant will be between US$52500 to US$70000 with a total trophy fee of about US$18000 (including licence fee). A 12 day elephant and plains game can be about US$15600 with a trophy fee of US$8500. Most outfitters use sliding scales of ivory weight with some stipulating up to 6 incremental ivory weight trophy fees.
PAC (Problem Animal Control) elephant hunts, either offered in advance or during an ongoing hunt, to paying overseas hunting clients are completely illegal in Mozambique.
- In Namibia you can hunt a trophy elephant bull on the minimum of a 14 day hunt. If you want to hunt a non-trophy elephant you can do a shorter hunt of 7 or 8 days so the hunt is much cheaper.So what is a non-trophy elephant? Some outfitters set firm size criteria, others are vague and others don't mention it at all, so always check first. Also the ivory and other trophy products of a non-trophy elephant are not generally exportable. Some outfitters neglect to mention this. So if you are interested in doing a non-trophy elephant hunt, you will be hunting one who maybe tuskless, short in the tooth or with broken tusks, where for example, both tusks come in under 70lbs total or no single tusk is over 50lbs. A short non-trophy elephant hunt will be in the region of US$11600 to US$16250, excluding the US$500 conservation fee. Non-trophy elephant trophy fees go from US$5000 to US$6000.If you are after a trophy elephant bull, you have lots of choices including 14 day elephant-only hunt packages which go for about US$47000 including the elephant trophy fee. 14 day trophy elephant-only hunts from between US$16000 to US$33600 + conservation fees and elephant trophy fees between US$12500 to US$30000. You can also do various longer trophy elephant combo hunts with other dangerous game like buffalo or hippo etc.Some hunting agents make a big deal about hunting desert elephants in the Kunene region of Namibia. These elephants are technically exactly the same as any other savanna elephant except they have adapted to life in the desert with particularly broad feet, long legs and smaller bodies. Desert elephants are given lots of attention by animal rights campaigners because they believe they are specially endangered but the Namibian Government are not worried about their numbers and issue a limited number of hunting permits for these desert-adapted elephants. A 14 day desert elephant hunt will cost around US$14000 with a trophy fee of US$15000.
Desert Elephants Of Namibia
- PAC elephant hunting in Namibia by a foreign, paying hunter is legal only if a particular animal is identified in a specific location and officially declared to be a Problem Animal by MET (Ministry of Environment and Tourism). A problem animal is supposed to be put down within 48 hours of completion of the investigation and the issuing of a destruction permit which is valid for 2 weeks maximum. The landowner or leaseholder of the land on which the animal is located may offer it to a hunting client to shoot, only if the elephant remains on the land. If it leaves the designated area, it cannot be pursued and shot on another landowner's property by the same hunting outfitter and client. PAC elephant hunts are frequently subject to various scams run by unscrupulous outfitters so a diligent and scrupulous hunting client must know what to find out before he agrees to one of these hunts. PAC elephant hunts cannot be legally offered for sale to hunting clients a long time in advance, so the client generally must already present in Namibia or able to be there at very short notice. The specific animal must be shot in the presence of a Game Warden. It is illegal to procure a PAC permit first and then start looking for any potential PAC elephant that might be in the vicinity. Any trophy products from a PAC elephant are non-exportable.
- To hunt an elephant in South Africa a TOPS permit must be issued to the landowner in the name of the foreign hunter and must be in his hand when the hunt takes place. A TOPS permit cannot be issued after the hunt and any trophy will not be exported without this permit being signed off after a successful hunt and only then will a CITES II export permit be issued. Elephant hunting is somewhat different in South Africa - the precise elephant and it's likely ivory weight or the choice of one elephant of a few, to be hunted is frequently known ahead of time and the hunt priced accordingly. Many hunts are priced as all-inclusive elephant packages such as a 10 day hunt at US$35200 with an expected trophy weight of between 30lb to 50lb or 12 days at US$65000 including a 60lb elephant trophy fee.It is illegal for a foreign hunter to shoot a PAC elephant in South Africa. Any trophy from a PAC animal cannot be exported. A genuine PAC elephant must be dealt with minimum delay have a TOPS Damage Causing Animal (DCA) Permit issued to the landowner who may shoot it himself or ask a South African resident hunter to deal with it.A if a so-called elephant 'management hunt' or 'non-trophy hunt' in South Africa implies that an elephant with very light weight ivory is to be hunted for a cheap rate, as long as the sport hunting TOPS permit is issued, there is no reason the hunter cannot get a CITES II export permit to export the trophy. However it must NOT be a PAC elephant in disguise! Always check out these sort of hunt offers carefully because it is hard to see why an outfitter with a limited number of elephant tags would offer a cheap non-trophy hunt when he could sell a trophy quality hunt at full price.
- In Tanzania the Government elephant trophy fees are based on a increments of ivory weight starting at the minimum weight for a shootable bull. So from 2013 the Government trophy fees were raised - 15kg/33lb/1.5m to 27kg/60lb is US$8500, 27kg/60lb to 32kg/80lb is US$15000 and over 32kg/80lb is US$21900. Adding on the community development/anti-poaching percentages, you are looking at trophy fees in the range of US$17000 to US$23100 for the smallest ivory weight, US$25000 to US$36750 for the middle weight and US$30000 to US$47250 for the heaviest ivory. Some outfitters do not use the exact Government weight increments.
- In Zambia there are no elephant hunt or trophy prices out yet.
- The cheapest elephant hunting can be found in Zimbabwe if you happy to shoot a tuskless cow with a trophy fee from US$3750 to US$5950. A 10 day 'tuskless' only hunt can be had for US$10000 or 5 day 'non-exportable' elephant hunt is US$10950. Other 'non-trophy' quality elephants can be hunted on various length hunts or combo hunts at the lesser trophy fees of around US$9500. You will need to check what an individual outfitter classes as a 'non-trophy' elephant in size and the exact circumstances of the hunt - it is a 'management' hunt or does it cross the blurry line into an illegal PAC elephant hunt?There are a few outfitters that offer 'any size' elephants hunt packages. These range from US$15000 to US$20000 depending on hunt length with an any size elephant trophy fee of US$12500.If you are after a trophy bull elephant hunt, you can choose an all-inclusive package. For eaxample a 14 day elephant hunt will be around US$31900 and an 18 day all-inclusive will be US$42000. These include the elephant trophy fee. Other trophy elephant hunts can be done as varying length combo hunts with plains or dangerous game with usually a 14 day minimum hunt. The trophy fees are based on various levels of ivory weight increments usually starting at less than 49lb which will be around US$13500, 50-59lb will be around US$15500, 60-69lb will be about US$16000 and over 70lbs will be around US$18000. More expensive elephant hunts can be had in Zimbabwe with 1x1 hunt rates at US$21700 to US$68600 and elephant trophy fees less than 59lb at US$29000, 60-69lbs at US$36000 and over 70lb will be US$40000.
The hunting of PAC elephants in Zimbabwe by foreign hunters is illegal.