Endangered Species May Soon Be Imported to U.S., Under Bush Proposal

The Bush administration wants to radically alter conservation policies to allow hunters, circuses, the pet industry, and leather importers to bring endangered animals into the U.S. from other nations — dead or alive. Since its adoption in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has been interpreted as effectively prohibiting trade in endangered species between the U.S. and other countries, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now argues that other nations should be permitted to sell a limited number of endangered animals to American buyers, so the funds generated can be used to support conservation efforts. Environmentalists aren’t buying it. “As soon as you place a financial price on the head of wild animals, the incentive is to kill the animal or capture them,” said Adam Roberts of the Animal Welfare Institute. “The minute people find out they can have an easier time killing, shipping, and profiting from wildlife, they will do so.”