U.S. should deny Trump Jr. permit to import endangered sheep trophy from Mongolia

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on December 19, 2019 with 12 Comments

Last week, news that Donald Trump Jr. had trophy hunted an argali sheep protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act during a trip to Mongolia outraged Americans. Just as outrageous was the revelation that this hunt, which took place last summer, was partially funded by U.S. taxpayers.

No American—regardless of his or her wealth and political connections—should be above the law. That’s why, in a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today, Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, are calling on the agency to refuse to allow Trump Jr. to import the body parts of the animal he killed.

The letter states that argali sheep are an imperiled species who should not be hunted for their horns or hides to serve as wall hangings. “The reporting on Mr. Trump Jr.’s argali hunt—that was conducted at night with a laser guided rifle, and without a hunting permit issued before the hunt—raises serious questions regarding the legality of the killing and subsequent import of the animal.”

As ProPublica reported, Trump’s hunt was partially funded by U.S. and Mongolian taxpayers because each country sent security services to accompany the president’s eldest son and grandson on the multiday trip. After the hunt, Trump Jr. is reported to have met privately with the country’s president, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, before returning to the United States.

It was also reported that Trump Jr. did not have a Mongolian permit to kill the argali—a beautiful animal with long, curving horns—when the hunt took place. A permit was issued to him by the Mongolian government only after he had already departed the country, in what was clearly a hasty attempt to cover up a violation of Mongolian law. Such a violation should by itself disqualify Trump Jr. from bringing his trophy home.

Argali from Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Tajikistan are listed as threatened in the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and import of a hunting trophy of an ESA-listed species can be authorized only if it furthers conservation. There is no evidence that this was the case here. In fact, Mongolia has a history of using these beautiful and endangered animals as lures for those with money, connections and politics, and has not updated its argali hunting management plan in a decade.

A 2017 FWS finding shows that only a small percentage of hunting license fees in Mongolia actually go to argali conservation and community livelihoods.

Most Americans are opposed to trophy hunting, and do not believe in the canard spread by trophy hunting interests that killing one animal can help save an entire species. In fact, an increasing number of conservation scientists have challenged the notion that trophy hunting benefits conservation.

There is no doubt that Trump Jr. behaved unethically when he pointed a laser guided rifle at a beautiful animal whose species is in a struggle for survival. But this is not just about his poor ethics. As the son of the sitting president, his actions have also put our nation’s reputation as a global leader in the fight to conserve endangered wildlife at great risk. That’s why we urge the USFWS to follow the law and not show any special favors to this trophy hunter who has disgraced our nation and disappointed so many of us with his actions. Our laws should apply equally to every American, regardless of wealth, influence, political connections or name.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. John Bachman says:

    Another shameful act by the totally unethical family of President Trump. Another example of the President or his office, as well as taxpayer money, being used for personal gain.

  2. David Garris says:

    This utterly worthless piece of shit president and his ill-fed offspring have set us back 30 years in animal rights and environmental protection.

  3. Amy Capel says:

    This is an outrage. Do the laws not apply to them? There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start. He is not above the law and consequences of this behavior MUST be issued. NOT should but MUST. If he is allowed to to ship body parts of an animal, that is protected by the Endangered Species Act, that he didn’t have a permit to hunt, and the trip was funded by our money , I’m going to assume the law doesn’t apply to him. Is that how our government works?????

  4. Christine Scaffidi says:

    Disgusting. This administration has no regard for threatened or endangered animals.

  5. Mary A. says:

    Wow, the big whimp engages in laser-guided cruelty, that must make him feel good about himself. Why else would he do it? In my opinion, that’s what men who are not real men do. And history has taught us that cruelty and evil go hand-in-hand. We shouldn’t need to learn the same lessions again and again.
    There is no reason to give the wuss a permit. Instead he should be prosecuted for breaking the law. We have a proud history as a nation of the rule of law. It is one of the reasons why the United States has been able to proper in the manner that it has. Law and spirit are the backbone of our country. Doing the wrong thing should not be condoned because somebody’s father has a powerful position. The President should be ashamed of his child’s behavior. He should tell his immature son to knock it off, as Don Jr.’s conduct reflects poorly on the Office and the nation. Don Jr: Grow up and learn how to be a real man.

  6. Mary A. says:

    Apologies for the typos!

  7. Pink Taco says:

    It’s disgusting argali sheep are hunted soley because of their beautiful horns. Trophy hunters are the lowest forms of life. Always lying and using conservation as their excuse to kill.

  8. SLee says:

    There are so many disgusting things about the Trump dynasty that nothing would surprise me at this point. It is a sad testimony to how we have been regressing as a society and how far we are moving away from our responsibility to care for the planet and wildlife that have given us so much. Greed and arrogance are what moves the Trump /Republican cowards . This is a dark moment for people who want a better world. The mobsters who have taken over the White House are extremely dangerous to democracy and to the urgent issues that we face.

  9. Julia says:


  10. Linda L. Begovich says:

    Because you Donald Trump Jr. enjoys trophy Hunting for argali sheep and killed them this is one Trump vote that I no longer will cast. This also tells me you would trophy hunt other animals for the thrill of it. I guess you were brought up that killing animals is okay. Thanks for opening up my eyes you ……

  11. Lynn Krikorian says:

    It’s sickening what this administration is doing to endangered animals. Stop the madness, vote them out!

  12. Kathleen-Marie says:

    In the USA as elsewhere in the world, we need more protected lands, where culling wildlife is not allowed unless approved by authorities well in advance!! Places like Bhutan who are more advanced in their civil attitudes toward nature, consider the forest lands “sacred,” and permission must be obtained to even hike there with approved ranger guides of good intent. Reserves of wildlife in Africa need to be enlarged soon, so that elephants and wild antelope with cattle can migrate in seasons of draught to water holes. In the USA in Montana we now have American Prairie Reserve where fences have been taken down and buffalo and pronghorn can migrate in summer up to Canada and in cooler fall down to Wyoming for birthing of young. There is certainly hope for humanity if we can learn to live in harmony with nature and our environment, but now is the time to make a try!!! Guns might only be for self defense in my humble opinion, or just plain target practice, occasionally for hunting only species that are endangering by over-population the existence of others. Otherwise common sense would say “save the wilderness,” “save the wildlife.” A friend hunted deer in season recently and shot with an arrow a catch on his private property, the meat of which was approved and slaughtered, then frozen for home consumption. But trophy hunting seems like the dark ages…..”Photo” hunting might be a good substitute. Photos of the “living free” animals!!! I hope for the best this year, 2021. We could use a larger Everglades National Park in Florida, and more National Parks in the USA, as the ones we have were packed this summer to overflow!!! People couldn’t get in due to crowding, so let us open more parks.

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