The Trump administration has done it again. In line with its past hiring decisions, the administration has appointed a former opponent of the Fish and Wildlife Service into a top position at the agency.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen Anna Seidman, the former legal advocacy director at Safari Club International, a nonprofit that advocates for trophy hunting, as assistant director of its International Affairs Program, the HuffPost reports. During her time at this organization, Seidman testified before Congress to increase wildlife access to private hunters in Alaska. Safari Club International has fought against protections for species such as grizzly bears and wolves to advocate on behalf of trophy hunters. This is an organization that very blatantly doesn’t care about the benefits wildlife provide to ecosystems and the planet at large.
Despite all this, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson described Seidman as “an effective, innovative leader with 20 years of legal and policy experience” in an email to Earther in an email. Yes, legal experience suing the very same agency.
Now, someone who helped spearhead litigation against the Fish and Wildlife Service will be helping to run the international arm of the federal agency starting Monday, March 23. The International Affairs Program is supposed to coordinate worldwide efforts to protect wildlife, but especially the most at-risk species. I’m not quite sure how this will happen with someone in charge who’s advocated against stripping creatures of these protections.
I imagine, however, it will go something like what we’ve seen in other agencies. Take the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Current Administrator Andrew Wheeler used to be a coal lobbyist. In his role, he’s fought against coal ash regulations. Surprised? Me neither. When the EPA put a bunch of industry goons in its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, members decided air pollution research wasn’t trustworthy.
This is our federal government under Donald Trump. That’s why this latest hire comes as no surprise, but that doesn’t make this decision any less concerning. Just earlier this month, poachers killed two rare all-white giraffes. Poaching is also driving rhino species closer to extinction. Sure, there’s the rare occasion where an elephant kills a poacher and leaves him to be eaten by a pack of lions. That, unfortunately, won’t stop trophy hunters and the black market from targeting these creatures.
Threatened wildlife now has one fewer advocate in the U.S. government, at least. That’s a true shame.