On 13th December 2022, the Finnish Parliament approved a new nature conservation law that includes the banning of imports of hunting trophies from endangered species. The Nature Conservation Act, which will enter into force on 1st June 2023, covers a wide range of conservation measures.
The Nature Conservation Act limits the import of hunting trophies by prohibiting the import from countries outside the EU of individuals or parts of the most endangered species threatened by international trade. Maria Ohisalo, the Minister of the Environment and Climate, stated, “With the new law, it is forbidden to bring hunting souvenirs of the most endangered animals to Finland. This means, for example, the horns of endangered rhinos or the teeth of tigers on the verge of extinction…I am happy that the Nature Conservation Act was approved by the Parliament. There has only been one major update to the Nature Conservation Act during its almost hundred-year history. We have received a lot of new information about the progress of nature loss and effective means to strengthen biodiversity, and it is all reflected in this major law reform.”
The Netherlands and Belgium have already a similar ban, and it is hoped that the UK, after a very long campaign, may also achieve this in the next few months. Over the summer, a coalition of 137 conservation and animal protection groups demanded a worldwide ban on the import of hunting trophies. These include 45 African organizations, the Humane Society International, Born Free Foundation, Pro Wildlife, and Eurogroup for Animals. Hunters frequently target endangered species, which adds a conservation problem to an already bad animal welfare problem. Currently, CITES, the treaty that regulates the international trade of endangered species, allows trophy hunting imports, and this is what campaigners want to change.