In the midst of the political turmoil surrounding the elephant trophy import ban, some enterprising fish biologists from Idaho introduced a solution. Citing the incredible success they’ve had running steelhead and salmon hatcheries that cost taxpayers a fortune and produce very few returning fish every year, these Idaho scientists floated the idea of building America’s first elephant hatchery in Idaho.
The leading proponent of this proposal Hugh Dumass told The Idaho Statesman that this idea is a silver bullet that solves two problems. Hugh said, “If we produce these animals right here in Idaho, then we don’t have to worry about importing trophies from Africa. Plus, the amount of conservation dollars hunting for these elephants would generate would be enormous. We could use that money to continue to prop up hatcheries and dams.”
Word quickly spread to the White House about this ingenious proposal and President Trump responded via Twitter with a big virtual thumbs up.We interrupted Secretary Zinke’s lunchtime round of Big Buck Hunter in the Department of the Interior cafeteria to get his thoughts on the proposal. He said, “This is something Teddy Roosevelt would have supported, so I’m all for it. I even know some great folks over at Whitefish Energy, who would do a great job building this facility.”
With the White House now on board with this proposal, folks in Idaho and DC are scrambling to figure out how to finance the construction and operation of this world-class elephant hatchery facility. Initially, Rob Bishop, the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, suggested raiding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but then he remembered that he decided not to reauthorize that “slush fund.” So now he and Secretary Zinke are working to figure out how they can sell off a suite of public lands and national monuments to fund what they are calling “America’s most critical conservation effort.”