"The Interior Department is facing a lawsuit after failing to release electronic copies of elephant and lion trophy hunting permits, documents that animal conservation groups say are part of the public record.
The Humane Society, Center for Biological Diversity and Born Free USA jointly filed a lawsuit Thursday against Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for not posting online records of various overseas big-game trophy hunts.
The groups argue that FWS must release hunters’ permit applications and corresponding government approvals and denials as mandated under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The law, they say, mandates agencies post their decisions online for public inspection.
“Although it is unlawful for an American to import an elephant or lion trophy without first obtaining a permit, the public has been systematically deprived of contributing relevant scientific information to influence the federal government’s implementation of these critical elephant and lion conservation measures,” said Anna Frostic, managing wildlife attorney for the Humane Society, in a statement."