Trump says he has put big-game trophy decision on hold

Saul Bowman
November 19, 2017

A US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said the move would allow the two African countries to include US sport hunting as part of their management plans for the elephants and allow them to put "much-needed revenue back into conservation".

Conservation efforts in recent decades have failed to stem the steady decline of the African elephant, which endured a 20 percent decline in just nine years - from 2006-2015. California Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the "wrong move at the wrong time".

Earlier on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's original repeal of the ban, saying, "This review established that both Zambia and Zimbabwe had met new standards, strict global conservation standards that allowed Americans to resume hunting in those countries". "As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed". The animals are listed in the Endangered Species Act, which requires the USA government to protect endangered species in other countries.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it would allow the importation of elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, arguing that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the animals would help raise money for conservation programs.

The world's largest land mammal the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the US Endangered Species
The world's largest land mammal the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act since 1979

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced that the Obama era ban on importing elephant tusks and other trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe would be lifted.

"(It's) a great travesty for elephants", Tanya Sanerib Sr., with the Attorney Center for Biological Diversity, said.

And critics noted that Trump's adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are known big game hunters. "Furthermore, I am not convinced that elephant populations in the area warrant overconcentration measures". "This is the kind of trade we don't need".


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