Trump is delaying decision on importing elephant trophies after outcry
President Donald Trump backtracked on his administration’s decision to reverse the ban on importing big-game trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, saying in a tweet Friday evening that he would postpone the move until further review with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
On Saturday, Trump retweeted comments from TV personalities Greta Van Susteren and Piers Morgan, praising the decision.
BOOM! Thank you, Mr President. Trophy-hunting is repellent. https://t.co/iEPfEQNX4t
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 18, 2017
Thank you @realDonaldTrump – this is important to so many of us https://t.co/zJAfZByQKX
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) November 18, 2017
The move comes just after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed this week it would begin issuing permits for elephant trophies such as tusks and hides, lifting a ban issued by the Obama administration in 2014 and prompting swift backlash from animal-rights organizations and environmental groups.
The agency had said that allowing the hunting of elephants, lions and other big game helps conservation and anti-poaching efforts by raising funding. Opponents argue that corruption and the volatile political environment in Zimbabwe make it impossible to determine whether the revenue is being used toward those efforts.
California Rep. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who called the decision to reverse the ban the “wrong move at the wrong time,” stated further: “In this moment of turmoil, I have zero confidence that the regime—which for years has promoted corruption at the highest levels—is properly managing and regulating conservation programs.”
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African elephants have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 1978 and classified as “vulnerable” by the World Wildlife Fund due to thousands poached every year for their ivory tusks.
Zinke followed up with a statement Friday, saying, “President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical” and that the issuing of permits would be put on hold.
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