Trump Admin OK's Slain African Elephant Trophy Imports From Africa

Big game hunters can now bring the head carcasses of animals back to the U.S., in a policy shift that favors the gun lobby.



In the face of intense backlash, Trump halts his decision to lift the ban. He tweeted out recently calling trophy hunting a “horror show” and said he’s unlikely to change his mind and allow such imports.


Later he announced a halt on his own decision until he reviews all the conversation facts.


Conservation groups lauded this change in Trump’s decision. “It’s great that public outrage has forced Trump to reconsider this despicable decision, but it takes more than a tweet to stop trophy hunters from slaughtering elephants and lions,” Tanya Sanerib, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these amazing animals.”

The Trump administration will allow trophy hunters to kill African lions and elephants and bring their heads back to the country, reversing an Obama-era policy that prohibited importing endangered animals in the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it will allow trophy hunters to bring back legally hunted wildlife to the country, removing restrictions on permits that were put in place to discourage the hunting and poaching of animals that are on the threatened species list.

This horrific news will naturally make Eric Trump and Don Jr., the avid hunters, really happy. It’s not surprising the GOP is pushing for laxer gun laws considering how Trump and his family openly advocate for the NRA and other gun lobbies.

According to the FWS, hunting African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” which is the standard by which officials determine whether to allow imports of parts — known as trophies — of the animals.

“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” an FWS spokesman said in a statement, after the hunting group Safari Club International announced the policy.

However the announcement of conversation efforts was not backed by any research.

In 2015, the FSW suspended the import of sport-hunted elephant trophies, citing a lack of evidence that the practice helped conservation efforts.

Fast forward to Trump’s regime: Animals killed between Jan. 21, 2016, and the end of 2018 will be allowed to be imported in the country.

The awful new policy is being lauded by gun lobbyists.

“By lifting the import ban on elephant trophies in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Trump Administration underscored, once again, the importance of sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting to the survival and enhancement of game species in this country and worldwide” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action.

“This is a significant step forward in having hunting receive the recognition it deserves as a tool of sound wildlife management, which had been all but buried in the previous administration.”

Though hunting might be treasured by the Trumps, the practice isn’t appreciated by many others.

Animal rights groups criticized Trump and his administration for removing the restrictions. “Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a blog post.

“What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it’s just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?” he continued.

Since 2001, Zimbabwe’s elephant population has reportedly declined, while elephant population in Zambia has also declined in some regions. Hunters generally choose the healthiest or strongest animal to hunt, for an impressive trophy, however, this can have negative effects on the species overall.

According to a 2015 poll, 86 percent of Americans oppose big-game hunting, and six out of 10 respondents said it should be illegal.

People on social media are calling out the Trump administration for this ominous decision.








Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Lucas Jackson

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