Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump reverses elephant trophy decision, keeps ban

Trump reverses elephant trophy decision, keeps ban

Prior to that ban, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service had the power to authorize importation on a case-by-case basis, provided that the hunt in which the elephant was killed could be considered to aid conservation efforts (proponents of this view argue that the high value of endangered species to hunters incentivizes local populations to better protect the species overall, although the data says otherwise).

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Trump admin would be reversing the Obama-era restriction on shipping dead elephant parts to the U.S. Although African elephants are considered threatened on the endangered species list, the defense for hunting them has always been that the obscene amount of money rich people drop to shoot them (and other animals) helps conservation efforts.

President Donald Trump said Friday that he has chose to put a decision about big-game trophies on hold. On Friday, 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".

Tanya Sanerib, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement: "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".

Trump reverses elephant trophy decision, keeps ban
Trump reverses elephant trophy decision, keeps ban

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the pair came to the decision after they "talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical".

Zimbabwe, in particular, has been rife with bad wildlife management practices, which is why the Obama administration banned elephant trophy imports from the country in the first place. The new policy applies to the remains of African elephants killed between January 2016 and December 2018. "This fact in and of itself highlights the absurdity and illegal nature of the FWS decision to find that Zimbabwe is capable of ensuring that elephant conservation and trophy hunting are properly managed", wrote the Humane Society's Pacelle.

Supporters say money made from well-regulated hunts has been used for costly wildlife conservation in cash-starved African countries battling to diminish chronic poverty.

In Zimbabwe alone, from 2005 to 2014, American hunters imported an average of almost 200 elephant trophies each year. Where 5 million of the giant pachyderms once roamed African savannahs, there are now just 400,000. "We don't get a second chance once a species becomes extinct". "We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these wonderful animals".

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