Trump reverses elephant trophy decision, keeps ban

2017-11-18 21:39
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Washington - President Donald Trump says he will uphold a ban on importing trophies of elephants hunted and killed in Zimbabwe, pending further review, reversing his own administration's decision from just a day earlier after a public outcry.

"Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!" Trump tweeted.

Issuing permits

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

Just hours before, Trump's spokesperson Sarah Sanders had defended the US Fish and Wildlife Service's move to end the 2014 ban initiated under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

The service said on Thursday that it would begin issuing permits to import "sport-hunted trophies from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe" between January 21 2016 and December 31 2018.

Zambia would also have been covered under the revised rule.

The move was met with a barrage of criticism from animal rights groups and activists.

Elephant population

It also came on the same day that the US State Department presented to Congress its first report on wildlife trafficking which, it said, "remains a serious transnational crime".

According to the Great Elephant Census project, African Savanna elephant populations fell by 30% between 2007 and 2014, while Zimbabwe saw a drop of 6%. 

Despite an overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has declined in part because of continued illegal killing, said a report this year by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.


Read more on:    us  |  elephant poaching  |  conservation

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