This week, an ABC News report went viral after it revealed that the Trump administration was reversing a ban on big-game hunting elephant trophies. Now according to The Huffington Post, Trump has rolled back protections for African lions as well.
The news comes the same week the White House came under fire over its plans to lift a ban on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, a decision that was announced not by a federal agency but via a news release from a trophy hunting advocacy group, Safari Club International.
Sometime last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began issuing permits for lion hunting trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. As HuffPo points out, trophies from “wild and wild-managed lions from South Africa are also acceptable under the import rules, and hunts from Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania are under review.”
The rollbacks are a direct refutation of Obama-era protections. In 2014, the Obama administration instituted a ban on elephant hunting trophies imported to the U.S. from Zimbabwe citing a lack of evidence that hunting helped conservation efforts. In 2016, lions were officially listed in the Endangered Species Act, which clamped down even more on the import of lion hunting trophies.
“The Interior Department and the government of Zimbabwe (whoever is in charge) are rolling out the red carpet for the next Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who lured a famous and beloved lion, Cecil, out of a national park and shot and wounded him with an arrow,” President of The Humane Society of the United States Wayne Pacelle wrote in a blog post this Thursday. “The outrage factor is almost beyond compare for us at The HSUS.”
“African elephants and African lions drive billions of dollars of economic activity in Africa,” Pacelle continued. “But they drive that activity only when they are alive. Killing them deducts from their populations, diminishes wildlife-watching experiences for others, and robs the countries of Africa of its greatest resources.”
“The folly that the killing helps lions and elephants is just that ― pure folly. We’ll see the agency in court.”
Update: HuffPo is reporting that Trump has placed his reversal on banned elephant trophies “on hold.”
In the face of widespread public backlash, President Donald Trumpannounced late Friday that he has suspended his decision to reverse an Obama-era banon the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts,” he posted to Twitter. He adding that the issue has been “under study for years” but that he would soon provide an update.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
Featured image via Mathias Appel (Flickr)