President Donald Trump has succumbed to pressure and halted his earlier decision to lift a ban imposed by Obama during his tenure banning Importation of Elephant tusks into America.
In the face of widespread public backlash,Trump announced yesterday(17th November) that he has suspended — at least for now — his own administration’s decision to reverse the ban on 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, adding that the issue has been “under study for years” but that he would provide an update after additional review.
Trump’s administration opted to lift the 2014 ban after determining that sport hunting of elephants in those African countries would “enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.
His tenure also saw release new guidelines that allow big game hunters to bring back to the U.S. animal trophies from hunts in parts of Africa, a spot his sons cherish.
Conservation groups celebrated Friday’s sudden change in course, which was believed to be a response to public pressure.
“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.”
In a post to Twitter, Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said he was “grateful” that Trump would reconsider. “This is the kind of trade we don’t need.”
African elephants have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1978. A provision of the law, however, allows for sport-hunted trophies to be imported if the government determines that hunting will help safeguard the population.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the many people who called on Trump to abandon his trophy hunting decision.
“Elephants and other big game in Africa are blood currency for terrorist organizations, and they are being killed at an alarming rate,” Royce said. “Stopping poaching isn’t just about saving the world’s most majestic animals for the future ― it’s about our national security.”
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