Donald Trump reverses course on trophy hunting, reimposes Obama-era ban

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The reversal of the ban would have applied to dead elephants hunted in Zimbabwe from January 21, 2016, to December 31, 2018, and to elephants hunted in Zambia in 2016, 2017 and 2018 "for applications that meet all other applicable permitting requirements", a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed on Thursday it lifted the ban.

Last night, Trump announced that he would hold up the change in policy until it has been reviewed. "Will update soon with Secretary Zinke", Trump said in the tweet, referring to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Mr Zinke issued a statement later yesterday saying: "President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical.

They pay loads of money to pick from a menu of what animals they want to kill and a guide basically takes them right to it - zero bravery and not much actual skill involved".

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The African savanna elephant population was found to have declined by 30 percent overall between 2007 and 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census in 2016. "As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being removed".

Public outrage against the administration's original decision to overturn the Obama ban was not limited to the US. The US Fish and Wildlife Service had already moved to begin allowing people to import hunted lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. The animals are listed in the Endangered Species Act, which requires the United States government to protect endangered species in other countries.

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, which advocates for animal rights, applauded the decision to reimpose the ban, but said more needed to be done. Elephant populations, in particular, have been devastated across Africa over the past century.

Others reminded us that Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are big-game hunters. Where 5 million of the giant pachyderms once roamed African savannahs, there are now just 400,000. "This is the kind of trade we don't need".

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