Trump delays policy on importing elephant parts

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday it would allow such importation

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday it would allow such importation

Shooting endangered animals as a contribution to conservation efforts sounds like the greatest oxymoron of all time, yet it is that reasoning that President Trump's administration used to back up its highly contentious proposal to allow elephant parts obtained through hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia to be taken home as trophies.

The Obama Administration had banned imports of ivory tusks and other elephant parts.

The comedian and TV host said she is "determined to do something" as she launched a celebrity-backed campaign to raise money for elephant conservation following the Trump administration's decision to allow legally hunted trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

"Trump tweeted that the policy had been "under study for years".

After Trump announced on Twitter that he would be suspending the reversal, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke confirmed the suspension.

In addition, the Republican head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce, released a statement on Friday noting that he has "zero confidence" that the government in Zimbabwe - which is now in the midst of a military coup - "is properly managing and regulating conservation programs" or that "elephant populations in the area warrant overconcentration measures".

Conservation efforts in recent decades have failed to stem the steady decline of the African elephant, which endured a 20 percent decline in just nine years - from 2006-2015.

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Before the Obama administration's ban, animals hunted in Zimbabwe accounted for almost half of all elephant trophy imports to the United States, according to Fish and Wildlife Service data analyzed by the Humane Society.

Zinke said in a statement that the "issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed". "Stopping poaching isn't just about saving the world's most majestic animals for the future - it's about our national security".

"The original ban was enacted based on detailed findings on the condition of elephant populations on the ground, and it strains credulity to suggest that local science-based factors have been met to justify this change", he said. Three years later, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Zimparks put the number at "over 83,000".

He described the perilous situation in Zimbabwe, where the U.S. Embassy has advised Americans to limit their travel outdoors. I love elephants and if you take the time to learn about elephants you would love them too.

"We're seeing a complete reversal with very little evidence that supports such a dramatic shift in policy", she said.

POOL New / Reuters Donald Trump backtracks on decision to lift ban on elephant trophy imports following outrage. "This is the kind of trade we don't need".

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