Trump puts big-game trophy decision on hold

Donald Trump puts unpopular elephant trophy decision on hold ...

"Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts", Trump said on Twitter.

Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. On Friday, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the "wrong move at the wrong time". It's unclear how the President's tweet would affect the Fish and Wildlife service policy.

Earlier on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's original repeal of the ban, saying, "This review established that both Zambia and Zimbabwe had met new standards, strict worldwide conservation standards that allowed Americans to resume hunting in those countries".

Zimbabwe, in particular, has been rife with bad wildlife management practices, which is why the Obama administration banned elephant trophy imports from the country in the first place.

Royce questioned the action because of concerns not only about African wildlife but US national security, citing the political upheaval in Zimbabwe, where the longtime president was placed under house arrest this week by the military.

In an information sheet explaining why it was lifting the elephant import prohibition, the Fish and Wildlife Service noted that Zimbabwe had enacted a national elephant management plan and pointed to improvements in tracking hunting activity and "a more systematic, scientific approach to establish national quotas".

Supporters say money made from well-regulated hunts has been used for costly wildlife conservation in cash-starved African countries battling to diminish chronic poverty.

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The decision meant Americans would soon be able to hunt the endangered big game, an activity that garnered worldwide attention in 2015 when a Minnesota dentist took Cecil, perhaps the world's most famous lion, near a wildlife park in Zimbabwe.

She said: 'I love elephants.

The world's largest land mammal, the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1979. Where 5 million of the giant pachyderms once roamed African savannahs, there are now just 400,000.

It's theoretically possible, of course, that population declines would be even worse without the legally sanctioned killings of hundreds of elephants a year.

Two other lawmakers, Reps.

"We should not encourage the hunting and slaughter of these magnificent creatures", Buchanan said. "This is the kind of trade we don't need".

POOL New / Reuters Donald Trump backtracks on decision to lift ban on elephant trophy imports following outrage.

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