Donald Trump voices doubt about trophy hunting policy

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Following strong bipartisan criticism of the administration's decision to allow imports of trophy carcasses for the first time since the practice was halted under the Obama administration, Trump had moved Friday to put the imports on hold.

Despite the outcry and Trump's stated reversal, the worldwide affairs page of the US Fish and Wildlife Service still - as of Saturday morning local time - says it will issue permits for importing big game animal parts.

That halted a decision by his own U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday to end a 2014 government ban on big-game trophy hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In his statement, Mr Buchanan called the sport hunting of African elephants "shameful" and said the U.S. should support a permanent ban.

Others reminded us that Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are big-game hunters.

French animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot was just one voice from overseas to slam the decision, writing in a letter to Trump: "No despot in the world can take responsibility for killing off an age-old species that is part of the world heritage of humanity".

"Stopping poaching isn't just about saving the world's most majestic animals for the future - it's about our national security".

The new policy applies to the remains of African elephants killed between January 2016 and December 2018.

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Well-managed hunting programmes provide huge economic incentives across Africa to conserve some of the planet's most iconic and beloved species, it said.

"In this moment of turmoil, I have zero confidence that the regime - which for years has promoted corruption at the highest levels - is properly managing and regulating conservation programs", Royce said.

The world's largest land mammal, the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act since 1979. In some places it has dropped more than 75 per cent due to ivory poaching.

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. And that number continues to decline each year.

"We should not encourage the hunting and slaughter of these magnificent creatures", Mr Buchanan said.

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".

Center for Biological Diversity had described this as a "horrific news" and said that "it's shocking" that Zinke is lifting the trophy ban during a military coup.

"We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these incredible animals", he said.

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