Trump reverses elephant trophy ban

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In Zimbabwe, according to the Safari Operators Association, annual revenue this year could be as much as $130 million (€110 million), mainly from the United States market.

"What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive can not kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it's just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?" wrote Pacelle.

Conservation groups have decried US President Donald Trump's decision to allow trophy hunters who kill elephants in two African countries to bring home the endangered animals' tusks or other body parts as trophies.

To be clear, this is not just about hunting, this is about the despicable practice of trophy hunting, where cowardly and morally deficient trophy hunters travel to Africa to engage in canned hunts and collect "trophies" such as elephants, warthogs, zebras, lions, and even giraffes, with entire tour companies dedicated to the so-called "sport."The decision to reverse the Obama era ban on the importation of "trophies" was celebrated by some hunting and gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, America's premier terrorist organization".

This change only applies to elephants in those two countries but questions about using game hunting to generate money for conservation efforts also came up during the controversy after Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe in 2015.

"This is a significant step forward in having hunting receive the recognition it deserves as a tool of sound wildlife management, which had been all but buried in the previous administration".

Elephants graze inside Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, August 1, 2015.

The move triggered protests from conservation groups and a frenzy on social media from opponents who posted pictures of Trump sons Donald Jr. and Eric, who are avid hunters, posing with the cut-off tail of a slain elephant and other dead wild animals on Twitter. The fact is, trophy hunting does not help conservation efforts, although those who defend the cowardly sport often make claims to the contrary.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has been talking with wildlife officials in Zimbabwe since the ban was announced in 2014.

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The proposed text of the new rules had not as of Thursday been published in the Federal Register.

"Let's be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the USA government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them", Pacelle wrote.

"The U.S. must do all we can to ensure the genuine protection of African elephants, a species listed under the Endangered Species Act".

Experts say that populations of African elephants are plummeting.

And that number continues to decline each year.

The elephant population declined 6 percent overall in Zimbabwe but dropped by 74 percent within one specific region.

The reversal comes as the longtime president of Zimbabwe was placed under house arrest this week by the nation's military, plunging the west African nation into political uncertainty. The US embassy there has advised Americans there to "limit unnecessary movements".

There is now an apparent military coup taking place in Zimbabwe. "With tanks in the streets, whoever is actually running the Zimbabwe government just can't be trusted to protect elephants from slaughter by poachers".

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