According to The Hill, "The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced last week that it will now consider all permits for importing elephant trophies from African nations on a 'case-by-case basis, ' breaking from President Trump's earlier promises to maintain an Obama-era ban on the practice".
After a ban on importing elephant trophies into the USA, established during the Obama administration, was reversed in November of 2017, there was much outcry over the decision.
The Interior Department says it is revising the way it reviews applications to import hunted animal parts in response to a federal court opinion and withdrawing broad conclusions that applied to African elephants killed in Zimbabwe.
Elephants have been on the endangered species list since 1979 and their population has dropped dramatically due to poaching, the hunger for ivory trophies, and human kind's general disregard for their natural habitats.
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The moves comes months after President Trump put on hold a controversial US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) policy to allow big game hunters to bring the heads of elephants killed in Zimbabwe back to the US. The court also said the FWS should have gone through the extensive process of proposing a regulation, inviting public comment and making the regulation final when it made determinations in 2014 and 2015 that elephant trophies can not be brought into the country. "And people can talk all they want about preservation and all other things that they're saying", he told British broadcaster Piers Morgan, referring to the argument proffered by his own interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, and others that fees paid by big-game hunters could help fund conservation programs. Instead, the FWS will assess each case on an "individual basis".
The letter cites a December ruling in a long-running lawsuit challenging the ban filed by Safari Club International and the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association.
"The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that's totally unacceptable", said Tanya Sanerib, global legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
"Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve those species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation", the agency said in a statement.
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Donald Trump Jr. with the tail of an elephant he killed during a 2011 hunting trip.
Today in California, State Senator Henry Stern announced legislative action to prevent the possession of elephant trophies in California. And that number continues to decline each year.
"The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that's totally unacceptable", said Tanya Sanerib, global legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. The spokesperson did say, however, that the "president has been very clear in the direction that his administration will go".
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