The Trump administration will reverse a 2014 ban on allowing hunters to bring back to the United States trophies of elephants they killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official told ABC News on Wednesday.
There is a provision in the Endangered Species Act that lets the government issue permits to import trophies if there's sufficient evidence that the hunting benefits the species, and the Fish and Wildlife official claims there is evidence coming from Zimbabwe and Zambia to support reversing the ban. The Great Elephant Census released in 2016 found that from 2007 to 2014, savanna elephant populations dropped 30 percent across 18 countries in Africa, and there are about 350,000 left in the wild.
In Zambia, the government has banned elephant hunting at various times, but in 2015, it was re-established after they determined the elephant population had grown. In Zimbabwe, poaching has long been an issue, and there is corruption in the hunting industry, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle wrote in a blog post. "Let's be clear," he said. "Elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them." President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., has hunted in Africa before, proudly posing for a photo with a knife in one hand and an elephant tail in the other.