May 21, 2018

The White House has issued an informational statement echoing President Trump's controversial use of the word "animals" to describe members of the MS-13 gang. Trump's initial comments came under fire when he apparently used the dehumanizing word to describe some immigrants in sanctuary cities, although he later clarified he was using "animals" specifically to refer to violent gang members.

The press release issued Monday is titled "What you need to know about the violent animals of MS-13." The release uses eight different statements like, "In Maryland, MS-13's animals are accused of stabbing a man more than 100 times and then decapitating him, dismembering him, and ripping his heart out of his body," and "MS-13's animals reportedly saw murder as a way to boost their standing in the gang." The statement ends by vowing that "President Trump's entire administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice."

Writing for The Week, Paul Waldman recently argued that Trump "has used a particular strategy to justify his immigration policies: Focus on crimes committed by individual immigrants as a way of ginning up fear and hatred, creating animus toward all immigrants. And when necessary, use dehumanizing language — like calling them 'animals' — to make sure that your target audience feels no empathy or hesitation about supporting the cruelest policies to target them." Jeva Lange

November 18, 2017

President Trump announced Friday that he has delayed his decision on whether to maintain or eliminate an Obama-era prohibition on the import of trophies, like the tusks or skull, from elephants hunted for sport in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the purview of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, had indicated Thursday the ban would be lifted, a change the agency said could increase the number of elephants by encouraging big game population management. Critics believe it would put elephants at greater risk of extinction.

The Trump family has taken an interest in big game hunting in the past. The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., hunted and killed an elephant on a trip to Zimbabwe with his brother Eric Trump in 2012. Bonnie Kristian

May 29, 2016

A 4-year-old boy sustained serious injuries after crawling into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday, ABC News reports. A 17-year-old, 400-pound male gorilla named Harambe picked up the boy and dragged him around after he fell at least 10 feet into a moat.

A zoo employee fatally shot the gorilla so firefighters could enter the enclosure and rescue the child, whose name has not been released. The boy was hospitalized with injuries that are reportedly not life-threatening.

"The zoo security team's quick response saved the child's life. We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla," the zoo director said in a statement. "This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide. Julie Kliegman

April 11, 2016

For the first time in 100 years, the population of wild tigers, an endangered species, is growing. There are about 3,890 of them in the world, up from 3,200 in 2010, the World Wildlife Fund announced Sunday.

"This is a pivotal step in the recovery of one of the world's most endangered and iconic species," WWF senior vice president of wildlife conservation Ginette Hemley said in a statement. "Together with governments, local communities, philanthropists, and other NGOs, we've begun to reverse the trend in the century-long decline of tigers."

Tiger parts are frequently traded in illegal wildlife markets, WWF claimed. The group's goal is to double the wild tiger population by 2022, which corresponds with the next Chinese year of the tiger. Julie Kliegman

April 2, 2016

An Angus bull named Frank Lee (after an Alcatraz escapee) was being transported to a Jamaica, New York, slaughterhouse on Friday when he decided he had other plans. Frank darted out of a truck and headed for a green space at York College.

He was captured, tranquilized, and transported to a hospital, but not brought back to the slaughterhouse. Why? Daily Show veteran Jon Stewart came to the rescue.

Stewart and his wife, Tracey, agreed to bring the bull to their New Jersey animal sanctuary. After a checkup including castration (sorry, Frank), the steer will spend the rest of his life at a 175-acre facility in New York. Julie Kliegman

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