Trump Administration to Permit Import of Elephant Body Parts
US Fish and Wildlife Service quietly made the announcement in March 1 letter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2018 1:48 PM CST
In this March 9, 2010, file photo, elephants use their trunks to smell for possible danger in the Tsavo East national park, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, File)

(Newser) – The Trump administration has quietly decided once again to allow Americans to import the body parts of African elephants shot for sport, despite presidential tweets decrying the practice as a "horror show." President Trump personally intervened in November when the US Fish and Wildlife Service first said it would lift an Obama-era ban on elephants imported from Zimbabwe and Zambia. The agency contends that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs. "Will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal," Trump tweeted on Nov. 19, placing the policy on hold after a public backlash to the earlier decision.

More than three months later, the federal agency overseen by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a letter dated March 1 announcing that the importation of elephant trophies will now be approved on a "case-by-case 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. Zinke recently told people privately that Trump has called him several times to discuss what to do about elephant trophies. Neither the Interior Department nor Fish and Wildlife issued a media release over the last week to announce the decision, which was quickly condemned by environmental advocates, reports the AP, which has more on the situation here.

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