After severe criticism, President Donald Trump’s decision to allow elephant hunting trophies to be imported was reversed on Friday and is to be reviewed before making changes to it.
Earlier this week it was announced that the Fish and Wildlife Service would permit imports of wildlife trophies from two African countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia, into the U.S.
The move instantaneously caused harsh criticism by conservation groups, including groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation International, and even supporters of the president.
“Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!” Trump tweeted on Friday.
Immediately after the president’s tweet, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirmed the decision.
“President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical. As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reversed,” his statement read.
After the decision to review the policy, environmental groups applauded it.
“It’s great that public outrage has forced Trump to reconsider this despicable decision, but it takes more than a tweet to stop trophy hunters from slaughtering elephants and lions. We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these amazing animals,” said Tanya Sanerib, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday the decision came after review which indicated that the criteria for establishing the ban showed both African countries “had met new standards, strict international conservation standards that allowed Americans to resume hunting in those countries.”