Since President Donald Trump roll-backed bans on lion trophies, more than thirty permits to import lion trophies have been issued.
The advocacy group Friends of Animals obtained documents showing that thirty-eight permits have been granted to 33 individuals, allowing them to import the trophies into the U.S.
The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
HuffPost first reported that Trump ’s administration began allowing the import of lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In 2015, Former President Barack Obama added the African lion to the endangered species list after the high-profile killing of Cecil the lion by an American dentist.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in November reported that “legal, well-regulated sports hunting” could help the endangered species survive.
“Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” the FWS said in a statement.
Jennifer Best, assistant legal director of the Friends of Animals Wildlife Law Program, pushed back on the FWS claim in a statement.
“At a time when lions, elephants, and other African wildlife is most threatened with extinction in the wild, this administration has actually ratcheted up the false narrative that hunting can somehow save them,” Best said.
“Killing endangered animals so their remains can be hung as a ‘trophy’ in someone’s house or office is not going to save these species.”
Friends of Animals stated that more than half of the individuals that received trophy hunting permits have been donors to the GOP, President Trump or are linked to hunting lobbying group Safari Club International.
One recipient, Steven Chancellor, was appointed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s International Wildlife Conservation Council.