Trump backpedals on new policy approving import of elephant trophies

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Kacey Musgraves was among the many Americans who turned to social media to express shock and anger after the Trump administration announced it was lifting a ban on bringing "trophies" of elephants killed in two African countries into the United States.

President Donald Trump said Friday that he has chose to put a decision about big-game trophies on hold. "Under study for years".

In fact, the reversal of the 2014 ban caused such an uproar that by the end of the day, President Trump tweeted that he had chose to reverse the reversal, writing, "Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts". He said he would put the decision "on hold" and review it with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. The move comes amid news that the population of Savanna elephants declined by 30 percent across 18 African countries from 2007-2014, with the Great Elephant Census putting the remaining numbers at just over 350,000. "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 removed".

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Despite the outcry and Trump's stated reversal, the worldwide affairs page of the US Fish and Wildlife Service still - as of Saturday morning local time - says it will issue permits for importing big game animal parts.

Public outrage against the administration's original decision to overturn the Obama ban was not limited to the US.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that it will allow the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport. The animals are listed in the Endangered Species Act, which requires the USA government to protect endangered species in other countries. Proponents of Trump's decision to lift the ban said it would actually help conservation efforts. Elephant populations, in particular, have been devastated across Africa over the past century. "We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these fantastic animals".

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