In yet another sign that President Trump wants to undo everything the Obama administration accomplished, he is removing protections for elephants. His son Donald Jr. was also infamously photographed hunting elephants, so this may also be yet another desire to benefit his own family. From the Washington Post:
The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the remains of elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia can now be imported to the United States as trophies, reversing a ban under former president Barack Obama.
African elephants are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that large sums paid for permits to hunt the animals could actually help them “by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” according to an agency statement.
This claim that the money goes back to conservation is wrong. The US has allowed other African countries like South Africa to send hunting trophies to the States because they have been able to prove that the money earned is spent wisely and not used to line corrupt officials’ pockets. Zimbabwe and Zambia have not provided the necessary proof. In fact, you only need to read about Zimbabwe’s current political crisis to know that corruption is a major and long standing problem there. The idea that such a government would put the revenue from hunting trophies into conservation is laughable. Not surpringly, Zimbabwe and Zambia have seen some of the greatest declines in elephant populations in Africa due to poaching, over-hunting, and environmental destruction. In addition, Zimbabwe has sold elephants to places like China, hoping to raise quick cash without thinking about the long term ramifications of selling its natural wildlife and resources. From Al-Jazeera: