U.S.

Big Game Hunters Hope that Trump Will Soon Allow them to Import Trophies

Big game hunters are angry with President Donald Trump’s lack of decision in approving or disapproving hunting imports. They noted permits to import elephant trophies from regions banned by the Obama administration waiting to be approved or disapproved by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS,) according to The Hill.

Twenty-one requests to import elephant trophies, such as ivory tusks, from Zimbabwe and Zambia have been submitted since between January 2017 and March 2018. None have been confirmed or denied. Applicants who have submitted permits to countries that were not banned by the Obama administration, such as Tanzania and South Africa, have had most permits accepted.

Former FWS acting Director Greg Sheehan announced the administration’s decision to reverse the Obama law in November. Three days later, Trump tweeted a hold on the decision due to intense backlash he received for the decision. “Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!” he tweeted on November 17, 2017.

Big game supporter Dwight Miloff killed an elephant in May 2017 and submitted a permit to bring the parts back. He has not been contacted about his permit.

“The bottom line is they are afraid as s*** to get off the fence,” he said of the Trump administration. “They know if they get off the fence the anti-hunting people will be up in arms, and if they don’t grant them the people who put in the money for the permit will be pissed off.”

Emails inside the administration, revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request, show Sheehan spoke of the hold the day after Trump's tweet. “Until we get additional clarification on the intent and breadth of the President’s decision to review ‘Big game Trophy decision,’ we have been asked to abstain from issuing any permits for both lions and elephants,” he emailed White House staffers on November 18, 2017.

Bob Oliver, a big game hunter, claimed, after conversations with FWS officials, the change in permits will not come in the Trump era. “What it really boils down to, and this was after several exchanges I had with them, is that they weren’t going to be issuing any permits under this administration,” Oliver told The Hill. “And that’s where they left it.”

African elephant numbers have diminished due to poaching, dropping from 5 million to around 400,000 in 100 years, the Associated Press reported.

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