The Trump administration will reverse the Obama-era prohibition on importing taxidermied elephant heads and tusks from endangered wild African elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The administration claims that this "will enhance the survival of the species in the wild" by diverting funds to conservation. This was the rationale for permitting rhino horn sales in Africa, which drove poaching and further endangered wild rhino.
African elephant populations declined by 30% between 2007 and 2014. Fewer than 350,000 survive in the wild.
Zimbabwe has been ruled by the corrupt, brutal dictator Robert Mugabe since 1987 and is currently in the midst of a coup d'etat. Zambia's a serial human rights offender that criminalizes homosexuality and uses libel laws to suppress political opposition.
Donald Trump's sons are notorious hunters of endangered animals and have posed for photos with pictures of leopards, lions, buffalo and elephants that they slaughtered and butchered for trophies.
Authorities in Zimbabwe claim there are around 82,000 elephants in the country, with annual quotas for hunters at 500 elephants. In Zambia, where some 22,000 elephants reside, falling numbers in recent years have led to government bans on these hunts. However, citing a resurgent population in 2015, that ban was overturned.
Tourists are able to hunt elephants on private game ranches in Zambia, many bordering protected national parks, with wild elephants often wandering over invisible lines. Last year, 30 elephants were killed there.
Trump to let Americans import ivory and hunting trophies again [Adam Popescu/New Scientist]
(via Naked Capitalism)