Trump administration begins allowing imports of lion trophies: report

Trump administration begins allowing imports of lion trophies: report
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President Trump’s administration began allowing the import of lion trophies from two African countries last month, according to a new report.

ABC News reports that that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began issuing permits for the importing of lion trophies — lion body parts taken after hunting — from Zambia and Zimbabwe a month ago.

Officials told ABC News that the department decided that “legal, well-regulated sports hunting” could help the endangered species survive.

The Obama administration added the African lion to the endangered species list in 2015 after a Minnesota dentist killed a beloved lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe.

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The designation of the lion as endangered allows the federal government to issue permits for the import of trophies “when it can be found that the import will enhance the survival of the species,” according to ABC News.

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the population of the African lion has decreased by 43 percent over the past two decades and the lion species is regionally extinct in seven African countries.

The report follows a Trump administration decision Wednesday that it would reverse an Obama administration ban on the importing of the heads of elephants killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The FWS said it has determined that hunting African elephants in the two African countries “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” which is the standard by which officials judge whether to allow imports of the body parts.

“Legal, well-regulated sport 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,” an FWS spokesman said in a statement.