US President Donald Trump has said that his administration will soon announce its decision on whether to allow trophies of African elephants to be imported into Washington.
“Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
The President’s tweet came after he delayed a decision on Friday to remove the ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts,” Trump announced on Friday night.
“Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke,” Trump continued, referring to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
In a statement on Friday, Zinke confirmed that “the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed”.
Last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said that it believes the ban was no longer necessary.
A spokesperson said the agency “determined that the hunting and management programmes for African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia will enhance the survival of the species in the wild”.
The proposed reversal of the ban has faced a strong backlash, with celebrities and public figures voicing strong opposition to the administration’s decision.
Former President Barack Obama’s administration introduced the ban in 2014 that prohibits hunters from bringing the trophy heads of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia to the US.
Under the Endangered Species Act, elephants are categorized as endangered.
But a provision of the law allows for the import of trophies if it can be proved that hunting benefits conservation of the species.