Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it reversed a ban on importing endangered elephant remains from Africa.
Last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created the "International Wildlife Conservation Council," which advised him that reversing bans such as the elephant trophy ban will provide economic benefits from "U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt."
This week, Zinke heeded that advice in a move that was praised by Safari Club International, a hunter advocacy group that filed a lawsuit to eliminate the ban in 2014.
"These positive findings for Zimbabwe and Zambia demonstrate that the Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that hunting is beneficial to wildlife and that these range countries know how to manage their elephant populations," said SCI president Paul Babaz. "We appreciate the efforts of the Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior to remove barriers to sustainable use conservation for African wildlife."
Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society, said the elephant population in Africa has declined by 6 percent since 2001, and residents of Zimbabwe and Zambia are prohibited from hunting the animals. He called lifting the ban only for wealthy hunters a "venal and nefarious pay-to-slay arrangement that Zimbabwe has set up with the trophy hunting industry."
"What kind of message does it send to say to the world that poor Africans who are struggling to survive cannot kill elephants in order to use or sell their parts to make a living, but that it's just fine for rich Americans to slay the beasts for their tusks to keep as trophies?" he wrote in a blog post