US President, Donald Trump, released a statement via Twitter saying he would postpone his decision on the import of the elephant hunting trophies until he had further reviewed the case.
The news came as a bit of a shock to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was in charge of overseeing the proposed change in policy. The Department found out about the delay at the same time that the general public did- when the President released the news on his Twitter handle.
The Fish and Wildlife Service had been in the process of reviewing the restrictions on import for over a year. The process included visits to non-governmental organizations, an assessment of the elephant population counts, not to mention a detailed analysis of the country’s poaching management program. Trump’s decision to “review” the proposal further has certainly raised some hostility with the Department.
A source from the Fish and Wildlife Service stated that a “fair amount of work” was put into the original review. The source further stated that the decision to halt the policy change was something of an “unchartered situation”. That may be true since Trump’s halt was certainly the first of its kind.
This is the first instance where a President of the United States has never intervened in an agency finding under the Endangered Species Act.
Trump received support from his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke who tweeted his belief that “conservation and healthy herds” were critical factors. Trump’s move also received a great deal of support from numerous NGOs and animal protection groups.
Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of the Humane Society stated that Trump’s decision was a small victory. He expressed great joy at the fact that Trump had “put a pause on a misguided and inhumane policy”.