By Prak Chan Thul
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service last month moved to allow hunters to bring home trophies from elephants killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Safe to say, few conservationists saw it coming.
In a 39-page report, the agency cited Zimbabwes progress in creating a sound management plan for its 82,000 elephants and evidence that hunting revenue is in fact reinvested into conservation. Well-managed trophy hunting would not have an adverse effect on the species, but can further efforts to conserve the species in the wild, the agency concluded.
The announcement, which would have turned back an elephant-trophy prohibition instituted during the Obama administration, was met with praise from pro-hunting groups, like the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, and criticism from animal-rights advocates on all sides of the political spectrum.
Unexpectedly, President Trump intervened on Twitter, saying that the trophy decision would be delayed until such time as I review all conservation facts. Two days later, the president referred to trophy hunting as a horror show and cast doubts on its effectiveness for helping conservation of elephants and other species. An updated decision, the president added, was still pending.
Whether the proceeds from big-game hunting should be used to protect threatened and endangered species is a di...