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US Lifts Ban on Import of Elephant Trophies from Zambia, Zimbabwe


FILE - A group of elephants, believed to have been killed by poachers, lie dead at a watering hole in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park Oct. 26, 2015.

The Trump administration is preparing to allow hunters to import the remains of elephants they kill in the southern African nations of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The decision reverses a ban imposed in 2014 by the Obama administration.

In a statement issued Wednesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it is reversing the Obama-era ban because it believes hunting these species could bring "much-needed revenue back into conservation," and spur local communities toward conservation efforts.

The new rules applies to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe on or after Jan. 21, 2016, and all elephants hunted in Zambia during 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Great Elephant Census reported last year that Zambia had just more than 21,000 elephants last year, while 82,000 elephants roam in Zimbabwe. Overall elephant populations have declined by 30 percent in 18 African countries between 2007 and 2014, with just more than 350,000 still alive in the wild.

African elephants have been listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

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