Donald Trump was condemned for refusing to ban the import of animal trophies which conservationists say will increase elephant hunting.
The President and his administration reversed a ban instigated by Barack Obama in 2014 intended on deterring Americans hunting endangered animals like African elephants.
Big game hunters could now be able to bring trophies from animals killed outside the U.S. back into the country thanks to a Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announcement that such imports will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
A statement, obtained by The Hill said: ‘The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is revising its procedure for assessing applications to import certain hunted species.
‘We are withdrawing our countrywide enhancement findings for a range of species across several countries.
‘In their place, the Service intends to make findings for trophy imports on an application-by-application basis.’
Pro-hunting groups have long argued that hunting endangered species can actually encourage their survival by picking off weaker animals.
Conservation groups countered by arguing that there was nothing to prove this – especially in the case of animals like African elephants.
And Trump himself earlier backed the ban, telling Piers Morgan in January: ‘I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this (country).
‘And people can talk all they want about preservation and all of the things that they’re saying where money goes towards ― well, money was going ― in that case, going to a government which was probably taking the money, OK?’
Trump’s sons Eric and Don. Jr have both trophy hunted, with a notorious photo showing the pair cradling a freshly-killed leopard.