Ellen took on Donald Trump's anti-elephant policy & he suspended it

Ellen DeGeneres: 'Donald Trump is encouraging Americans to kill elephants'

A Republican congressman is praising President Donald Trump's decision to delay a new policy allowing trophies of African elephants shot for sport to be brought into the country.

Donald Trump announced on Friday he is putting his decision to drop restrictions on hunters importing trophies from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia on hold for the time being.

Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticised the decision.

The Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., called the Fish and Wildlife Service decision to lift the ban "the wrong move at the wrong time" and in a statement on Friday called on the Trump administration to withdraw it.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the pair came to the decision after they "talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical".

The ban on big game trophies had been put in place by the Obama administration in 2014.

Public outrage against the administration's original decision to overturn the Obama ban was not limited to the US.

The agency said that well-regulated sport hunting as part of a management plan can provide local incentives for conservation and raise money for conservation efforts.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says on its website that hunting lions can play a "significant role in their conservation", adding that America is bound by the Endangered Species Act to ensure that "hunters are contributing to the conservation of lions in the wild by participating in hunting programs that provide a clear conservation benefit and contribute to the long-term survival of the species in the wild".

On Friday, Pacelle said, "Grateful to President Trump for reassessing elephant and lion trophy hunting imports".

Despite an overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has declined in part because of continued illegal killing, said a report this year by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

As a result, the number of African elephants has shrunk from about five million a century ago to about 400,000 remaining.

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