It's not just elephants. Trump rolled back regulations on lion trophies, too

The Trump administration recently rolled back protections for African lions, releasing new guidelines that allow hunters to bring trophies from animals killed in parts of Africa into the U.S., according to updated rules released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wildlife officials began issuing permits for lion trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia sometime last month, ABC News reported on Thursday, pointing to a new page on the FWS website that details the regulations and calls hunting a “conservation tool.” Trophies from wild and wild-managed lions from South Africa are also acceptable under the import rules, and hunts from Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania are under review.

RELATED: The horrors of elephant poaching

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The horrors of elephant poaching
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The horrors of elephant poaching
MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE, KENYA - JANUARY 22: Male elephant rescued by wildlife experts after a crude spear penetrated several feet into his back at the North-Western Maasai Mara National Reserve on January 22, 2017 in Maasai Mara Reserve, South West Kenya. THIS young male bull elephant was rescued by wildlife experts after a crude spear penetrated several feet into his back. On January 19, the injured bull was reported to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) immediately flew a KWS Vet, Dr. Dominic Mjele to the Mara Triangle in the North-Western Maasai Mara National Reserve in South West Kenya. After darting the elephant with a sedative, Dr Mjele was able to remove the crude long spear and the wound was thoroughly cleaned and green clay - a natural remedy - was applied alongside antiseptic spray. Within a few minutes the elephant was back on his feet and departed with a short glance back at his rescuers. The elephant was speared by members of the Maasai community with a sharpened steel round bar acting as a spear. DSWT said: The elephant was injured in a case of human-wildlife conflict. This is becoming increasing prevalent in Kenya and across Africa as human settlements and farmland are built on migration routes previously used by elephants and other wild animals. This brings elephants into close contact with humans, often with deadly results. In the past three years, the DSWT has treated more than 110 elephants speared by humans which amounts to nearly one a week, but the threat of human-elephant conflict is growing. DSWT said: Human-elephant conflict is a looming threat, and in places like Kenya where poaching is more or less under control, looks set to be the next issue conservationists must face to secure a future for elephants. But we cant save elephants in the long-term if they have no home in which to live and roam and there is a very real prospect that for every elephant life saved from the clutches of ivory poachers, they could then be hit by a speeding car, killed in a revenge attack by communities for eating their crops or have their young fall down drainage holes or wells. Luckily this particular elephants prognosis is encouraging and he will be monitored over the next few weeks as he recovers. PHOTOGRAPH BY THE DSWT / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftmedia.com (Photo credit should read THE DSWT / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
UGANDA, AFRICA - UNDATED: A man cares for an elephant's wound, taken in Uganda, Africa. A VETERINARY team risk their lives to rescue an elephant injured by an infected wound crawling with maggots. Wildlife film producer, Verity White and her team were filming the darting of a giraffe with the Uganda Wildlife Authority Vet Team in Murchison Falls National Park, when they came across the limping elephant. The Uganda Conservation Foundation had recently provided a dedicated veterinary vehicle to the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Murchison Falls as part of measure to tackle the poaching problem. PHOTOGRAPH BY Verity White / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftmedia.com (Photo credit should read Verity White / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A group of elephants, believed to have been killed by poachers, lie dead at a watering hole in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park October 26, 2015. Picture taken October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer TEMPLATE OUT
A Kenya Wildlife Services ranger inspects part of elephant tusks recovered from suspected Kenyan ring-leader of an ivory smuggling gang Feisal Ali Mohamed, also one of the nine most wanted environmental crime fugitives worldwide listed by Interpol, before the judgment on a case in which he had been charged with dealing and possession of 2,152 kg of ivory in Mombasa, Kenya, July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Joseph Okanga
A group of elephants, believed to have been killed by poachers, lie dead at a watering hole in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park October 26, 2015. Picture taken October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer TEMPLATE OUT
Around three tonnes of illegal ivory seized by French customs agents are displayed before being pulverized into dust in Paris February 6, 2014 as part of an Europe's first destruction of a stockpile of the banned elephant tusks. The destruction of the ivory, confiscated over two decades, is intended to send a message to poachers and traffickers and in accordance to the action to the French government to fight poaching of endangered species. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE - Tags: CRIME LAW ANIMALS POLITICS)
ASSAM, INDIA, MAY 28:Indian Villgers stand near a dead elephant after killed by Suspected poachers at Udmari on May 28, 2017 in Nagaon, Assam, India. PHOTOGRAPH BY Anuwar Hazarika/Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Anuwar Hazarika/Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
This picture taken on August 1, 2017 shows an Indonesian forest ranger from the Leuser Conservation displaying animal traps set up by poachers to capture various wildlife including large game such as rhinoceros, elephants, tigers and bears in the Leuser ecosystem rainforest, during a forum in Banda Aceh. The traps were found and dismantled by rangers on their regular patrols in the last six months. / AFP PHOTO / CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
ASSAM, INDIA, MAY 28: A dead elephant being shifted for cremation after killed by Suspected poachers at Udmari on May 28, 2017 in Nagaon, Assam, India. PHOTOGRAPH BY Anuwar Hazarika/Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Anuwar Hazarika/Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
UGANDA, AFRICA - UNDATED: A man cares for an elephant's wound, taken in Uganda, Africa. A VETERINARY team risk their lives to rescue an elephant injured by an infected wound crawling with maggots. Wildlife film producer, Verity White and her team were filming the darting of a giraffe with the Uganda Wildlife Authority Vet Team in Murchison Falls National Park, when they came across the limping elephant. The Uganda Conservation Foundation had recently provided a dedicated veterinary vehicle to the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Murchison Falls as part of measure to tackle the poaching problem. PHOTOGRAPH BY Verity White / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftmedia.com (Photo credit should read Verity White / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A tourist takes a picture of Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) ranger on April 28, 2016 next to some of the illegal stockpiles of elephant tusks stacked up onto pyres at Nairobi's national park, waiting to be burned along with more than a tonne of rhino-horn at what is said to be the biggest stockpile destruction in history. Kenya on April 30, 2016 will burn approximately 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory, almost all of the country's total stockpile at an event to be attended by several African heads of state, conservation experts, high-profile philanthropists and celebrities at the event which they hope will send a strong anti-poaching message. / AFP / TONY KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) personnel stack elephant tusks onto pyres in preparation on April 22, 2016 for a historic destruction of illegal ivory and rhino-horn confiscated mostly from poachers in Nairobi's national park. Kenya on April 30, 2016 will burn approximately 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory, almost all of the country's total stockpile. Several African heads of state, conservation experts, high-profile philanthropists and celebrities are slated to be present at the event which they hope will send a strong anti-poaching message. / AFP / TONY KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
*** VIDEO AVAILABLE *** KENYA, RUMURUTI FOREST - JUNE: Helping hands: Simotua was comforted through out the process on June, 2015 in Rumuruti Forest, Kenya. AN INJURED baby elephant is saved by a heroic rescue team after being caught in on a poacher's snare and attacked with a spear. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) was called to save the orphaned animal, named Simotua, in June, after he had been left to die in Kenya's 15,000 acre Rumuruti Forest. The one year old elephant was suffering from a large spear wound to his skull and had a deadly snare wrapped around his leg both of which were potentially life-threatening. The calf was driven to the local airstrip where he was met by an expert mobile veterinary team who assessed his injuries before a one-hour-long flight. Simotua was then flown 230km to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi National Park where he received round the clock medical treatment. PHOTOGRAPH BY THE DSWT / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read THE DSWT / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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The news comes the same week the White House came under fire over its plans to lift a ban on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, a decision that was announced not by a federal agency but via a news release from a trophy hunting advocacy group, Safari Club International.

Allowing hunters to import elephant and lion trophies is a direct rollback of two Obama-era regulations meant to protect the species. In 2014, the White House banned elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe, citing a lack of data on conservation efforts. And in 2016 lions were officially listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and tighter restrictions were placed on the imports of hunting trophies.

Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States, published a blog post slamming the move and saying the change cast the federal government as “a promoter of trophy hunting” in an interview with The Guardian.

RELATED: Cecil and his pride of lions

9 PHOTOS
Cecil and his pride of lions
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Cecil and his pride of lions
A young male lion of Cecil's pride disturbs a relaxing female lion. Hwange, Zimbabwe
A young male lion of Cecil's pride
A female lion and a lion cub of Cecil's pride walk through the long sun bleached grass. The adult lion has a tracking collar. Hwange, Zimbabwe.
Cecil the Lion at Hwange National Parks Ngweshla Pan area, Zimbabwe.
Cecil the iconic lion of Hwange National park with his pride
Cecil the Lion at Hwange National Parks Ngweshla Pan area, Zimbabwe.
A female lion of Cecil's pride looks back and scowls at an unknown lion. Hwange, Zimbabwe.
A female lion (called stumpy tail) of Cecil's pride looks up from drinking. Her belly is full from binging on a kill. Hwange, Zimbabwe
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“The Interior Department and the government of Zimbabwe (whoever is in charge) are rolling out the red carpet for the next Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who lured a famous and beloved lion, Cecil, out of a national park and shot and wounded him with an arrow,” Pacelle wrote on Thursday. “The outrage factor is almost beyond compare for us at The HSUS.”

President Donald Trump sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are big game hunters. Trump Jr. has traveled to Africa to hunt, and a photo that surfaced in 2012 shows him holding the severed tail of an elephant he shot and killed. Another photo shows the two brothers posing with a slain leopard.

Following the killing of Cecil in 2015, Pacelle noted, more than 40 airlines banned the transport of wildlife trophies on their planes. He also hinted that the Humane Society would sue the federal government.

“African elephants and African lions drive billions of dollars of economic activity in Africa. But they drive that activity only when they are alive. Killing them deducts from their populations, diminishes wildlife-watching experiences for others, and robs the countries of Africa of its greatest resources,” he said.

“The folly that the killing helps lions and elephants is just that ― pure folly. We’ll see the agency in court.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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