WASHINGTON — In the face of widespread public backlash, President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he has suspended his decision to reverse an Obama-era ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts,” he posted to Twitter. He adding that the issue has been “under study for years” but that he would soon provide an update.
Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2017
As HuffPost reported Wednesday, the administration decided to lift the ban after determining that sport hunting in those African countries will help conserve the species, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed.
The decision was made public not by the federal agency but via a celebratory news release early Tuesday from Safari Club International, a trophy hunting advocacy group that, along with the National Rifle Association, sued to block the 2014 ban.
Greg Sheehan, principal deputy director of the FWS, broke the news to the hunting organization during the African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Tanzania, an agency spokesperson told HuffPost. The forum, which ended Friday, is being hosted by the Safari Club International Foundation and the United Republic of Tanzania.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.