President Donald Trump has announced that his administration's plan to reverse a ban on big game trophies has been put on hold so he can "review all conservation facts."
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On Wednesday, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News that the Trump administration had planned to allow hunters to bring trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the United States.
However, Trump wrote on Twitter Friday evening that the decision had been placed on hold.
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
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke followed Trump's tweet with a statement echoing that the administration believes conservation is "critical" and issuing permits would be delayed.
"President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical," Zinke said in a statement Friday night. "As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed."
The proposed reversal of the ban was met with widespread backlash, with celebrities and public figures taking to social media to criticize the president.
The ban on big game trophies had been put in place by the Obama administration in 2014.
Elephants are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, but a provision in the act allows the government to give permits to import such trophies if there is evidence that the hunting benefits conservation of the species.