The Trump administration's move to reverse a ban on elephant trophies has elicited strong reactions all over social media, including a number of celebrities invested in preservation.
The government is likely to overturn a ban on hunters bringing trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia back to the U.S., reversing an Obama administration rule put in place in 2014, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official confirmed to ABC News.
Elephants are officially an endangered species, but the governments of those countries can allow hunting if there is evidence it benefits conservation of the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official said the Trump administration has new evidence that has emerged to support reversing the ban.
Elephant populations have declined 6 percent in Zimbabwe since 2001, according to the Great Elephant Census study published last year.
Similar questions about using game hunting to generate money for conservation efforts arose after the controversial killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe in 2015.
Ellen DeGeneres dedicated a portion of her show to speaking out against the move by the administration, starting a #BeKindtoElephants hashtag.
"Basically by lifting this ban, he is encouraging Americans to kill elephants," Degeneres said. "Elephants show compassion, sympathy, social intelligence, self-awareness, they're excellent at learning abilities -- all the things I have yet to see in this president."
Chelsea Clinton commented on a link to a Humane Society condemnation of the move, calling the lifting of the ban "infuriating."
Infuriating. Will increase poaching, make communities more vulnerable & hurt conservation efforts: https://t.co/w3BT8tZzgw— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) November 16, 2017
British comedian Ricky Gervais, who has previously tackled animal rights issues such as the Yulin Dog Festival, also condemned the Trump administration move. Oscar winner Russell Crowe echoed Gervais, saying "Dear people with no soul, stop shooting elephants."
The fact that Trump has lifted President Obama's ban on elephant trophies being imported into the country is a devastating blow to the survival of these beautiful animals. It's savage and pointless. It breaks my heart. pic.twitter.com/iclfxN6TXr— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) November 16, 2017
Dear people with no soul ,— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) November 16, 2017
stop shooting Elephants https://t.co/T0fThLjOWH
Actress Olivia Munn, actor Henry Winkler, actress Kristin Davis, actress and singer Daniella Monet, actor Carl Reiner and actor John Cusack were just a handful of the many celebrities weighing in on Twitter over the past two days.
Trump has decided killing elephants is ok. ?? Elephants are kind, intelligent and devoted to their families. Lifting the ban only puts them in further danger. Trophy hunting of any kind should not be allowed and does not aid in conservation. Leave the elephants alone. #NotUs pic.twitter.com/ACu4s1jb31— om (@oliviamunn) November 17, 2017
If you met Natalie in person ... she would jump right into your heart ! NOT put her head on a wall . pic.twitter.com/te9C6l8Jfc— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) November 17, 2017
The Trump administration has revoked the previously imposed ban on elephant body parts as trophies to enter the U.S. from certain parts of Africa.— Daniella Monet (@DaniellaMonet) November 17, 2017
Please take 30 seconds to sign. Myself, the elephants, and future generations will SO appreciate it!! https://t.co/TcQ7Yc911n
What a great & caring Dad Trump is! His two sons are having a wonderful time thanks to their Dad's thoughtful lifting of the embargo on hunting down & killing elephants, lions & other endangered species,— carl reiner (@carlreiner) November 17, 2017
The thought that stupid rich punks like trump boys can go to mother Africa and kill elephants is rules of the game style hypcocricy and horror -— John Cusack (@johncusack) November 17, 2017
Why not do the most horrible thing just to stick it to the black president -
Shameless sick - soulless