It isn’t often that the Trump administration reverses on a policy prior to enacting it, but it’s happening now. President Trump Tweeted that he’s going to put the big game hunting decision on hold until he reviews all conservation facts. This decision follows a social media outcry against lifting President Obama’s 2014 ban.
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
The argument for lifting the ban is that by regulating legal hunting, conservation efforts can be improved. It goes against our basic understanding to see how hunting an animal can help protect the species, but it’s been demonstrated to be true many times. In fact, even left-wing Slate posted an article supporting the notion:
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve those species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” an FWS spokesperson told Slate. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the hunting and management programs for African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.”
These loud missives don’t do justice to the nuanced factors that go into developing and implementing conservation efforts.
Regardless of whether there really are benefits or not isn’t important… at least not to the masses. Some people will be against it even if it’s demonstrably beneficial. Others wouldn’t have a problem with hunting them to extinction. This will come down to whether or not the Trump administration believes they can justify lifting the ban at the appropriate time to mitigate damage to their public image.