However, Trump wrote on Twitter Friday evening that the decision had been placed on hold.
Last night, Trump announced that he would hold up the change in policy until it has been reviewed. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke.
Just hours before, Trump's spokesperson Sarah Sanders had defended the US Fish and Wildlife Service's move to end the 2014 ban initiated under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.
Big game hunting is an activity that garnered worldwide attention in 2015 when a Minnesota dentist took Cecil, perhaps the world's most famous lion, near a wildlife park in Zimbabwe.
President Donald Trump on Friday announced he is suspending a controversial decision to lift the ban on importing trophies of dead elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia into the USA, which had been assailed by conservation and animal rights groups.More news: Apple HomePod's release delayed until 2018
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Critics, however, note the restrictions were created by the Obama administration in 2014 because the African elephant population had dropped.
The world's largest land mammal, the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act since 1979. "We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these fantastic animals". He says he will review the issue with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. "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 removed".
"Elephants and other big game in Africa are blood currency for terrorist organizations, and they are being killed at an alarming rate".
"So basically by lifting this ban, he is encouraging Americans to kill elephants".
The Fish and Wildlife Service said it had chose to allow the imports because the government of Zimbabwe, non-governmental organizations, hunter associations and other groups had provided the service with additional information that addressed the concerns in the FWS' previous findings that led to the ban.