Saturday

President Donald Trump said he is putting a decision to allow imports of elephant trophies on hold after a torrent of criticism.

Trump's reversal came hours after his administration released a rule on Friday to allow hunters who kill elephants in Zimbabwe to bring their trophies back to the United States, which had been banned by the Obama administration.

"Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts," Trump tweeted.

"Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!"

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement that he had spoken with Trump and "both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical." He said the "issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed."

Early word of the planned change had drawn protests from conservationists, who said it could deplete already at-risk elephant populations.


It also caused a social media firestorm, with opponents posting photos of President Donald Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric, avid hunters, posing with dead wild animals.

"President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical,” he said. “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."



It is unclear whether Zinke is reviewing the elephant decision only or the lion decision as well.

Friday

U.S. wildlife officials began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe ABC News confirmed today.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the decision was made after concluding that regulated hunting would help the survival of the endangered species in the wild.

The African lion population has decreased 42 percent in the past 20 years, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. The officials did not provide any additional details about what new information led to the decision to issue permits to import lion trophies from those countries. The Fish and Wildfire Service said it takes at least 45 days to get a permit approved so it’s unclear if any have been granted since they began accepting applications.

In 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service placed African lions on the endangered species list for the first time due to the "dramatic decline of lion populations in the wild." The designation says that imports of African lions will "generally be prohibited" but still allows the government to issue permits to import the species "such as when it can be found that the import will enhance the survival of the species." There is an estimated 17,000 - 19,000 African lions remaining in the wild.

In addition to Zambia and Zimbabwe, the government allows permits for wild lions and lions from managed areas in South Africa and is reviewing policies about importing lion trophies from Mozambique, Namibia, and Tanzania.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said they found that "legal, well-regulated sport hunting" can benefit conservation by providing incentives to local communities and generating revenue that can be directed to conservation programs, saying that the programs in Zambia and Zimbabwe will enhance the survival of the species in the wild. They began issuing permits to import lion trophies


In addition to Zambia and Zimbabwe the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows permits to import trophies from hunted wild lions and lions from managed areas in South Africa and is reviewing policies about importing lion trophies from Mozambique, Namibia, and Tanzania.
Source


“Defending the Fire” tells the story of Native American warriors who have navigated a unique cultural and spiritual path, relying on the tenets of the warrior in ancient and modern warfare.

The lessons of the warrior are universal; the spirit of the warrior survives, even in the face of conflict.

With a focus on the spiritual and historic journey of Native American warriors, Silver Bullet Productions presents the story of the warrior, the importance of cultures in modern quests, and the lessons of war through the lens of these cultures.

The characters will be elders and historians from New Mexican tribes and Native veterans of World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Pierce says it took about six months to figure out what the goals were for the documentary.

“It took us a little longer because we’re a nonprofit and had to raise the money,” Pierce says. “It took a little over a year from the first interview to the last.”


Studi enjoys working with Silver Bullet Productions because of their education outreach. He’s worked with them on three documentaries, and his wife often serves as a writer.

“I’ve been lucky to narrate a few of them,” Studi says. “This one I was featured in, because I am a Vietnam veteran.”


Studi says films like “Defending the Fire” are important to Native American youths because there’s not a lot of access to filmmaking for them.


“There’s so few of us involved in the business, that it’s easy for youth to give up,” he says. “I want to help reach out to the youth and show them how to become part of the film industry. There were trailblazers before me, and now I get to stand there and be that inspiration for others. Anytime a young Native American sees a Native actor in a film, it gives them hope.”
Source

VIDEO

Thursday

A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, according to the pipeline's operator, TransCanada. The spill involved the equivalent of about 5,000 barrels of oil.

The company (TSX:TRP) said its crews shut down the Keystone pipeline system early this morning between Hardisty, Alta. to Cushing, Okla, and a line to Patoka, Ill. and that the line is expected to remain shut while it responds to the spill.

The leak, which it said happened about 35 kilometres south of its Ludden pump station on a right-of-way, comes as Nebraska Public Service Commission is set to vote on the Keystone XL project on Nov. 20 to clear the last major regulatory hurdle for the $8 billion project.

Opponents of Keystone XL say the pipeline would pass through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don't want it.

"Just days before the Nebraska Public Service Commissions decides on whether to approve Keystone XL we get a painful reminder of why no one wants a pipeline over their water supply," said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema.

The Sierra Club was also quick to condemn the spill, urging the commission not to vote for the project.


"We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us," said campaign director Kelly Martin.

The area of the leak is close to the Lake Traverse Reservation, home to the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota people.
 
The pipeline would transport oilsands oil from Alberta through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines that feed Texas Gulf Coast refineries.


VIDEO

US Fish and Wildlife plans to allow imports of elephant trophies from Africa into the US – a move campaigners fear could damage global momentum on ending the ivory trade.

 In 2014, US big game hunters killing elephants in Zimbabwe were banned from bringing their trophies home, on the basis that the country had failed to show that it was taking elephant management seriously.

The decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reverse the ban, which will also apply to trophies from Zambia, follows moves in favour of the US hunting sector that are worrying some observers. Last week US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, a hunter himself and a keen supporter of hunting policies, established an International Wildlife Conservation Council It has a clear focus, the African Wildlife Foundation has pointed out, “on promoting the hunting industry, not conservation.

A huge outcry over the shooting of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer in 2015 led to calls for the dentist to be jailed, and trophy hunters are now regularly named and shamed by campaign groups. A petition to ban trophy hunting currently has 146,000 signatures.

The move from the US is seen by some as a step backwards from its strong stance against the illegal ivory trade; ivory poaching has led to a catastrophic drop in elephant populations around the world over the last 15 years.

“The US government has been a global leader in the fight to reverse the dangerous declines among Africa’s most iconic species such as elephant, rhino, and lion. It is unfortunate that the Trump administration is willing to sacrifice that leadership position,” said Jeff Chrisfield, African Wildlife Foundation’s chief operating officer. “Well-managed hunting can play a role in conservation. However, US policy on wildlife conservation should be informed by science, not by professional hunters and the gun lobby.”


“How someone could want to shoot such an intelligent, empathetic animal as an elephant is beyond me,” said Frank Pope, CEO of Save the Elephants. “But what is most concerning for elephants is that renewed imports of trophy ivory into the US might undermine the all-important ivory trade bans put in place by America and China.


 “China continues to show strong leadership and will close all ivory trade within her borders by the end of the year. Up to now American actions on elephants and ivory have been admirable. The fire of the ivory trade seems to be dying. The last thing we need is a sudden blast of oxygen from a misguided policy change.”
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