Ellen DeGeneres has accused Donald Trump of “encouraging Americans to kill elephants” after the president reversed a ban on trophy imports from two African countries.
The comedian and TV host said she is “determined to do something” as she launched a celebrity-backed campaign to raise money for elephant conservation following the Trump administration's decision to allow legally hunted trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
In a passionate speech, Ellen promised to make a donation to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for every share her campaign received.
“Last night, President Trump reversed one of Barack Obama’s policies which prohibited hunters from bringing elephant trophies into the United States,” she said.
“So basically by lifting this ban, he is encouraging Americans to kill elephants. I love elephants and if you take the time to learn about elephants you would love them too.
“Elephants show compassion, sympathy, social intelligence, self-awareness … all the things I have yet to see in this president.
“Many things I don’t like about this guy, but this has got me … Elephants are beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent creatures.”
Other celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Chelsea Clinton, Russell Crowe and Olivia Munn have also attacked Trump’s decision to reverse the ban.
Gervais wrote the decision “breaks my heart”, adding: “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.”
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
Olivia Munn wrote: “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.”
Russell Crowe posted: “Dear people with no soul, stop shooting elephants.”
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 US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reversed the decision, claiming “the hunting and management programs for African elephants will enhance the survival of the species in the wild”.
“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” a spokesperson said.
About | Africa's elephant problem
However, The Humane Society (THS) has also criticised the move, saying: “Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the US government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them.”
The Trump administration has also begun issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe, describing hunting as a “conservation tool”.