(CNN)To look at, they’re what most would call elephant tusks, ears or tails.
Inside the culture of big game hunting, they’re called trophies: animal parts valued as prizes gained during the hunt.
Gruesome symbols of death to some. Treasured souvenirs by others.
And right now, the United States isn’t sure what to do with them. President Trump, facing the biggest decision of its kind in years, must determine whether elephant tusks and other body parts can be legally imported into the United States from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Traditionally, the United States has allowed trophies to be imported only if countries proved hunting would not harm the overall population of the endangered species. But Zambia and Zimbabwe were found to fall short of that guideline, and elephant trophies from those nations were banned from the United States….
A challenge in court
Meanwhile hunting advocates and animal rights groups are both claiming victory in a case challenging the ban before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a split ruling the court upheld the ban while litigation continues, saying the Fish and Wildlife Service was within its rights to implement the prohibition. But at the same time the court scolded the government for failing to conduct a federally mandated public review of the impact of the rule before enacting it….