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Wisconsin hunter among 33 in U.S. recently granted lion trophy permit



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A wildlife advocacy group says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued permits to hunters in South Dakota and Wisconsin to bring back lion trophies from Africa.

Nonprofit Friends of Animals disclosed last week that the list of 33 permit applicants have been granted such permission since Donald Trump was elected president, the Star Tribune reported. One hunter from the Upper Midwest, Dan Ongna, of Stevens Point, Wis., was among those issued permits, according to Friends of Animals.

Jon F. Dagel is another. He had submitted his application in February 2017 to import a “threatened-listed lion,” explaining that he planned to travel to Zimbabwe to hunt for a lion and would want to bring back “all the parts,” said Friends of Animals spokeswoman Fran Silverman.

The Trump administration’s loosened federal restrictions on permits follows an international outcry over the 2015 death of a lion. Five months after Cecil was killed by Twin Cities dentist Walter Palmer, the former President Barack Obama’s administration placed lions in Africa under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Palmer, who wasn’t charged with a crime for the lion’s death, told the newspaper two months after the hunt that the kill was legal. He also said the others in his guided hunting party had no idea that the 13-year-old lion was the subject of research.

But the Trump administration has since backed off. Federal officials are allowing hunters to import lions killed in Zimbabwe and granting permits in all countries on a case-by-case basis.

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