Donald Trump Jr. Killed Endangered Sheep In Mongolia With Special Presidential Permit
Donald Trump Jr. killed an endangered sheep in Mongolia on a hunting trip during which he received ‘special treatment’.
The US president’s son made the trip to the rocky highlands of Central Asia, where he came across the argali sheep, in August.
The argali are the largest sheep in the world and they are known for their giant curving horns which can reach over six feet in length. The endangered species is considered a national treasure in Mongolia, but that didn’t stop Trump Jr. from killing one.
The 41-year-old was accompanied on the trip by his son, as well as security from the US and Mongolia.
Trophy hunting is a divisive issue in Mongolia but the country’s government are said to have supported the trip. The right to kill an argali is controlled by a permitting system which experts say is ‘mostly based on money, connections and politics’, ProRepublica report.
Trump Jr. shot the sheep at night, using a rifle with a laser sight. The hunter stopped local guides from dismembering the animal at the kill site and instead instructed them to use an aluminium sheet to carry the carcass so as not to damage the fur and horns, suggesting he wanted to keep a ‘trophy’ from his hunt.
The 41-year-old also killed a red deer, which similarly required a permit.
According to records obtained by ProRepublica, as well as interviews conducted with people involved with the hunt, Trump Jr. received ‘special treatment’ during his trip.
Though the hunt was supported by the government, the businessman didn’t actually receive his permit until September 2 – after he’d killed the sheep and left the region.
The Mongolian government granted the permit retroactively following a meeting between Trump Jr. and Khaltmaagiin Battulga, Mongolia’s president. The meeting took place after the hunting trip and before the 41-year-old returned to the US, though it’s not clear what was discussed.
It’s unusual for permits to be issued after a hunter’s stay and Kathleen Clark, a professor specialising in legal ethics at Washington University, believes Trump Jr.’s familial status would have been an incentive for foreign officials to treat him favourably out of a ‘desire on the part of a foreign government to curry favor with the president’s family’.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Trump Jr. said no government officials from either country organised the trip and the permits were appropriately obtained from a third party outfitter. The businessman purchased the trip at a National Rifle Association charity auction in 2015, before his father announced his presidency.
Though hunting permits are intended to protect the sheep and fund conservation efforts, the population of argalis plummeted from 50,000 in 1985 to 18,000 in 2009. The animals are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.
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