Donald Trump Jr Kills Rare Endangered Mongolian Sheep With Special Permit

The news has broken that the US President's son Donald Trump Jr. hunted and killed an endangered argali sheep in Mongolia earlier this summer.

According to a report from ProPublica and confirmed by The Guardian, Donald Trump Jr. met with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga and was issued a special hunting permit that allowed him to kill the sheep and bring it back to the U.S. after the animal had already been killed.

The argali sheep is considered a "national treasure" in Mongolia.

Instagram | @thukumdar

However, the population of argali has reportedly plummeted in the last 35 years. The country's estimated population has dropped from 50,000 in 1985 to just 18,000 in 2009, which is the latest survey period.

The sheep are listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Hunting permits are issued in an attempt to protect the sheep and fund conservation efforts.

Unsplash | Derek Malou

The issuing of permits to kill this particular kind of sheep are "controlled by an opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections, and politics," ProPublica explains.

Guides accompanying Trump Jr. state that he "shot his argali at night, using a rifle with a laser sight."

Instagram | @donaldtrumpjr

"He stopped the local hunting guides from dismembering it at the kill site, instead instructing them to use an aluminum sheet to carry the carcass so as not to damage the fur and horns," explains guide Khuandyg Akhbas.

Trump Jr. also killed a red deer, which required a similar permit.

Instagram | @avveavcidunyasi

His subsequent meeting with President Battulga implies that he was given "special treatment" as the U.S. President's son.

As a young democracy, Mongolia considers the U.S. to be an important ally, particularly while it faces pressure from neighboring China.

Unsplash | Tuguldur Baatar

Huffington Post reported that the country relies on America for economic and security support, since it's landlocked between China and Russia.

Weeks before Trump Jr.'s hunting trip, a White House meeting between U.S. and Mongolian officials saw the latter refer to America as its "third neighbor."

In August, Trump posted a series of photos online from his trip to Mongolia, though none featured the argali.

It's unclear what happened to the sheep after it was hunted, although if Trump Jr. had wanted to bring its horns or fur back to the U.S., he would have had to apply for permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

The Trump administration has been inconsistent in terms of their stance on trophy hunting.

Instagram | @donaldtrumpjr

Trump fought against Obama era restrictions on the ban in 2017, subsequently reinstated it shortly after and then allowed imports of hunting trophies to continue after a court ruled that the ban was instated "improperly."

Donald Trump Jr. has yet to respond to comments regarding the hunting trip.

h/t: The Guardian, ProPublica, Huffington Post