Sometimes I like to bring attention to stories that aren't getting a lot of the spotlight, or that we aren't able to fit into your daily newspaper.

This one ironically comes as deer season has just begun in our area, bringing out adult hunters, and often their young protege, for the annual tradition that starts with shotgun season.

First, the story I wanted to share:

US first loosened limits on lion trophies, then elephants

WASHINGTON (AP) — One month before the Trump administration sparked outrage by reversing a ban on trophies from threatened African elephants, federal officials quietly loosened restrictions on the importation of heads and hides of lions shot for sport.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began issuing permits Oct. 20 for lions killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia between 2016 and 2018. The agency is also currently studying whether to add three additional countries to the list — Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania.

Previously, only wild lions killed in South Africa were eligible to be imported.

In two recent tweets, President Donald Trump said he will delay the new policy on allowing elephant trophies, but he made no mention of lions. Trump, whose adult sons are avid big-game hunters, also expressed skepticism about his own administration's claim that killing threatened animals could help save them by helping raise money for conservation programs.

"Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal," the president tweeted on Sunday.

Trump weighed in after a strong public backlash against reversing an Obama-era ban on elephant trophies, which became public through a written notification posted in the Federal Register. Officials said there was no such legal requirement for notifying the public about the policy change on lions.

In late 2015, the Obama administration added two subspecies of African lion to the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. Due to poaching and habitat loss, the number of lions living in the wild is in sharp decline — from an estimated 200,000 a century ago to less than 20,000 today.

The additional protections were added a few months after Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer sparked international outcry by killing Cecil, a beloved 13-year-old lion who lived in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Palmer paid $54,000 to bow-hunt Cecil on private land just outside the park.

A photo of Donald Trump Jr. holding a knife and the bloody severed tail of an elephant he reportedly killed in Zimbabwe in 2011 has also drawn ire from animal rights activists.

Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said he is encouraged that the president is taking a second look at the issue.

"Keeping elephants and lions alive is a key to economic progress in so many African nations," Pacelle said. "Trophy hunting robs these nations of their greatest resources, diminishing the wildlife-watching experiences of so many tourists. Any U.S. sanctioning of trophy hunting sends a particularly contradictory message at a time when the world has been rallying to save elephants and lions."

***

Now, I'm not a hunter, but my dad did a bit of rabbit hunting when I was young and I know plenty of folks who enjoy deer hunting. I have no problem with hunting in general; most people in this area, from what I know, hunt deer not just because they enjoy the chase but to put meat on the table, or donate it to those in need.

It's hunting purely for sport that I don't get.

I'm not the PETA type -- they're too extreme for me -- although I agree with them once in a while. But I don't understand the hunting of big game just for sport, except that it's a good ego trip.

Obviously, many people disagree. Some big-game hunters might contend that the meat from a giraffe or other animal they kill in Africa then provides for local villagers for a long time. I don't know about that; I haven't been there.

But big-game hunting purely to get a trophy and brag about an elephant tail on your wall is disgusting to me. Elephants aren't like deer; if deer hunters didn't get out and thin the herds, we'd have a lot more car-deer accidents, disease among the deer, etc. I understand that.

I don't really "get" the interest in putting a deer head or antlers on the wall, but I'm not going to bash those who are "into" that. To each his own.

For me, it's just different when it comes to certain animals.

Elephants are smart and basically harmless, if humans keep their distance. Perhaps their herds need thinned, too; I don't know. But then, I'm the type who's more likely to want to pet an animal like that than shoot it.

If I had an elephant, I think I'd name him "MuMu." It just kind of has a little bit of a ring to it.

But seriously, I think the Trump administration is wrong with the rollback of these regulations on big-game trophies. I'm glad many people are up in arms about it and doing something to stop the moves.

On a completely different topic, I just have to share this one with you.

Kathy Griffin: Trump photo put me on 'Hollywood blacklist'

By The Associated Press

Kathy Griffin says she is in the middle of a "Hollywood blacklist" after taking a photo holding a fake severed head that resembled President Donald Trump.

The comedian is currently on a world standup tour. She says in a YouTube video that when she returns to the U.S. she doesn't have "one single day of paid work" scheduled. She says she doesn't want to do free shows or work small clubs and thinks she should be able to get her life back.

Griffin says the Trump photo "offended a lot of people," but added: "this wall of crap has never fallen on any woman in the history of America like it has on me."

Griffin initially apologized for the photo published in May before saying she was no longer sorry over the summer.

***

Boo hoo! Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Apparently no one told Griffin that we have free speech in this country, but we don't have speech free of consequences. It may be unfair for her to be allegedly "blacklisted" for her free speech/action, but she should have thought about that before she acted.

Anyhow, I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving, whether you hunt or not, whether you shop on the holiday or not, whether you laugh or get angry at free speech such as Griffin's.

Life is short. Pass the stuffing around again, will you?

Penny Weaver is the associate publisher and editor of the JG-TC. Her columns include her own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinion or editorial position of the JG-TC. Contact her at pweaver@jg-tc.com or 217-238-6863, and follow her on Twitter @PennyWeaver.

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