WASHINGTON — A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Trump and his family.

A review by The Associated Press of the backgrounds and social media posts of the 16 board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them.

One appointee co-owns a private New York hunting preserve with Trump’s adult sons. The oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., drew the ire of animal rights activists after a 2011 photo emerged of him holding a bloody knife and the severed tail of an elephant he killed in Zimbabwe.

The first meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Council was scheduled for Friday at the Interior Department’s headquarters in Washington. Council members aren’t being paid a salary, although the department has budgeted $250,000 in taxpayer funds for travel expenses, staff time and other costs.

Trump has decried big-game hunting as a “horror show” in tweets. But under Zinke, a former Montana congressman who is an avid hunter, the Fish and Wildlife Service has quietly moved to reverse Obama-era restrictions on bringing trophies from African lions and elephants into the United States.

Asked about the changes during a congressional hearing Thursday, Zinke said no import permits for elephants have been issued since the ban was lifted this month. The Fish and Wildlife Service said permits for lion trophies have been issued since October, when imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia were first allowed, though they could not provide a number for how many.

A licensed two-week African hunting safari can cost more than $50,000 per person, not including airfare, according to advertised rates.