Washington, DC —In light of the tragic illegal killing of Cecil the lion by an American dentist, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the swift response by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Edward Markey (D-MA) to tighten up the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by extending protection to additional imperiled species.
The goal of the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act (S. 1918) is to extend the current import and export protections of the ESA to animals that are proposed for listing as threatened or endangered, but don’t yet have those protections under the law. By extending these protections to certain animals, this legislation creates a disincentive for trophy hunters to kill animals such as Cecil while their species’ ESA status is under review.
“Cecil’s death was a preventable tragedy that highlights the need to extend the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” said Sen. Menendez. “When we have enough concern about the future of a species to propose it for listing, we should not be killing it for sport. I’m proud to be joined by my colleagues in introducing this commonsense legislation to take a necessary and prudent step that creates a disincentive for these senseless trophy killings and advances our commitment in leading the fight to combat global wildlife trafficking.”
The CECIL Animal Trophies Act will help to curtail the importation of animal parts for hunting trophies and commercial purposes, to the United States. The US imports more African lion parts than any other country in the world; since 2000, it has imported over 5,750 wild lion trophies.
“Passing the CECIL Animal Trophies Act will allow the United States to prevent further exploitation of species like the African lion that are in urgent need of safeguarding,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “We applaud Sen. Menendez for his leadership in introducing this critically needed legislation that would protect countless imperiled animals from meeting a similarly gruesome end.”
For more information on the CECIL Animal Trophies Act, visit http://awionline.org/action-ealerts/urge-congress-protect-imperiled-animals-trophy-hunting.
Amey Owen, AWI, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 446-2128