The PJ Tatler

Cecil the Lion Prompts Legislation to Curb Importation of Animal Trophies

Four senators plan to introduce legislation that they hope will keep many trophy hunters from bringing their kills back into the United States.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will introduced the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act, named after the Zimbabwean lion shot, skinned and beheaded by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer.

The bill would extend import and export protections for a species listed under the Endangered Species Act to animals that have been proposed for listing, as well.

That would have covered Cecil the lion, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in October 2014. The protection for the lion hasn’t been finalized.

FWS has been trying to interview Palmer about the Zimbabwe kill, and said today that they have finally been in contact with a representative of the dentist.

“The hunting and poaching of endangered species is a reprehensible and repugnant act,” said Blumenthal. “The death of this beloved lion was a preventable tragedy that demonstrates the urgent need to protect precious – and all too often vulnerable – wildlife.”

“We cannot continue to allow innocent animals to be threatened by trophy killing – we must ensure that generations to come can experience and enjoy everything nature has to offer. I am proud to join my colleagues on this measure that will provide critical protections to animals across the globe.”