New Laws Boost Protections for Endangered Species in N.J.
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace sponsored to help protect threatened animals from extinction by banning the transport of game trophies of threatened or endangered species through airports and facilities controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was signed into law on Thursday.
Since the airports and facilities controlled by the Port Authority – Newark Liberty International, J.F.K and LaGuardia – are some of the most heavily traveled routes back to the U.S. from countries in Africa, Eustace hope the ban will serve as a disincentive for killing endangered animals for sport.
“The law would cut off a link back to the United States for game hunters’ intent on importing the dead carcasses of endangered animals,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Hopefully making it more difficult for these types of hunters to transport their ‘prizes’ will give them pause or perhaps even make them reconsider this type of inhumane activity.”
Eustace said the news last year of the tragic demise of Cecil the lion illustrates how globally connected our ecosystems are in this day and age and underscores the need to improve our conservation efforts, both at home and abroad.
“There’s only so much we can do on a state level, but by banning the import of endangered game trophies, we can have a major impact,” Eustace continued.
The new law (formerly A-2510) prohibits possession and transport of parts and products of certain animals at airports or port facilities owned or operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The specified African species are the African elephant, African leopard, African lion, black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo.
Any person in violation of the law would be guilty of a fourth degree crime.
Upon conviction, any property used in connection with the violation would be forfeited and disposed of in a manner consistent with the best interest of the public. Any penalty imposed under the bill would be in addition to any penalty that may be imposed pursuant to any other applicable law.
The first of two new statutes (formerly A-2447) prohibits possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale, or shipment of animal species threatened with extinction.
Specifically, the law prohibits the possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale or shipment of: (1) any specified African species; and (2) any species or subspecies of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, pangolin, marine turtle, or ray listed: (a) in Appendix I or Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
In addition to any penalties that may be prescribed by any other applicable law:
(1) A person who violates this section shall be: (a) subject to a civil penalty of not less than $200 and not more than $1000 for the first offense, and not less than $500 and not more than $3000 for each subsequent offense. If the violation involves the sale or purchase of a black bear, turkey, white-tailed deer, bobcat, or illegally taken river otter, the civil penalty will not be less than $1000 and not more than $2000 for the first offense, and not less than $1500 and not more than $3000 for each subsequent offense; (b) assessed the replacement value of the animal, as prescribed under current law; and
(2) A person who purposely violates this section when the total value of the sale or purchase is: (a) less than $200 will be guilty of a disorderly persons offense; (b) $200 or more, but less than $500, will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree; (c) $500 or more will guilty of a crime of the third degree.
The legislation was approved by the Assembly in May – A-2447 passed 56-3-3 and A-2510 passed 56-2-4. The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee approved the bill on Feb. 3.